As any wounded tightrope walker will tell you, balance is hard to get right. It’s no secret that Blizzard has had a hard time balancing many of Overwatch’s heroes over the years, and the FPS game‘s supports seem especially tricky – Moira and Brigitte, I’m looking at you. So when I heard that new Overwatch 2 character Kiriko is a mixture of DPS and healer, it’s safe to say I – and probably many other fans – panicked a little.
When I fielded my concerns to hero designer Piero Herrera, he replied “we’re super confident about being able to nail down the balance on Kiriko.” Obviously, it’s not like I expected him to say ‘yeah we’re bricking it too, lol’, but he does sound pretty confident.
“If you think of Moira on a design aspect, she deals damage and heals, but that’s pretty much it. What you can do to balance her is simply adjust the numbers. One of the things we tried in the beta was to give Moira more utility so that we’re able to have more knobs and dials to balance the character.
“Kiriko, on the other hand, has a bunch of knobs that we can essentially tune if necessary,” he continues. “I would say out of all of the support characters, even though she does borrow a lot from the DPS role, we’re not worried about how it might affect balance.
Herrera does say that Kiriko is “going to be super effective, and we want that,” but he reassures fans that “she’s also going to be able to be balanced accordingly, because she has a high number of versatile tools that we can pull back or increase if we want.”
One of the main goals of Kiriko’s design is to attract DPS players to the support role – one which is often looked down on as being much easier than tank or damage. It’s a perception that’s patently false, as anyone with a little understanding of the game could tell you, but it persists nonetheless, and Blizzard is keen to give Kiriko’s kit a bit of glamour to tempt more people to give her a try. She can run on walls, like Hanzo and Genji, and she can teleport, giving her far better mobility than most other supports. Her ultimate provides a huge boost to both speed and attack speed, which is perfect for rushing sites and shredding lengthy cooldown timers.
On paper she certainly looks like she packs a punch, and if Blizzard has got the balance right and managed to find a sweet spot for her damage output, she looks like she’ll be a unique addition to the much-neglected support roster.
Kiriko isn’t the only newcomer to join the fray, as there’s a whole plethora of new Overwatch 2 heroes to get your head round – as well as some changes to OW1 heroes.