Blizzard recently added Overwatch’s newest hero, Echo, to the Public Test Region—and, so far, people love her.
Things will become more clear over the next month or so as people learn how to counter the new DPS hero, but Echo is already fun to play and capable of doing massive damage without feeling oppressive to enemy teams.
Echo will likely need some nerfs to her damage and ultimate charge generation rate, but we don’t anticipate any large scale changes beyond those adjustments. For most DPS players, Echo represents exactly what they want in a DPS hero. She’s easy to pick up and hard to master, which is arguably the goal of good hero design in games like Overwatch.
Echo’s abilities combine well
Echo has some incredibly fun and effective abilities. Her primary attack fires a burst of three projectiles that do 17 damage each, or 51 damage if you land all three. The weapon is long range, but obviously it’ll be harder to hit targets that are far away.
Echo’s secondary ability fires six sticky grenades that do five damage each when they hit the target and then 31 damage each when they explode a second later. Her final damage ability is her focusing beam, which deals 50 damage-per-second (DPS) and increases to 200 DPS when the target is below half health.
In addition to all of these high damage attacks, Echo has a Flight and Glide ability that allow her to fly in any direction for three seconds and then glide horizontally for several more.
Her flight trajectories are way harder for enemies to predict than Pharah’s flight ability and Echo’s movement in the air is more flexible than Mercy’s. Echo’s hitbox is small, like Tracer or Mercy, which helps her survive when players use her movement ability well.
Her movement ability combines with her damage attacks in interesting and dynamic ways, allowing players to pull off highly influential plays. Echo can fly above enemies and rain damage down upon them. She’s able to flank quickly and push aggressively by using her Flight ability to bail out when needed.
Echo is a flex DPS player’s dream. She can quickly move from dealing massive damage to tanks and barriers to flying away and flanking the backline. Echo fits into the meta somewhere between Symmetra and Tracer. She’s able to deal out consistent damage and melt barriers with her focusing beam like Symmetra, but she can also flank and deal large amounts of burst damage to an enemy backline like Tracer.
She’s also a lot like Tracer in that she’s only as good as the player’s mechanics. If players use Echo well, they can deal ridiculous damage at all levels. But high-level players will be able to take advantage of Echo’s relatively high-skill ceiling abilities.
Echo doesn’t feel oppressive
Making a hero powerful without being oppressive is a tall order in game design. You want your heroes to feel influential on the battlefield while ensuring the entire game doesn’t revolve around countering any one particular hero.
Part of the issue with Baptiste in recent patches, or Bastion all the time, is that those characters’ abilities feel like they dictate how you’re supposed to play the game. We don’t think that Echo does that.
Echo does a lot of damage and is hard to kill, but she doesn’t have any crowd control abilities. She can’t boop enemies off the map and she doesn’t disrupt enemy abilities with stuns, which are some of the most oppressive mechanics featured in Overwatch.
She also doesn’t introduce a large amount of visual clutter to teamfights. Her abilities are all clean and easy to see without being distracting. All around, Echo is just delightful. She’s fun to play and watch without feeling unfairly overpowered. She really does strike a good balance.
Echo’s ultimate is overtuned
The only big issue in the current Echo build is that she gets her ultimate charged very quickly. Her constant ultimates are the only thing that feel oppressive about the character design.
Her ultimate, “Duplicate,” allows Echo to duplicate an enemy hero’s abilities, but with 650 percent ultimate charge generation. This means that during Echo’s ultimate (15 seconds), you can instantly charge almost any enemy hero’s ultimate ability, sometimes more than once.
Her ultimate is powerful, especially when used strategically. Her ultimate can call in a DPS ultimate to turn the tide of the fight or it can duplicate a support ability to keep the tanks in the fight when her team is down a support. Her ult can also grab another tank, allowing teams to basically have GOATs for 15 seconds at a time.
As it is, some Echo players have been building their ultimates every 20 or 30 seconds. Either she’s doing too much damage or her ultimate generation is too high.
Functionally, a good Echo is going to have access to high damage ultimates every time she uses her ultimate ability. In some cases, Echo can use more than one ultimate during the duration of her Duplicate. So if you’re getting your ultimate every 20 to 30 seconds, Echo is going to be hands down the best character in the game.
Overall, though, Echo is an awesome character that people will enjoy playing as, playing with, and playing against.