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What Could Tanks Look Like if Overwatch Removed Shields?

If Overwatch Removed Shields

With the recent implementation of nerfs to Genji, the Overwatch community is voicing their opinion for nerfs to other characters. Most of the competitive community is looking forward to eventually changes to the Double Shield meta, as it has dominated both the ladder and pro play.

However in a “AMA” session with the Overwatch Development team, Jeff Kaplan hinted at some future changes. In a reddit response, Jeff Kaplan mentioned how the Double Shield meta is being investigated and on their radar for changes.

Until the experimental changes are announced, players can only speculate as to what the changes could possibly be. Potentially the changes are simply reducing shield health across the board. Or maybe the changes are a bit more radical. What would the tanks in Overwatch look like if they lost their shields?

Theoretical Tank Changes

Main tanks in Overwatch typically create space through these shields, by creating a safe area for their team. Now that the shields are gone, tanks need to be reengineered to create space and make plays in a new way. Damage is at an all-time high in Overwatch, making survivability another big issue for shield-less tanks. To combat this, tanks gain a new global passive to mitigate at least a little bit of burst damage.

Global Passive: Helmet

  • Tanks now only receive 1.75x damage multiplier when receiving a headshot.

[Related: New Overwatch Patch: July 28, 2020]

If Overwatch Removed Shields
Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
  • Shield is removed
  • Fortify changed
    • Movement speed is drastically reduced (80%)
    • No damage reduction
    • Orisa cannot be displaced
    • Orisa can be stunned
  • Halt! Can only pull heroes with base 250 health or lower
  • Lazer Sword – Orisa now can use her lazer sword (like in the cinematic!)
    • Ability that replaces the shield
    • Sword runs on energy, will can run out of energy
    • Swaps between gun and sword, can’t use both at once
  • Fusion Driver – Increases the attack speed and decreases reload time of every allied hero in range. Abilities that run on resources have 100% increase in regeneration.
What is the goal for these changes?

Orisa’s niche has strangely mutated from a defensive hero to a more brawl-centric hero over time. Her durability and point control are unmatched. Paired with Baptise and Sigma, Orisa becomes one of the most difficult heroes to remove from a fight in Overwatch. These changes aim to lean into the brawly nature of Orisa, but remove the parts of her kit that make her unbearable to play.

If Overwatch Removed Shields
Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Aside from removing the shield, the most notable changes are to Fortify and Fusion Driver. Fortify no longer provides the obnoxious defensive bonus that allows Orisa to exist forever on point. Instead, it adds as a good balance between “immovable” and “unkillable”. Fusion Driver still adds a boost in damage, but not to the oppressive amount the current iteration creates. It also now is not an instant win option in a world without shields.

The biggest addition to Orisa’s new brawl-style is her sword. The sword is realistically the new addition that attempts to add a little bit of fun into her kit. By flipping between the gun and the sword, players can make the decision to bring the fight to the opponent, or play more defensive from long range.

  • No longer has a shield
  • Now has an additional hammer
  • Fire Strike now fires in an ‘X’
  • Damage each hammer does a little less damage, but enemies can be hit by multiple hammers
  • Ultimate – Earthshatter is tweaked a bit.
    • Rein uses one hammer to cast earthshatter, but it stays in the ground. Enemies caught in the cone are knocked to the ground and stunned.
    • After a short period of time, Rein recalls his hammer and flies to rein. Enemies caught in the return path are mini stunned and take damage.
If Overwatch Removed Shields
Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
What is the goal for these changes?

If Reinhardt loses his shield, his identity shifts into a more berserker-type character. Reinhardt excels in low-ground battles, and his new kit should accentuate his ability to lead the charge. His new melee attack should deter enemies from lazily pushing towards Reinhardt and his team. Dealing damage individually with two hammers allows Reinhardt to build ultimate charge rather quickly.

One significant change is Reinhardt’s ultimate. Without a shield to block opposing shatters, Reinhardt can use his ultimate uncontested off cooldown. In order to tone down the strength of Rein’s ultimate, his damage is reduced for a few seconds after knocking the opponents.

  • Chain Hook
    • Can now only pull characters with base 250 health or lower
    • Characters with over 250 health are stunned, but are not pulled towards Roadhog
  • Take a Breather
    • Now produces an AOE cloud that reduces enemy vision when affected, and provides pseudo-cover for allies.
What is the goal for these changes?

Roadhog sits in an awkward spot in a world without shields. There isn’t much to stop Hog from pulling any target he wants, except of course for his aim. To account for this new found freedom, Chain Hook needs a bit of a change.

Giving main tanks a bit of weight gives them a better shot of protecting their team. Otherwise, a hook onto the opposing Reinhardt would mean an easy kill and initiation for the Roadhog team. The changes to Roadhog’s heal ability should give a bit more utility to the rest of the team as well. While Roadhog is a good flanker and anti-flak option, he doesn’t quite have the team-centric properties most off-tanks have. The smokescreen effect should incentivize Roadhogs to play a bit close to the team.

Sigma Overwatch
Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
  • Experimental Barrier is removed
  • Accretion changes
    • Can only stun and knock over units with base 250 health or lower
    • Mini-stuns larger targets
    • Has 100 health and can be destroyed
  • New: Stone Rain
    • New Right click to replace Experimental Barrier
    • Sigma pulls down debris to create a pillar of rocks
    • Pillar comes to its full height after 1.5 seconds
    • Pillar has 300 health and can be destroyed
What is the goal for these changes?

Sigma without a shield plays much more like an off-tank than his fellow main tanks. He prefers to play from a distance, and his new kit should add to his different play-style. A new ability to create space from a distance seems vital to Sigma’s identity. The new Stone Rain ability would be an interesting way to disrupt the enemy team, while also creating cover for allies.

An important part of Sigma’s new kit is the ability to destroy the Accretion and Pillar in a short amount of time. Because it’s harder to block the stun from Sigma, opponents need a little more counter-play to getting hit in the head with a rock every ten seconds.

  • Barrier Protector is now removed
  • New: Electric Personal Shield
    • Winston Activates his suit to provide 100 shield
    • As long as the armor persists, the armor deals damage to enemies around him
What is the goal for these changes?

Winston is a tank that was already in a pretty good spot in regards to game play. His barrier is often his only way to survive on his way to diving the back line, and removing it means Winston’s initiation is much weaker. In order to fix that, Winston is could get a little more damage from his `abilities to hopefully increase his threat level. The Electric Personal Shield is a powerful ability if left unchecked by the opposition. Winston’s ability to draw resources away from his allies is extremely important, and this new ability should allow Winston to create the necessary space the barrier would normally provide.

Brigitte, D.Va, Wrecking Ball, Zarya

While removing shields is an interesting experiment, the front line tanks need a little help sometimes from their off-tanks. Keeping the off-tanks as is will go a long way to keeping main tanks alive. This unfortunately also includes not changing Brigitte. Her shield has minimal health, and acts more of a way to protect herself than others. Shield bash is an important ability despite what the average player may think. It keeps flankers in check and can put Brigitte in a bad position if she misses.

Is Removing Shields the Right Fix?

If Overwatch removed shields, the way players think about tanks will flip upside down. No longer would be the days of hiding behind Reinhardt or teammates demanding a shield tank. It is exciting to see Jeff and the rest of the Overwatch team share they are worried about the prominence of shields. Is this the right change? Who knows, but players will only learn in time.


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Featured image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

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1 comment

Overwatch Experimental Patch Notes, August 6 Update August 6, 2020 at 4:20 pm

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