Overwatch — New Character One-Page Pitch
In this one-page pitch, I’ll be exploring an idea for a new hero in Overwatch. This is for Overwatch 2020, the last hero that joining the game being Echo. I’ll be briefly discussing the narrative background, then diving into what niche this character fills, their abilities, how it contributes to Overwatch, and any open questions I still have.
A renowned engineer and infamous omnic supporter, Lola Leblanc has devoted her life to protecting the omnics that she once sought to destroy. From a young age, Lola dreamed of changing the world. So, she did it the best way she knew how: creating. She joined Omnica in the hopes of creating a better future through robotic innovation. One of the best and brightest, she was famous for the level of care she put into each omnium. Lola’s dream fell apart, however, the day that Omnica closed, and only became worse as the Omnic Crisis ravaged the globe. After a lot of internal struggle, Lola approached the leadership in Overwatch. She wanted to fight alongside them against the omnics as penance for the chaos that she felt she had helped cause. When the fighting was done and the dust had settled, she left. Off to find a new life that didn’t involve destroying. But rather, building. Back home in New Orleans, Lola started a home for displaced omniums. She took it upon herself to give them a safe place to hide. To be protected.
I love how diverse the healers in Overwatch are, with each of their primary healing methods being really different but equally effective in the hands of the right player. Looking at the current roster, I noticed that there wasn’t a healer that specialized in setting up defenses (similar to Symmetra and Torbjorn and how they can prepare during defense phases by putting their turrets in the most optimal places), which is a perfect character niche for Lola. Adding Lola to the roster also brings the number of healers up to equal the number of tanks, balancing the character choice more.
Character Overview and Abilities
Lola has personally built her entire arsenal to keep allies alive and enemies at bay. Dubbed the Protector of New Orleans, she specializes in setting up defenses with her gadgets to build a healing fortress around her team.
Her main weapon is an energy crossbow that’s extremely powerful, but only holds one bolt and needs to be reloaded after each shot. Because of this, the player must carefully plan their shots as to not miss. Like Ana, the primary attack fires a projectile, instead of hitscan.
When the crossbow bolt hits an enemy, it hurts them. When it hits an ally, it heals them. The crossbow bolt also has piercing qualities, as it can travel through enemies and allies alike when it’s fired. The more it travels through characters, the less effective it becomes. This means that it becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of the base damage or heal. The crossbow cannot fire through walls with this primary fire.
This gives Lola a viable option of on-the-fly, targeted healing in the fray of battle, along with a way to deal heavy damage.
The player can hold down the secondary fire button to charge up the attack (similar to Zenyatta’s hold to charge). The longer the player holds it down, the more effective the crossbow bolt will become. At max charge, it will do 200% damage and heal, and gains the ability to travel through walls. Similar to the primary fire, the more objects that the bolt travels through, the less effective it becomes with each subsequent object. At max charge, the bolt also becomes a hitscan, instantaneously reaching enemies.
This ability raises the skill ceiling, rewarding skilled players with even more damage and healing, but requiring those players to commit to the charge time.
Ability 1— Healing Turrets
One of Lola’s primary methods of healing is the Healing Turret. The player can plant up to 3 turrets at a time, and each turret has a healing area-of-effect around the turret’s location. The healing rate is relatively slow, approximately 16 HP per second (the same as Lucio’s healing effect). Though the healing isn’t quick, the advantage of this is that Lola can put turrets in a variety of places without putting herself in harm’s way, so that is balanced with the slower healing power.
When planting the turret, the player can throw it a short distance, so it can stick on walls or on ceilings. Like other gadgets, the turret can be destroyed by enemy players. The turrets have approximately 150 health (which is between Symmetra’s turrets and Torbjorn’s). Similar to Torbjorn’s turret, Lola’s turrets can last until they are destroyed, and is on an approximately 10 second cooldown. If the player uses the ability while 3 turrets are active, the first turret deployed will be destroyed, and a new one will be placed (first in, first out).
These turrets give the player a lot of flexibility in planning out a situation, and placing them in locations that would both heal their team, but out of the way so that enemy players will find it difficult to destroy. There is also ways of playing with the possibility of placing healing sources, like placing the turrets on different sections of a payload. This should also be fun for enemy’s to fight against Lola too, giving them small objectives throughout the map (searching for the healing turrets and destroying them).
Ability 2— Focused Beam
The Focused Beam ability has all active turrets shoot a focused beam at Lola for about 10 seconds, which she then catches the laser into her gauntlet. The beams will follow her as she walks around. When an ally comes in contact with one of them beams, they get healed very quickly (somewhere between Zenyatta’s orbs and Mercy’s staff). The player has to be within a range of the turrets for them to shoot the beam, but it should be a relatively large range. If the player is near 2 of the turrets, but out of the range of the last one, the 2 turrets should still shoot the beam.
This ability can provide clutch moments in which the player can use this ability to quickly turn the tide of battle. It’s a decently high-skill ability, since the player has to be conscientious of their positioning, along with the positioning of their team members and turrets to provide maximum healing. This ability also gives Lola’s allies some agency in getting healed, as they can see the beam and jump in its path to get some heals. This also gives enemy’s an idea where all the turrets are, so that they can be destroyed.
Ultimate Ability — Wall
Lola places down a wide and short energy wall that damages and slows all enemies a decent distance in front of it, and heals all allies standing a decent distance behind it. Unlike the turret, this cannot be thrown when used. It must be placed down by Lola. The wall must be placed on a stable ground that the player can stand on, so it can’t be placed on the side of walls or on the ceiling like the turrets.
This wall can be destroyed, but has a lot of health. It lasts for about 15 seconds before deactivating. This wall is quickly deployed when the player activates the ultimate. Similar to other hero’s ultimate abilities (like Junkrat’s Rip Tire), if an enemy kills Lola in the wall planting animation before the wall is actually activated, the ultimate will be interrupted and the wall will not deploy.
This ultimate ability further solidifies her role as a healer that sets up defenses with gadgets. The player can use this to defend a point in game modes like Control, blocking off entry ways that the enemy team could take. This can also be placed on the payload and provide a mobile source of both damage and healing.
Passive Ability — Gadget Heal
Whenever one of Lola’s gadgets heal an ally, like the turrets or the wall, she also passively recovers health. This incentives players to properly optimize and use the gadgets in order to self heal.
- Is Lola fully featured enough? She has her turrets and the beam as the primary abilities, should the wall be moved to a regular ability and another ultimate ability be used?
- Is an ability dependent on another ability work well within Overwatch?
- Should the crossbow hold multiple bolts before reloading? Is it too slow?
- Can Lola be used efficiently across all modes? She specializes in defense, but should not be useless while attacking.
Adding Lola to the roster would bring the number of healers up to equal the number of tanks, balancing the cast further. She also fills a niche in the supports, and allows for more defensive minded players to have a hero that supports this playstyle. Super excited to see what Overwatch 2 brings in terms of new characters. Thanks for reading!