Overwatch

Overwatch devs explain why Roadhog, D.Va, Zarya are becoming main tanks

by Andrew Amos
Blizzard Entertainment

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Overwatch’s all-new experiment, Triple Damage, is revolutionising role lock in Blizzard’s FPS, but with some tanks left out high to dry, the developers are looking at ways to make everyone viable in the new mode.

Team 4 at Blizzard is cooking up something for Overwatch. The latest experimental mode, Triple Damage, looks to break the 2-2-2 mold players have gotten used since the introduction of role lock and freshen up the game.

While it’s not a ploy to “change the meta,” as said by game director Jeff Kaplan in a February 24 interview with Blizzard, 3-2-1 role lock will have a major impact on how Overwatch is played ⁠— especially for off-tanks.

D.Va using Defense Matrix in Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Off-tanks can stop small amounts of damage, but not like main tanks can.

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Overwatch’s meta, even before role lock, revolved around two tanks ⁠— a main, shielding tank, and a beefy off-tank that could still dish out the damage. However, this was never intended for the game, according to Kaplan.

“When we created our tanks, we didn’t think of any as off-tanks,” said Kaplan. “In fact, we had anticipated people playing with only one tank. That’s much of how early Overwatch was played.

“But the way that players settled into 2-2-2, Zarya, D.Va, and Roadhog are exclusively considered off-tanks.”

Now with one out of the equation in Triple Damage, teams will have to adapt. It’s likely players will settle on taking a big shield like Reinhardt, Winston, or Orisa over an off-tank like D.Va, Zarya, or Roadhog, who can only negate a small amount of damage.

Roadhog using Take a Breather in Overwatch
Roadhog using Take a Breather in Overwatch
Roadhog's Take A Breather will now mitigate damage for allies too.

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To give these heroes a chance in Triple Damage, they’re being turned into main tanks. Roadhog, D.Va, and Zarya are receiving kit changes to help them cope with the change, with Kaplan letting players in on one specific change tested.

“As part of this experiment, we’ve re-tuned those three to be main tanks, including giving Roadhog a new ability,” he revealed.

“Now when he uses Take a Breather, he gets a gas cloud around him that mitigates damage for everybody in the area and heals him.

These balance changes have the chance to completely shift the tides of Overwatch’s meta, even in role lock, so for now, the changes are only for the experimental mode.

Zarya using bubble in Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
The changes to off-tanks will give them a chance in the new Triple Threat mode.

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“Some heroes will be completely re-balanced, but those changes only pertain to Triple Damage,” said Kaplan. “If we stay with 2-2-2, we are gonna jettison those changes.”

While Team 4 are “not necessarily” looking to get more players to play tanks, they understand that it’s a “high-pressure position” now, and will become even more so with the new changes.

Overwatch’s Triple Threat experimental game mode will go live on February 25. You will be able to play through the regular servers ⁠— there is no need to download the PTR to play it this time around.