In the New Year Developer Update, Jeff Kaplan briefly mentioned Hero 27, saying that they are well under way. While we don’t have a release date, we do know that the next hero will be “very needed”. Moira, our last hero, was also considered a “very needed” hero, as we hadn’t had a new support character since Ana, and the healer meta was considered one of the most stagnant and in need of new blood. Now that we know the new hero will likely fill a similar void in the roster, we can start rampantly speculating.
Since we just got Moira, we can probably rule out a healing support. The ‘sniper’ role of the game is also probably filled with Ana, Hanzo, and Widowmaker covering that niche nicely. (It’s also hard to imagine another way we could need a sniper.) In fact, Offense heroes are likely out entirely; the Offense roster is the largest one in the game so far and Doomfist and Sombra have both rounded it out nicely.
What about a new tank? Orisa joined the game not too long ago, and Roadhog and D.Va both received reworks. Right now, the tank roster feels very healthy, but Blizzard could surprise us. Still, I don’t think a tank would necessarily qualify as the most needed role in Overwatch, unless it had some kind of very strong ability that stood out from the existing heroes.
Then I start to think about the Overwatch League--specifically, Horizon Point A. This very small zone that is open on many sides is often taken very quickly, pushing the defenders back to Point B and creating weirdly paced games. What if we experience something similar on Hanamura once that enters the map rotation? This got the wheels in my brain turning. I think we may see a new kind of Defense hero.
Symmetra and Mei are both very good at zone control, but they largely handle that through damage. Symmetra’s turrets will microwave you down, or Mei will throw down a Blizzard to clear the point. What if we saw a supportive Defense hero (or a defensive Support, similar to Symmetra), who had the ability to push enemies back or prevent a six man push? This hypothetical hero could thrive in close quarters by creating barriers, forcing flanks, and preventing quick shoves.
Sure, Mei has a wall, but it’s pretty thick and has a substantial cooldown. It also needs to be balanced around her powerful ultimate, single target lock down, and snipe potential. This hero could use hard light technology, similar to Symmetra, for quicker and more tactical decisions.
What sort of hero do you think the game “needs” next? A tank? A support? Maybe another DPS? The world could always use more heroes, but the question of which ones we need is a little more tantalizing.