It’s not bold to claim that Blizzard is dedicated to its player base. It doesn’t seem long ago now we were treated with the second addition to the original Overwatch family, Sombra. While not initially super impactful to the meta-game like Ana, Sombra offers a hard counter for the ever-present Reinhardt, a decent counter for most other tanks, and a great skirmisher for fans of being a super-mobile badass.

After over two weeks in the Public Test Region (longer than any other character), Orisa’s general release date was announced for the 21st of March, earlier this week. Players of the console version may have been bummed out about the wait initially, but it’s understandable for Blizzard to want to continue tinkering, especially when you consider something as significant to Overwatch as a new character being free content. Regardless of profit, they continue to perfect this character, purely for fan enjoyment.

With consistent patches and new characters, Blizzard constantly shakes up the carefully balanced plethora of variables that makes Overwatch such a success. Until players can really get their hands on a character like Orisa, Blizzard can’t fully know what to expect in terms of change to the core game. And with 23 characters and more variables than ever, it makes sense to want to keep perfecting the character’s intended influence on the game’s meta.

According director Jeff Kaplan, “while designing Orisa, the developers wanted to create an ‘anchor tank’ — a character that the team is anchored by and bases its positioning around, such as behind Reinhardt’s barrier shield ability. Additionally, they wanted to create a character with more ranged and mobile abilities.” This means, similarly with Reinhardt, teams will profit more from sticking close to Orisa. Though, with her projectile-based shield, it’ll introduce a stronger necessity for barrier-countering characters like Sombra and Junkrat. So many barriers!

Which bring us to Orisa’s abilities and weaponry. For anyone who hasn’t tested the character in the PTR, here’s a rundown of the specifics:

Primarily, she attacks from long-range with her Fusion Driver. This auto-fire cannon has a similar fire method as Bastion’s Gatling gun, but differs in that its bullets are not hit-scan; they take time to hit their target. Orisa’s movement speed is also reduced when sustaining fire, assuring that primary-fire isn’t too over-powered. It also lacks a secondary fire.

Source: Overwatch wiki

Orisa’s abilities range from miniature graviton surges to a self-buff, accentuating her function as a ranged anchor. With a cooldown of 8 seconds, her “Halt!” ability allows her to shoot small singularities near a group of enemies to mess with their positioning; the mini graviton surges. Her self-buff is called Fortify, which halves incoming damage, with a cooldown of 10 seconds.

Source: Overwatch wiki
Source: Overwatch wiki

Orisa’s barrier is a bit smaller than Reinhardt’s, but is fired as an arcing projectile, rendering Orisa able to multitask while the barrier is active, rather than occupying the character’s entire functionality, like Rein. With Orisa functioning as an “anchor,” she serves her team best by defending them with this protective shield, which boasts a tasty 900 HP, and a cooldown of 12 seconds. And for anyone wondering, if the cooldown is over and a second shield is placed, it WILL replace the last barrier.

Source: Overwatch wiki

It seems so far, Orisa’s main weaknesses lie in her susceptibility to enemy flankers’ attacks. She is an extremely large character with locked shield placement and her primary-fire’s inability to attack multiple enemies at close range. Heavy damage dealers and snipers will be a challenge.

As for Orisa’s origin and history within the Over-verse, it’s unsurprising that Blizzard’s talent for mythos and backstory extends through to their new characters too, whether it’s one from Overwatch or another of their games.

Blizzard’s “newscast” of the Doomfist attack.

If you’ve been playing Overwatch since the recent patch, you’ll notice a few changes to the Numbani arena; namely the missing Doomfist glove on top of the map’s payload and the destroyed cyborg in the attacking side’s spawn area. This cyborg is an OR15. The OR15’s were once Numbani’s last line of defense before Doomfist’s attack, and are intrinsic to Orisa’s story.

 

Child genius, Efi

A child genius and Numbani local named Efi never lost sight of the OR15’s original purpose though, and created Orisa out of a decommissioned OR15 she bought with grant money. Prepared to defend Numbani and the World, it seems Orisa was engineered based on what the OR15 personally represented to Efi.

Regardless of her backstory, Orisa looks to be a huge shake-up for the Overwatch meta-game, and we can’t wait to finally get our hands-on Blizzard’s finished product, when it becomes available outside of the PTR. Orisa is scheduled for worldwide release on the 21st of March, free to all players.

Interning Video Game Journalist & Social Media Manager at Gamers Classified. Student currently pursuing a double bachelor's in Journalism & Arts at UOW. Creative arts dabbler, namely in photography, short films/documentaries and video essays. Dedicated gamer. Hails from Wollongong, NSW.