There was a time when Roadhog was king in Overwatch. The Prime Porcine. The rotund rumbler from down under used to be the lynchpin in a many a competitive team composition, as his patented hook-and-shoot was guaranteed to be one-shot kill on most of the non-tank roster of heroes in Blizzard’s online shooter. This led to him becoming a must-pick character in just about every game – something that Blizzard wasn’t too fond of. They prefer to have a bit more balance in the game, and so started tweaking at Roadhog over a series of patches.
They tweaked his hook so that it would stop breaking the laws of time and physics to drag people within shotgun range, and as for said shotgun, they changed the way it works on numerous occasions. The net effect of this is a Roadhog that is definitely more balanced, but the game meta has changed since then. Now it’s all about speed attacks and burst damage in the “dive comp” meta that dominates the competitive scene currently. And now suddenly Roadhog is being taken down by characters that really should not be able to go toe to toe with him. And it appears that Blizzard have noticed this and they are testing one radical solution.
In response to a suggestion on the Overwatch forums about buffing Roadhog’s defensive capabilities to deal with this speed, Overwatch Principal Designer Geoff Goodman posted the following response explaining how they’re potentially bringing back the Hog.
We’re actually testing this exact thing right now internally. Currently we have been play testing Roadhog with -50% damage taken while using Take a Breather, and also allowing him to move at full speed while inhaling. These two changes combined certainly make him significantly more difficult to kill, while also allowing Roadhog players to be much more aggressive when trying to find a hook target, knowing they can survive a lot more easily.
We plan on throwing this up on the PTR asap (along with some other hero changes) so you guys can play with it as well. Its possible its actually too strong right now but we’ll have time to iterate on it.
So what does this mean? Well, while this is being called a defensive buff, it has some serious offensive potential, turning Roadhog into the very definition of a meat shield if this comes into play. Orisa gets a nice damage reduction when she uses fortify, but when firing she slows down considerably which makes charging into the frontlines like that a suicide run. Currently, Roadhog players will usually try to find a secluded corner to stand in after taking damage so that they can heal up again with Take a Breather, before then returning to the action. But if Roadhog is able to move full speed while healing, while having incoming damage reduced by half, it essentially means that you can now run straight at the enemy’s position while using Take a Breather so that you essentially out-healing the little bit of damage you can take. This will get you right in their faces to hook-and-shoot to your piggy heart’s delight. And becase Take a Breather has a six-second cooldown, two seconds shorter than your hook, you can probably do this multiple times.
Now it has to be noted that this won’t make Roadhog invulnerable, just harder to kill. Concentrated fire from multiple enemies should overwhelm Take a Breather with ease. Ana would also be a good counter, with her anti-healing grenade denying him the use of Take a Breather. And there’s Sombra, who has really become a top-tier character in the last few months, who can easily sneak up behind him, hack him to remove his ability to both hook and use Take a Breather, and then pump a crazy amount of bullets into him because of his large hitbox before teleporting away.
Personally, as somebody who used to play Roadhog often but now only dabbles with him, I really like this potential change. It’s basically giving Roadhog one hell of an offensive and defensive tool that will allow aggressively tank right in people’s faces. Yep, it definitely looks like Blizzard is about to save our bacon.
Last Updated: July 26, 2017