UPDATE: Now that Ashe is on the PTR, we’ve sat down and played her even more to give a more comprehensive picture of her abilities, skill level, and more. Check out the video for an analysis of Ashe’s gameplay and kit.
Let’s get something out of the way immediately — Overwatch’s new hero, Ashe, is not an entry level character. She’s tough to pick up and will likely be even harder to master. That being said, my play time at BlizzCon 2018 revealed some interesting quirks to the character.
First of all, Ashe isn’t a sniper in the traditional sense; she does less damage, her range is shorter, and most importantly, she has the tools to contest points in a much more up close and personal way. Her dynamite and her ult, BOB, allow her to get on the point and dish out enormous amounts of damage; players who try to take Ashe to a high ledge and exclusively play her out of the fray will be losing out on a lot of opportunity.
Her standard fire has a steady cadence; it’s very similar to Ana’s biotic rifle fire rate, although obviously the damage is higher. Her reload is also relatively snappy, and the end result is that it doesn’t feel like Ashe has a lot of downtime. It’s worth noting that her dynamite does a ton of burn damage, and will be her answer to barriers, but it’s not easy to detonate with a shot. You need to actually, manually shoot the dynamite while people are clustered around it if you want to detonate it early. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait for the fuse to burn down, and in that case someone can dodge the damage.
The dynamite also damages Ashe, similar to Pharah’s splash damage, so if you’re making a Hail Mary melee play, you’re liable to burn yourself as well.
The biggest vulnerability she has is when someone is directly in her face and her coach gun is depleted. The coach gun is her one escape, and when it’s gone, you’re at the mercy of its cooldown. Ashe isn’t durable enough to survive a prolonged D.Va assault or Winston chase, and so she’ll be vulnerable to Dive unless her team can peel. Use your coach gun carefully; if you use it to get into a fight and you’re not prepared, you won’t be able to get back out.
BOB, however, feels powerful. He charges to a point, knocks everyone around him up and back, and then sits and dishes out damage. He can contest a point or payload, he can be healed or nanoboosted (he cannot be resurrected), and he does a healthy amount of damage. Ashe’s ultimate is high impact, and if you don’t place BOB well or he’s burned down by the enemy team, it feels like you’ve missed a major opportunity. On the other hand, if you send BOB into a frantic fight and he cleans up, you feel like a rockstar.
Overall, I don’t think Ashe is a hero for me, but I’m glad she exists. She has clear strengths and weaknesses, and when she styles on you, you generally know it was at least a little your fault and not her inherent strength just rolling over you.