Blizzcon began today, and as always, the opening ceremony announced what’s coming soon for all major Blizzard franchises. Overwatch will be getting their 2nd post-release hero, the elusive hacker Sombra, in the Public Test Realm on Tuesday November 8th (Election day!) Everyone following the painfully-executed months-long ARG knew this was coming, but it’s hard not to get excited when we have a new cinematic short and a complete breakdown on Sombra’s in-game abilities!
According to her character profile on the official site, Sombra is an offense hero who wields a machine pistol and a lot of support-style abilities. She can turn invisible for a short time and use a translocator as a personal teleport, meaning she’ll play quite well as a flanker/infiltrator like Reaper or Tracer, but the real claims to fame are her ‘silence‘ abilities. Sombra can hack her target to prevent them from using their abilities, and with her ultimate she can hack all enemies in an area while simultaneously breaking all shields and barriers. This is huge and will have devastating effects on the meta (which, don’t get me wrong, I consider a good thing). The three god-tier classes in Overwatch have always been Zarya, Reinhardt, and Lucio due to how important their shields are in any situation, and a character who can knock out a Reinhardt shield is guaranteed to become a vital pointman. This will also have a severe effect on Ultimates that take time to complete, like McCree’s High Noon and Roadhog’s Whole Hog. Of course, this will depend on how quickly Sombra can cast her Ultimate, but from the videos she looks capable of hacking within a second or two.
Her influence doesn’t stop at manipulating her opposing heroes; she can also disrupt turrets, Symmetra teleporters and even reprogram healthkits to only heal her team!
Now, my main concern is that fact that she appears to counter herself. Because she can shut down everyone’s abilities, it looks like the best way to counter an incoming Sombra is to have your own Sombra beat her to the punch. Hopefully I’m wrong and the class dynamic is a little more nuanced than that, because I’ve never liked classes who form their own little circle of rock/paper/scissors, but again this boils down to what exactly is defined as a hackable ability. It’s almost important to see whether abilities are merely blocked during the hack or outright depleted (ie forced into cooldown), whether Zarya loses stored energy and Reinhardt will need to restore his shield. But ultimately we can only speculate until Tuesday, so if you play Overwatch on PC make sure to download the Public Test Realm so you’ll be able to try the hero out first thing. And keep an eye on Blizzcon! Sombra’s not the only new announcement, we’ll be getting new 1v1 and 3v3 game modes as well as two new maps by December.