As promised, Blizzard is starting its free content updates to Overwatch with Ana, a support sniper with impressive-looking abilities.
Overwatch is a colorful team-based shooter that's accessible to play and difficult to master. Cosmetic micro-transactions support the game, and as such, Blizzard has always said future maps and characters would remain 100% free. Blizzard unveiled Ana earlier today on the game's official website, detailing her abilities, back story, and more.
Ana's versatile arsenal allows her to affect heroes all over the battlefield. Her Biotic Rifle rounds and Biotic Grenades heal allies and damage or impair enemies; her sidearm tranquilizes key targets, and Nano Boost gives one of her comrades a considerable increase in power.
Ana is a 60-year-old founding member of Overwatch, who served as a Strike Commander Morrison's second-in-command. She was believed killed by Widowmaker, but instead, she used the rumors of her death to retreat from active duty with grave injuries, including a lost eye. Ana is also the mother of Overwatch's jet-powered heroine Pharah.
One of the founding members of Overwatch, Ana uses her skills and expertise to defend her home and the people she cares for.
As the Omnic Crisis inflicted a heavy toll on Egypt, the country's depleted and undermanned security forces relied on elite snipers for support. Among them was Ana Amari, who was widely considered to be the world's best. Her superior marksmanship, decision-making, and instincts made her a natural selection to join the Overwatch strike team that would end the war.
Following the success of Overwatch's original mission, Ana served for many years as Strike Commander Morrison's second-in-command. Despite her responsibilities in leading the organization, Ana refused to step away from combat operations. She remained on active duty well into her fifties, until she was believed to have been killed during a hostage rescue mission by the Talon operative known as Widowmaker.
In truth, Ana survived that encounter, despite being gravely wounded and losing her right eye. During her recovery, she wrestled with the weight of a life spent in combat, and she chose to stay out of the world's growing conflicts. However, as time passed, she realized she could not sit on the sidelines while people threatened her city and the innocents around her.
Now, Ana has rejoined the fight to protect her country from the forces that would destabilize it, and most importantly, to keep her family and her closest allies safe.
Ana has a maximum difficulty rating and has a range of abilities focused towards supporting allies and hindering foes. Her rifle deals accurate damage to opponents, and incremental healing to allies, while her side arm can put encroaching targets in a sleep state. Her Ultimate, "Nano Boost", grants one ally a speed, damage and defense boost for a limited time.
- Biotic Rifle - "Ana's rifle shoots darts that can restore health to her allies or deal ongoing damage to her enemies. She can use the rifle's scope to zoom in on targets and make highly accurate shots."
- Sleep Dart - "Ana fires a dart from her sidearm, rendering an enemy unconscious (though any damage will rouse them)."
- Biotic Grenade - "Ana tosses a biotic bomb that deals damage to enemies and heals allies in a small area of effect. Affected allies briefly receive increased healing from all sources, while enemies caught in the blast cannot be healed for a few moments."
- Nano Boost - "After Ana hits one of her allies with a combat boost, they temporarily move faster, deal more damage, and take less damage from enemies' attacks."
Ana is currently available only on Overwatch's Public Test Realm on PC, which is bringing a bunch of changes to the game beyond Ana herself. Some of the patch notes highlights include:
- Self-healing abilities now help charge Ultimates, resulting in the reduction of the charge speed of particular Ultimates. Affected heroes include Bastion, Roadhog, Lucio, Soldier: 76.
- D.Va has been substantially improved. Her Defense Matrix ability now only has a one-second cooldown, and will instead deplete a brand new resource meter. At full charge, it will block attacks for four seconds, and will persist as long as the button is held down. Her Ultimate, Self-Destruct, will now trigger after three seconds instead of four. It'll also charge more quickly, and no longer damage D.Va herself.
- McCree's effective range has been increased, allowing him to deal more damage at longer ranges. Blizzard felt the previous weakening of his abilities was too harsh.
- Mercy's ally damage boost has been increased from 30% to 50%, as it was intended to be her primary source of damage, as opposed to pulling out her pistol. She can also now move while casting her resurrection Ultimate, taking a penalty to its charge time as a trade-off. Guardian Angel now instantly resets on use.
- Zenyatta has been improved. His base shield has been increased to 150, up from 100, and the movement speed of his Orb abilities has been substantially increased. His movement speed and healing over time while using his Ultimate, Transcendence, has also been significantly improved.
These additions are live now on Overwatch's Public Test Realm, which you can download on PC following the steps found on the Patch Notes link below. While some of the changes might not make their way to PS4 and Xbox One, I expect most of the substantial changes, such as the ones granted to D.Va to make their way across. There's currently no ETA on when we can expect the changes to go live, but it shouldn't be too long.
If you're considering getting into Overwatch, check out our review and full character guides below. This patch should prove Blizzard's intentions to support the game post-launch with free content. Expect this game to be around for a long time.