Overwatch: Ashe First Impressions

Newcomer Ashe, leader of the Deadlock gang has made her sassy debut on Overwatch. Equipped with her semi-automatic rifle The Viper, a versatile coach gun and a whole lot of dynamite, Ashe is here to give Mcree a run for his money. Oh and B.O.B is here too.

Overwatch-Ashe-Mcree-Blizzcon-Featued-970x545

So, as I said with my previous post about Hammond (Overwatch: Wrecking Ball Impressions), I play mostly Mystery Heroes and besides a quick go of Ashe in the training mode, I’ve had very sporadic opportunity to learn Ashe. But my early impressions are promising, unlike how I felt about Hammond, who I still can’t play effectively. From my understanding and few hours of Ashe, she is best suited to medium range. Sure you can get up close and hip fire with The Viper but its aim is inconsistent. Down the sights is the best way to play Ashe and hip fire for tanks and desperation. The Viper fires one bullet at a time but also reloads one bullet at a time. This means you can cut reload time way down as long as you’re willing to sacrifice bullets in the rifle. The best way to describe Ashe is that she’s the space between Mcree and Widowmaker in terms of range.

Fortunately she has the right tools for her suited style. Primarily the coach gun which offers not only a chunk of damage to an enemy who gets too close, but also a much needed buffer. This is Ashe’s mobility move. Against enemies the coach gun is able to propel them a good few feet away as well as propel yourself in the opposite direction. It’s a handy tool when a mob of Overwatch heroes are closing in on you. The coach gun can be used to boost Ashe off the floor for extra height and air time for a few sneaky shots. As I said previously, she is the middle ground between Mcree and Widowmaker. Whereas Mcree is best up close to short distance, and Widowmaker from far away or up high, Ashe works best close to the action but hidden away in the back or on a ledge for safety. This is also backed up by her handfuls of dynamite.

ashe-useful-trick-overwatch

Ashe’s dynamite can fly some distance too! It’s got a floaty kind of feel when you throw it, which is intentional as you can shoot it to explode it early. If you don’t shoot it, it’ll explode after 2 seconds. When you throw the dynamite you can instantly pull the trigger to shoot it in the air, as long as you haven’t moved the cross-hairs too much. Once the dynamite explodes, anything caught in its range gets dealt a chunk of damage depending on how close to the dynamite they were, and then continuous burn damage for several seconds. Obviously this works best with clusters of opponents. Shields and barriers stop the blast and burn damage so Orisa and Reinhardt are a big problem for Ashe. If you are able to launch the dynamite at the right angle, you can catch them behind their shields but from my experience, this is easier said than done. The dynamite is also great for corners, if timed right, the enemy will round the corner as the dynamite goes boom or if you shoot it. This means the dynamite is an effective tool when being chased. If you want to be extra fancy, you can always coach gun them into the dynamites blast radius.

Finally, we come to Ashe’s ultimate B.O.B, an omnic companion. Or tool, with the way she speaks to him. When Ashe’s uses her ult, B.O.B leaps into action and uppercuts those who are in front of Ashe. He then proceeds to lay down suppressing fire with his arm cannons to any enemy nearby.  B.O.B comes with a whopping 1200 health pool and similar to Torb’s now gone level 3 turrets, he deals accurate hard hitting damage. Thankfully B.O.B can be destroyed although I really wouldn’t recommend it unless most of your team is concentrating fire on him. B.O.B is essentially another player for 12 seconds. He can be healed, nano boosted, stunned, sleep darted just like other heroes. Not only that, but he also acts as another player in terms of contesting the objectives. Yes, you can launch B.O.B onto the capture point and aim down your sights from a distance and provide cover fire for B.O.B while he captures the objective. This is a really clever mechanic and one that I can’t wait to see get used more often. If you’re capturing an objective, you can double the capture rate by bringing B.O.B out to play. Imagine sneaking round the enemies undetected and back-capping it while B.O.B also protects you. I’m really glad Blizzard made B.O.B act as another player in terms of contesting. It opens up a lot of opportunities.

