Ashe: First Impressions
The latest Overwatch hero is here! Teasing the audience before her reveal, Kaplan said there were plenty of potential new heroes from the “Reunion” cinematic. First there is the bowler-wearing ominc named B.O.B., “The Triplets,” who were helping to move cargo, and the mysterious, angelic being known as Echo that Jesse McCree rescued from the crashed train. Hyping the crowd up, Jeff Kaplan admitted there could only be one real answer, the leader of the Deadlock Gang, Ashe.
The 29th hero is a new damage character who wields two firearms for her attacks.
“The Viper” is a rifle that has two modes, the primary fire that shoots at a higher rate, but is less accurate, and the second allows her to look down the sights for slower, long-range shots, but deals more damage.
Her other gun, a coach gun (shotgun that traditionally has had its barrel trimmed), that allows her to knock enemies back or shoot surfaces to push her in the opposite direction. Time this ability right and you can knock enemies away from you and then switch to The Viper to dish out damage, launch yourself high into the air for high ground, or shoot a wall for a quick escape.
Using a Dynamite ability, Ashe can throw explosives to do some area damage and light them on fire, but she can also shoot it early to make it detonate early.
A fan-favorite from the cinematic, Ashe’s sidekick B.O.B. is called in as her ultimate. B.O.B charges in, throwing enemies up into the air, and starts firing away at enemies.
How does she play?
Note: My game testing this was 6v6 Ashe because everyone wanted to play her.
After playing a few rounds with Ashe, it feels like she fills every cowboy trope that McCree doesn’t. She’s Overwatch’s Annie Oakley with her agility, sharpshooting, and dynamite throwing sass.
Using the Viper as a normal weapon is fine on its own, but jumping to ledges or hiding behind the environment to “snipe” feels so good. Unlike most weapons in Overwatch, and not that most heroes want to do this, you cannot hold the button to continuously fire. Each shot has to be fired manually.
What I found most interesting about The Viper is that the length of time it takes to reload depends on how many shots you’ve fired, as she reloads every, individual shell.
My first thought when seeing her Coach Gun ability is that players tired of knockback effects aren’t going to be happy. In practice though, it’s on a 10-11 second cooldown and is more useful for her own use to launch into the air, escape, or for finishing off low health enemies, than it is for disrupting enemy placement. I don’t have the exact height numbers, but when playing her on Rialto, I was able to easily reach the second floor of the Opera House and then some.
Dynamite is fun to use. Throw it into a chokepoint to either cause the enemies to scatter, or take fire damage a few seconds later if they don’t. While you can shoot your own Dynamite to make it explode sooner, no one else can shoot it for the same effect. Your own Dynamite will hurt yourself if you happen to be next to it when it explodes. While fun, the speed at which Dynamite travels through the air felt slow. That said, I found it easy to know how high to throw it to get it where I wanted, skills I’ve long-since learned on Ana, so maybe they have the travel time and it feels different because it looks different.
What about B.O.B.?
Launching B.O.B. is similar to building objects, you point to a place you want him to stand, and he appears once you hit your Ultimate button. He comes out of nowhere and knocks back any enemies on the way to the designated place, and at that point, he’ll fire on enemies for a few seconds before he goes away or is killed. He doesn’t move once he gets to his destination, so make sure he’s in a safe location for the best effect. His HP pool is moderate, but will not stand up long at all to an entire team shooting him.
Some of the best parts about B.O.B. though? He’s an another character on the map, which means he can be healed, discorded, Nano Boosted, and so on. He’ll even contest the objective until the ultimate is finished or he’s killed.
It’s hard to say exactly where she’ll stand in any meta yet as she just came out today, but I can see her filling a bit more of a “sniper-ish” role to harass the enemy team at a medium range until she’s noticed, and then she can do a quick escape when she is. If she gets a few eliminations in before she’s scared off, all the better!
Time will tell though and I can’t wait to find out.