Zenyatta has a bit of an image problem. He’s one of the least popular support characters in Overwatch, and support itself is the least-favoured play type. Players will always have their favourites, no matter how well-balanced a game’s roster is, but the sheer rarity of encountering Zenyatta (or Symmetra) in the wild speaks volumes – something’s got to give. Game director Jeff Kaplan has tacitly acknowledged ‘Yatta’s plight, telling the Battle.net forums that “we’re exploring some options right now.”
Welcome back from your years of purgatory in that cave – catch up on recent events with some great PC games that released in 2016.
Here’s Kaplan’s statement in full, via Battle.net:
“We’ve been talking about him. We wanted to see how the Widowmaker and McCree balance changes played out before making any changes. We’re exploring some options right now. Nothing more to report at this time.”
The stats over at Overwatch Tracker paint a clear picture of why Blizzard are looking into it: there’s a huge divide between support characters. Everyone’s playing Mercy or Lucio, and almost no one is spending time with Zenyatta or Symmetra.
If you’ve spent any amount of time playing against the ‘hard’ AI (hey, we all need a safe place to practice unfamiliar characters) you’ll know that Zenyatta can be formidable. His “Pass into the iris” line can instil genuine fear. But it’s really rare to find any humans who’ve developed a similar mastery. I’ve literally never heard or seen a team-mate request someone to change to Zenyatta. It doesn’t happen.
We’ll be keeping out beady eyes on Kaplan, Zenyatta, and any further balance changes in the near future, and will report any new developments as they happen.