Ashe Bob

So how do I feel about Ashe? Honestly, pretty good. I’m having some issues with lining up shots down her sights and shooting the dynamite in the air but I never said I was a pro shot. That’s why I suck as Widowmaker. But Ashe is a great replacement for me in that regard. With the shorter range, you need to be more in the fight but there is also less chance of missing as opposed to my Widowmaker aim. Ashe has 200 health which is the appropriate amount I think. She has a mobility option and even though it can get her around quickly, it isn’t unfair. There is quite a bit of hang time when you go vertical which means you are a sitting duck in the air. That sentence makes no sense but hopefully you understand what I meant. The dynamite is a useful tool for damage but if you miss it or if the enemy clearly sees it then they have a full 2 seconds to get out of the way. It then has a 10 second cooldown period, as does the coach gun so both skills need to be used effectively. I also find Ashe is effective for covering the likes of Ana or Zenyatta. Usually these heroes want to play a bit further away from their attacking teammates and this tends to leave them open to flankers such as Tracer and Sombra. As Ashe because you are more effective with a bit of distance, I find myself with the supports either near me or in my sight. This is really handy for supports as most damage heroes need to be up close to enemies and therefore in scuffles the supports are left vulnerable. Ashe is a handy hero to have on your team if your supports don’t have mobility options such as Mercy and Lucio.

Overall I like Ashe. I always love a slow rate of fire gun, especially a cowboy rifle, so I may be biased but her cowboy aesthetic I really enjoy. I’m still getting used to her aim but it’s very satisfying having to press for the trigger for each bullet and to be able to stop reloading on a whim. As for her ult, B.O.B is a unique and fun ultimate. I’m more interested in taking advantage of his contesting ability than I am of his gun skills but that’s a bonus included in the package. Whereas with Hammond I was unsure if I liked him, I feel confident in my enjoyment with Ashe. I just hope I get to play her more in Mystery Heroes because so far it’s being very unfair in my time as her.

Thank you for reading and feel free to share your thoughts on Ashe in the comments.

Overwatch: Wrecking Ball Impressions

Hammond the happy, hyperactive hamster has been unleashed upon Overwatch, in his mechanised ball of terror. After an hour or 2 with him I thought I’d share my brief thoughts. I should say that I almost exclusively play Mystery Heroes and so I never sought out to main Hammond and just played him when I randomly received him. Bullet point time!

  • Spider swinging is very fun but difficult to master. So many times I envisioned myself gracefully swinging round a doorway and bonking enemies into the water below in Rialto. So many times that didn’t happen. It’s quite difficult to gauge how much room you need to give yourself in order to gain full momentum, hit the enemies and get away without crashing into a wall and being completely vulnerable.
  • The potential of Wrecking Ball will reveal slowly over time.  The more people play the devious, little rascal the more his talents will shine. His grappling hook has the most potential I’ve seen of the heroes. Skirmishes are a great opportunity to test out the small mammal’s dive bomb capabailities. Within an hour I found a launching point on Rialto that allows a seismic slam on the bridge, just outside the attack spawn. You are able to fly over the rooftops and out of sight and if you have an early ultimate this is a perfect time to rain destruction as you land. By my standards Hammond is truly an easy to pick up but hard to master hero.
  • He feels mobile yet clunky, I’m sure that is part of his design but I also feel that his control scheme doesn’t flow. That might just be me, the fact that I’ve barely played him or even just that his gameplay style isn’t as suited to a controller as a mouse and keyboard. Time will tell but shifting between forms, scanning enemies for extra shields and hooking buildings leaves my fingers a bit perplexed. I’ve not experienced this with other heroes but it doesn’t help that I’m playing Mystery Heroes and constantly changing characters.
  • He has great time wasting potential. In the right spot, Hammond is able to latch on a payload and continuously swing around it, bashing any enemy that comes near. He can be stunned out of it or killed but takes time and effort. Throw in 4 enemies shooting at you at the same time and this ball of destruction can take awhile to get rid of. The fact that Hammond spawns in ball form also leads to a quick return to combat. Especially useful when defending the final point and you need a tanky hero to buy precious seconds.
  • His ultimate is more defensive than offensive. His mines do big damage but it’s best use that I have seen, was on Lijiang Tower. The garden section with the control point in the centre and both spawns separated by bridges. I was Zarya and during a massacre inflicted on my team me and Mercy were left. We were on the objective trying to hold it as the enemy was 99%. Mercy was being safe and staying outside the room but able to heal me from a distance. Just then an enemy Hammond rolls through and lays his mines down between me and Mercy! Now we’re separated and Mercy I have to hover around the same spot to be healed because Mercy can’t get any closer. It was a great split us up tactic. In the end I thought I’d be clever and bubbled the Mercy so should would avoid damage and could fly to me. However, Hammond’s ult tore through the shield and Mercy on her dive to me. Here’s an artistic illustration:
Hammond Mines Trap
I paid an expert for this masterpiece.
And that’s my opinion on Hammond currently. I see a lot of potential with him but I also think I need to get a lot better with him. A lot of heroes can counter him and once he is stopped in his tracks, he is a huge target and easy to kill. I also feel like his gun could use a bigger clip size.  Saying that though, Hammond automatically reloads his guns once he is in ball form for a few seconds. So the ideal play is to launch yourself in, shields up, shoot shoot shoot, when empty: roll away through cover or around enemies until guns are loaded and then unleash bullets again.

