As long as Overwatch has been around, Hanzo has been a joke. Players have been making fun of Hanzo mains for years at this point. It feels like we’ve all spent plenty of time trying to figure out how Hanzo could be better than he is now, arguing about it on forums or this very website. Well, it seems that Blizzard has a few ideas as well.
In the latest dev update, game director, Jeff Kaplan, popped in to share a few new tools that could be making their way into Hanzo player’s hands:
Right now the direction we’re exploring is giving him a completely new ability that gives him a window when he fires off the ability to shoot arrows in rapid succession. Right now we’re experimenting with five arrows at a very high fire rate.
It’s a lot of fun, I think this one might be worth trying so we might put it to the PTR and we’ve also given Hanzo a horizontal leap that allows him to leap in whatever direction he’s facing to either forward, back, left, or right. This is more meant as a disengage for Hanzo, of course you can sometimes use it to get into cool interesting places, that’s pretty fun also.
Kaplan is almost always very straightforward when it comes to upcoming changes and the likelihood that we’ll ever get a chance to play them. Both of these abilities could help turn Hanzo into a capable hero, something he’s never really been before.
It’s clear the development team wants us to be glad, or at the very least, not pissed, to have Hanzo on our team.
This is a strong ask for a lot of players. As previously mentioned, Hanzo has been more of a meme than a hero. Someone that players poke fun at rather than enjoy playing with. We’ve all had that one Hanzo main on our team that refuses to play anything more useful than Hanzo. Maybe that players gone off once or twice, but more often than not, you lose to poor team composition.
So what would it take then? What could possibly make being stuck with a Hanzo less infuriating? Well, what if his abilities didn’t suck? We could be looking at a world where that kind of Hanzo exists.
A rapid fire shot, which would presumably replace his scatter arrow, would do wonders to align Hanzo with what he’s always been about: precision. If Hanzo can shoot normal, precise shots extremely quickly? That could make him a bit more interesting, essentially turning him into a automatic sniper for a short period of time.
This leap ability also sounds very useful. While it’s hard to see the difference now between this described leap and the one Winston already has attached to his kit, more mobility isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Hanzo is a sniper, but he’s not nearly as ranged as Widowmaker.
Hanzo needs a way out for when he has to go hard. On the other hand, this rapid fire ability could be interesting in the heat of battle, so Hanzo also needs a tool to get into fights. Giving him one, singular mobility cooldown makes this far more interesting. If he jumps in, he can’t escape. If he jumps out, he can’t re-engage. It forces decisions in a meaningful way, and that’s good hero design.
Assuming he keeps his scanner arrow and his actually useful ultimate, Hanzo could provide a legitimate role on the team. Snipers are always going to be niche, but rapid fire, mobility, and scouting potential could make Hanzo useful rather than useless. Believe it or not, all we’ve ever wanted is for Hanzo to be worthy of all the mains he seems to collect. With these changes, maybe he could be.