Doomfist launched on July 27th, much to the appreciation and applause of Overwatch fans everywhere. Doomfist’s been teased as a part of the Overwatch universe since day one, and after over a year of hype (and a sick animation showing off his skills), everyone was ready to actually play as the guy. Less than a month after his release, the reception has cooled somewhat. Many players are encountering a problem where Doomfist just, feels too strong.
Doomfist’s kit is pretty unique to Overwatch, and skills that players have picked up from months of playing Tracer or Soldier 76 don’t apply to this new hero. Once you get over that hurdle and understand how his kit works, he has a low skill floor.
He also has a relatively clear success scenario, which is hitting a clutch Rocket Punch, shielding up, and then using his abilities to continue to lock down the enemy team. If he fails that, the counter play is simple: just blow him up. He sits at a comfortable 51% win rate, which seems the very pinnacle of balance.
Despite this, Doomfist is drawing a ton of complaints, and if you look closer, it becomes obvious that he’s not quite as balanced as he looks. First of all, his win rate is 46% in bronze, but nearly 58% in grandmaster. That suggests that if you can reach Doomfist’s skill ceiling, he does work. Some might suggest it’s a disproportionate amount of work!
It’s also worth noting that it’s very surprising for a new character to hit this level of traction so soon after their release. Ana was considered underpowered and nearly a troll pick until she 1) received buffs and 2) became a staple pick in pro play. Sombra is still considered a risky pick that few have mastered, and Orisa hasn’t hit her stride yet either. Doomfist, on the other hand, is seeing massive success compared to every other new hero.
There seems to be one big problem at the root of all of this: Rocket Punch.
Rocket Punch is Doomfist’s iconic ability, charging him forward into the enemy team and knocking his target back. It has variable range and damage depending on how long you charge it, and additional damage if the target hits a wall. Like other problematic combos before it (McCree’s Fan the Hammer and Roadhog’s hook and shoot), it is capable of one shotting targets.
The tradeoff is meant to be that it puts Doomfist at incredible risk, but it’s not quite working out. One of the biggest complaints is that the hitbox on Rocket Punch is too big, which means it’s actually a very easy choice for Doomfist to charge in. Unless you’re a character with a long range dash, like Tracer or Genji, he’s going to hit you. Even McCree’s tumble isn’t quite enough to escape a dash.
Doomfist is meant to be a love letter to the fighting game community, where you combo different abilities together in the heat of battle. Instead, Rocket Punch is overwhelming the rest of his kit, especially Rising Uppercut, which leaves him vulnerable.
We’re not without hope. First of all, it seems likely Doomfist will get some developer attention once the dust settles and an action plan becomes more apparent. Secondly, there are still some strong counters to him in game: Orisa, Sombra, and Pharah are all capable of eating Doomfist’s lunch.
After seeing Blizzard tweak the game to eliminate other one hit kills, it remains to be seen whether Doomfist will be allowed to keep his. At the very least, we may see those one hit kills become far riskier and more difficult to pull off in future patches.