Overwatch Endorsement System: Is Fake Kindness A Bad Thing?

Overwatch is a game that I play a lot, generally at least an hour every other day. I’m a console pleb with a mediocre laptop so I can’t speak for the PC Overwatch community. This view is merely from a PS4 position so take that with a grain of ‘this guy doesn’t know it all’.  Overwatch, for those that don’t know, has a basic communication wheel in game. You press some buttons and your character and a little text prompt, for your team to see, will pop up and say ‘Thanks’, ‘Hello’, ‘Understood’, ‘Group up’, ‘My ultimate is (number)% ready’ and the infamous ‘I need healing’. Basic but it can get the job done. Of course you can use mic’s but if you’re like me, a bit shy and you can’t be bothered to listen to background trashy music or mic technical issues then this communication wheel is all you need.

When put to good use, a team of strangers can co-ordinate a winning move! Or in the hands of a sore loser, can be a minor annoyance. Similar to Rocket Leagues spamming of ‘What a save!’ ‘What a save!’ ‘What a save!’, when a bad player blames others for his death, a torrent of ‘Thanks’ starts appearing on screen. Like a persistent moth batting against a light bulb. It’s not a big deal but it’s damn distracting. Constant inputs incur a couple of seconds ban which helps the droning of suicidal Genji’s but the next death usually brings on another tirade of blame. It is an issue that since launch I’ve got use to but never over. Like a mild rash, without the satisfying itch. Then arrives the endorsement system.

Endorsement

The endorsement system is a simple feature that was added to Overwatch. At the end of a quick play or competitive match you are given the chance to praise your teammates or  a respected enemy. These praises are ‘Shot Caller’, ‘Good Teammate’ and ‘Sportsmanship’. You can only give out 3 endorsements per game. As, you receive endorsements you receive rewards. Or that is my understanding anyway. The system has only been out for a short time and I’m only at a level 2 endorsement level. So far though, I haven’t been showered with gifts or whatever the reward scheme is. Nevertheless, I’ve noticed a sharp decrease in message spamming. I still see ‘I need healing’ and ‘Thanks’ pop up a lot but not as much as I did before the new system.  A lot more ‘Understood’ and ‘Group up’s have been rearing their pretty heads. Much to my joy. A team that communicates in a team based game? Hold on, we may be onto victory here. It’s a nice surprise and I’m sure Blizzard was hoping that this new system they’ve introduced to their game would quell a vocal minority. You can’t shut up everyone that’s unpleasant but a start is always welcome.

This new niceness has raised the question though: is it all fake? To be honest, yes some of it is. But why care? Negativity in a team game can quickly spread. One person spams ‘Thanks’ on death and then after the 3rd time this repeats, someone spams ‘Group up’ back at them. Then a 3rd player may join in on that and then suddenly half the team is bitter and eagerly awaiting the match to end so they can find a new team. It creates a bad aura that brings the energy plummeting in matches. I know because I’ve spammed ‘Group up’ before. I shouldn’t have as that makes me no better, I’m still causing distractions and providing no useful or tactical information. And so, if Player A is seething with rage in a match of Overwatch, yet he chooses to say ‘Thanks’ when healed and ‘Group up’ and actually does it, is that a bad thing? Would you rather he is honest and let his emotions unleash on ‘Thanks’, or would you prefer he plays nice for brownie points? I would rather choose a positive atmosphere to my matches than an honest moan session. I’m British, I love a good moan but not in a team game. Fake kindness wins over unpleasantness any time for me. Not only that but positive reinforcement is always better than negative reinforcement. If the nasty player sees that their pleasant disposition leads to more victories, they are more likely to continue that act.  Combine that with the fact that habits grow the more they are repeated, which means that subconsciously this nice behaviour could stick to the individual, naturally.

It’s almost like a paradox. Is a player a good teammate, if they are secretly a bitter Overwatch player that keeps their whining to their self and is courteous in game for fake badges? I think if it leads to a better gaming experience for everyone in game then cheap tricks are fine by me.