Blizzard have revealed that they expect new Overwatch hero Baptiste to be a counter to the infamous GOATS composition.
Baptiste is the 30th hero to join the Overwatch roster. An ex-Talon combat medic, he’s a Support character with mechanics more typical of a DPS, with a hitscan burst rifle that alternates as a healing grenade launcher for a weapon.
His kit comes with multiple brand-new mechanics, with the likes of his Immortality Field and ultimate ability Amplification Matrix operating unlike anything else already in the game. Baptiste hit the Public Test Realm (PTR) on February 26, meaning players on PC can try him out right now.
It’s indicative of just how frustrated many players have become with the current Overwatch meta, however, that despite the excitement of a new hero, the first question for many is how Baptiste is going to interact with the much-maligned GOATS composition.
GOATS is a triple-tank, triple-support line-up named after the Contenders team that popularized it, and has been at the forefront of the competitive meta for several months now. During that time it’s faced plenty of criticism, both for the lack of diversity its power promotes, and the fact that the composition itself, lacking the typically flashier DPS heroes, is among the least interesting to play and watch.
During an interview with InvenGlobal, Overwatch principal designer Geoff Goodman was asked about the possibility that, given that Baptiste’s kit would appear to reward teams staying grouped up, his addition would further entrench the GOATS meta.
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According to Goodman, however, Blizzard’s tests with Baptiste seemed to suggest quite the opposite.
“We ran many internal tests on it. We also thought a lot about how he might work in the GOATS comp, and it turned out Baptiste wasn’t as strong as some thought he might be in that comp; when to use his ult, which is the biggest advantage of using Baptiste, seemed rather vague. In truth, Baptiste seemed better at countering the GOATS comp.”
Whether or not this holds true in the wider game remains to be seen, as no amount of internal testing can account for the creativity of the millions-strong player base, and at the professional level the sheer skill disparity relative to even the best amateur players makes it very difficult to judge how things will play out until the pros actually get their hands on a new hero.
Nevertheless, the comments about Baptiste, along with the swathe of other balance changes that hit the PTR alongside him, can give players hope that the reign of GOATS might finally be approaching its end.