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Is Orisa about to become a top-tier tank?

Signs from the PTR look promising, even allowing for the Fusion Driver nerf.

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About Ed Thorn

Ed joined Metabomb in May 2017 and is responsible for the Overwatch and Destiny sections of the site.

As we reported yesterday, Orisa's been hit with some pretty big changes on the Overwatch PTR. If you're just catching up, the short version is that she's seen a 15% nerf to the damage output of her Fusion Driver and a cooldown reduction to her Protective Barrier, which is now 8 seconds down from 12.

Naturally, we checked out the forums to see what people were making of these tweaks and discovered an outpouring of frustration. Did she even need a change in the first place, some were asking? She's never exactly been a insta-pick, and so surely she's even less viable now?

Blizzard's main reason for making these changes was to give her more innate survivability and ensure that she fulfils her true calling as a frontline tank, rather than encroaching on DPS territory and struggling to perform either role particularly well. Here's the developer comments straight from the patch notes:

"To help Orisa maintain the front line for her team, we're reducing the cooldown of her Protective Barrier. This change also helps her reposition the barrier more easily when needed. To compensate for this new defensive strength, we're reducing her Fusion Driver's damage, as it felt too high."

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Having played Orisa for a few games ourselves, here are our immediate thoughts:

  • We didn't feel particularly hindered by the damage reduction. If anything, her damage output felt pretty balanced within the overall combat mix.
  • Pushing into a choke point as Orisa is easier than ever, now that Protective Barrier seems to be almost always, conveniently off cooldown. Just as one is waning, you can put down another and create an offensive push that feels about as unfair as a Reinhardt armed with a constantly regenerating shield.
  • Although Blizzard have buffed her survivability and pushing power, she's still not quite the team anchor that Reinhardt provides. Recklessly wade into battle without backup - or attempt to 1 vs 1 a Genji - and you'll regret the decision immediately.

Our conclusion? The almost impenetrable nature of her Protective Barriers, coupled with a steady trickle of decent damage, leaves us feeling confident that she'll see a huge rise in pick rate if the changes make it through to the live game.

We'd love to hear your own thoughts about the new Orisa in the comments section!

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