Hero #24, now identified as Orisa, has entered the PTR and she is remarkable. Before we get into too much detail though, let’s run down her vital stats and abilities.
- Orisa has 400 HP, 200 of which is Armor.
- Her primary weapon is Fusion Driver, which sports a 200-round clip. It has a fast rate of fire in a tight spread, and no apparent damage drop-off over range, so she’s highly accurate and quite damaging if she can concentrate fire. Similar to D.va, her movement speed decreases noticeably if she fires while moving, and her reload time is very long compared to other heroes (around 2.5-3 seconds).
- Secondary fire for the Fusion Driver is a graviton charge (called Halt!), which fires a larger projectile (which doesn’t use any of her ammo) that will pull nearby targets towards it when it strikes a solid surface. Note that the graviton charge doesn’t deal any damage itself and only does the snare when it strikes a solid surface. It passes through heroes. This ability has an 8 second cooldown.
- Her E ability is Protective Barrier. She fires a small device that then arcs through the air and projects a 900 health shield when it lands. The shield is slightly smaller than Reinhardt’s but larger than Symmetra’s. This ability has a 12 second cooldown. Deploying a fresh barrier cancels the existing one if it hasn’t been destroyed.
- Her LSHIFT ability is Fortify. Once activated, Orisa is able to ignore any effects that would move her or otherwise change her movement speed for four seconds (and we’ll go into this more later). It also reduces the damage she takes by a noticeable amount. After it expires, it has a 10 second cooldown.
- Her Ultimate ability is Supercharger. She slams a djembe into the ground, which sends out energy that provides an effect similar to Mercy’s Damage Beam to nearby allies. The drum has 100 HP, so it can be destroyed, and the boost beams require line-of-sight, so protecting the drum will be critical for its duration, which is around 15 seconds.
Given what director Jeff Kaplan was saying in his development video where he established what Orisa was designed to do (provide an alternative to Reinhardt as an “anchor tank”) then mission accomplished. Her ability to deploy cover for her allies and the fact that she’s a long-range threat to turrets and snipers gives her some of Reinhardt’s critical functions, while Fortify lets her withstand some of the most dangerous tank abilities out there (namely Charge, Earthshatter, Graviton Surge, and Primal Rage). She isn’t as resilient as some of the other tanks in terms of her health, but with a solid healer in the pocket and the fact that Fortify has damage reduction, she’s won’t be easier to kill than other tanks.
At the core of it, Orisa’s ability to provide damage pressure and withstand a lot of the existing toolkit of abilities out there means that she should be a reasonable alternative to Reinhardt, and in fact might pair well with him in certain circumstances.
Let’s talk about Fortify for a minute though. Redditors on the PTR have been hard at work testing out what Fortify protects against, and the list is pretty extensive. At the end of the day, the main thing the ability does is this: if an enemy’s ability would hinder Orisa’s ability to move, then the ability will not work if Fortify is active, and that ability will stop affecting Orisa if she activates Fortify (i.e. she gets to walk out of Junkrat’s trap, Mei’s freeze, Zarya’s Graviton Surge, etc.). On the other hand, if Orisa is unable to use any abilities (because she’s been sleep-darted by Ana, hacked by Sombra, or completely frozen by Mei) then she can’t activate Fortify as a get-out-of-jail-free card. The easy to learn aspect is knowing that Fortify can be used to make Orisa unstoppable (though not invulnerable). The difficult to master aspect is knowing enough about the arsenal of the enemy comp to know when to proactively use Fortify as a protective measure.
IS RECYCLING BAD?
When you look back at the line-up of heroes, and particularly at the heroes added to the game after the initially-announced cast, every one of them has brought a number of new mechanisms to the game.
- McCree’s Flashbang and the insta-kill mechanism of Deadeye.
- Zarya’s particle barrier feedback and the disruptive nature of Graviton Surge.
- Soldier:76’s Sprint and auto-aim during his Ultimate.
- Lucio’s passive health/movement buffs and wall-riding.
- Roadhog’s self-heal and hook ability.
- Junkrat’s deployable trap and remote-controlled Rip-Tire.
- Mei’s slowdown mechanics and her ice wall.
- Genji’s Deflection and double-jump.
- D.va’s defense matrix, self-destruct and pilot mode.
- Ana’s ranged support kit, including the grenade healing and Nano-boost ult.
- Sombra’s stealth and hacking abilities.
Looking at Orisa’s abilities, the only truly NEW mechanism she brings to the game is the Fortify cooldown, with on-demand damage mitigation and crowd-control protection. All of her other abilities feel, and to a certain extent look, like they’ve been lifted from other heroes. Her particular melange of those abilities (i.e. having a milder version of Zarya’s ultimate as her alt-fire, while having a souped-up version of Mercy’s alt-fire as her ultimate) makes her unique, but it is a bit worrisome since we’re not even a year into Overwatch as a live game yet. It’s scary to think that Blizzard is so hard up for fresh abilities to add into the game that they’d need to rely on remixing existing abilities to fill out a new hero’s kit.
Now, if heroes were judged solely on what NEW things they brought to the game, than this would all be bad for Orisa, but that’s not the case. I’m pretty sure that when people get their hands on her, it’s not going to matter if she’s a remix of a bunch of existing hero abilities, because she is a lot of fun to play. And more to the point, given how much Orisa’s origin is tied up with Doomfist, it’s getting even more likely that he’s going to be our next hero. While any speculation about what he’ll bring to the table feels grossly immature right now, I think the odds are good that he is going to bring something very new to the game. If that’s the case, the fact that Orisa has the tools she has may be key in providing a hard counter to Doomfist.
Orisa is an excellent new contender. What she might lack in originality, she makes up for with versatility and resilience.