Update, July 17: Wrecking Ball hits live Overwatch servers on July 24.
After his stay on the PTR, Overwatch's cutest hero is ready for live servers. Hammond - sorry, Wrecking Ball - hits the game proper on July 24. Blizzard has, of course, given us an appropriately adorable teaser video which you can see below.
If you've missed all the info on Overwatch's 28th hero, this is indeed Hammond, another test subject of Horizon Lunar Colony, who left alongside Winston in the great moon-based ape escape.
Hammond ended up in Junkertown, turning his escape pod into mech, competing in the Junkertown Queen’s gladiator arena - hence his “champion” billing in the initial tease. Hammond cannot talk. (As Jeff Kaplan says in the developer update video, “that would be completely ridiculous.”) But the mech itself can talk, thanks to an on-board AI, giving Hammond some communication abilities.
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Of course, that’s all lore. In more concrete terms, Wrecking Ball is a tank hero. The mech’s base form is quadrupedal with Quad Cannons - which Kaplan says “are really devastating, high rate of fire, high spread” - but he can also switch into ball mode with the Roll ability, naturally, and roll into enemies.
Ball mode also offers a Grappling Claw, which allows him to swing around for increased momentum. Kaplan says highly skilled players will find “a lot of nuance and fun” in Hammond’s movement abilities.
Beware of small mammals.
Wrecking Ball rolls into the fight 07.24.18 pic.twitter.com/woK0saBlAq
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) July 17, 2018
Tapping crouch in midair will send Wrecking Ball crashing to the ground for a high-impact smash with the Piledriver ability. He also has Adaptive Shield, granting you increasing amounts of shield based on how many enemies are nearby, encouraging you to get into the middle of the action as much as possible.
Wrecking Ball’s ult is called Minefield. Kaplan describes this as a “zoning ability,” and as the name implies it sends out a number of mines to the area. They take a while to arm, they’re obvious, and they’re loud, so you won’t be able to get out a surprise deployment - but the minefield will cause massive explosions, disrupting the map for the enemy team.
Keep an eye out for more new Overwatch heroes, as well - with a Hamster mech now canon, there’s no telling when Blizzard will finally allow us to have Jetpack Cat.