Overwatch Hero UX: Symmetra

This is a UX article: as such, it is not focused strategy, nor background. It talks about gameplay fun and pain for the character.

My first spotlight is on Symmetra, Overwatch sci-fi engineer.

This review encompasses Symmetra Characteristics and Abilities (which both focus on the fun of using the character) and Team Play (which focuses on how is can be fun to play with others).

I used colors to classify fun level:

Blue: awesome
Green: fun
Orange: average
Gray: meh
Red: painful
Purple: frustrating


Health [100]

100 Health is low. It makes Symmetra a fragile hero, even with her Shield on. This is a pain that must be fixed. You feel it until you build the Shield Generator. After that, the burden softens.

Armor [0]

No armor for this hero. This is normal for a support hero. You can raise this through Torbjorn support, which is nice for Symmetra.

Shield [100]

Having 100 Shield is always a nice-to-have, as it avoids the use of medikits and helps being independent from the healer. Shield Generator makes it 175, and, from there, you feel fine.

Mobility [average, grounded]

Symmetra’s mobility is average, but she can’t leave ground without support. This is not brilliant. Fortunately, she does have a projectile option in Energy Ball, but this doesn’t help much.

Hit-Box [small]

Symmetra’s hit box is good. This helps a bit with sustainability, and you much need it.


Photon Projector

As its main damaging option, Symmetra can cast a beam that connects with the nearest enemy. Its effectiveness increases with use and decreases with time.

The beam is simply fantastic: if you manage to “setup” it to full strength, it can lead to a total party kill.

The pain here is that Symmetra is frail, with a total of 200 hit points (100 Health + 100 Shield).

There are, though, many solutions to this. First of all, the new Ultimate can create the Shield Generator. This gives the entire party an extra 75 Shield, buffing Symmetra hit points to 275.

I also like the idea of receiving Torbjorn’s 75 bonus armor from Armor Pack. Other options to increase her sustainability are the Zarya’s Projected Barrier, or simply sustained cure from a healer hero (e.g. Mercy).

With this kind of support, Symmetra becomes bulky, and this grants the fun of making a killing strife with the beam.

The feeling of the beam charging is awesome: you find yourself with a glowing blue stream that wrecks through anything, even mechs, and annihilates nearly instantly fragile DPS heroes that want to shot you (e.g. Tracer).

Energy Ball

I use this ability for opening up paths and for spacing.

The fun fact of this is that it can pass through barriers. It can hit hard Reinhardt, Winston and opponent Symmetra, as they cannot use their abilities to shield.

I’m going to experiment it especially against Reinhardt: Energy Ball is very, very slow, but Reinhardt mobility while shielding is very limited, and his hit box doesn’t help. Crippling Reinhardt without touching his shield while holding the first line with Symmetra could actually be fun.

Oh, and, well, random kills with fully charged blue spheres, while very, VERY rare, are also fun.

Sentry Turrets

Turrets are very, very interesting.

The pain is they have 1 hit point and can be easily destroyed by area-of-effect attacks, like Winston’s Tesla Cannon.

This means that you must have some thoughts on where to put them. Best places to use them offensively are your side of chokepoints. If you setup six of them, enemies passing carelessly through the chokepoint can be eliminated by the Turrets by themselves. Hearing the sweet elimination sound while you’re respawning is rejuvenating. All thanks to this ability.

There are also other uses for Sentry Turrets, which are, for instance, being sentries! 😛 This means placing isolated Turrets to keep you aware of incoming enemies. The Turret won’t eliminate the threat, but you can prepare. This is less fun, but mitigates the pain of being flanked and killed.

The last use that comes into my mind is as Shield Generator / Teleporter guard. Having your work dismantled by brutes disappoints Symmetra. And disappoints you. This avoid this sad happening.

Overall, Sentry Turrets are versatile tools. If you manage to keep them alive, you will love them.

Photon Barrier

My “meh” for Symmetra new ability. It may have its uses to protect your team, but I couldn’t ever use it.

I recently thought that it could be useful if you want to use Symmetra very offensively, though. After her hit point setup (Torbjorn + Shield Generator / Zarya support), you can charge into the enemy team, throw the Photon Barrier in front of you, and hope that this brings you into the fight shielding damage. Opponents can still flank you, though. I still must try this, but I’m not expecting a change in fun level for this ability.

This doesn’t mean that this ability is useless, I’m only saying that, for now, for me, it wasn’t much fun to use!

Ultimate: Teleporter

Well, okay, Teleporter buffs your “heat”, while helping your team getting back to the battlefield. The game also tells you when any of your mates have used the Teleporter. This last one is nice. Overall, though, you place the Teleporter in a hidden spot, and that’s it. I find it nice to be useful for my team, and the occasional blue flame if it works really well, but allies using the Teleporter means allies dying, which is bad. Also, the Teleporter can be destroyed, and this is always a downside. I find the fun situational.

Ultimate: Shield Generator

There is a reason why this is green, and not blue: you don’t get special awards for sponging damage for your allies (or, I never acknowledged them). I feel very, very sad for that. Shield Generator is a GREAT help for the team. I think it’s the best contribute Symmetra can give. Torbjorn gets “heat” buffs for his Armor Pack use. Which is little, but still nice.

That said, Shield Generator is also great for you: it makes you bulky, and helps you using Photon Projector properly (i.e.: to annihilate everything). You will feel it, believe me.

Also, it makes you win games. I think this is nice too! 😀 Maybe you’re going to have less medals, but more wins. This is a big thumbs-up point.

Team Play

  • I think it’s not common to receive “thanks” from the other team element for Symmetra deeds, as her support abilities are passive, and not applied to the single hero. This is a bit sad.
  • As Symmetra I usually feel accepted by the team, even if she doesn’t cover healer or tank role. Nobody usually complains. This is fairly nice.
  • Your sweeps with the Photon Projector and your salvific Shield Genenator can save days. This isn’t felt enough by the team, in my opinion. But a sweep is a sweep.
  • I found nice synergies to try, with Torbjorn as a receiver, but especially with Zarya as the Tank’s personal glass cannon: Zarya shields you with her Projected Barrier while you sweep anything with your Photon Projector. She may be also buffed by your Shield Generator. This could create nice teamwork with your tank.
  • Also, Symmetra can be, again, in my opinion, a nice pair with Mercy, especially if both equipped with Torbjorn’s extra armor.

Overall teamwork evaluation: average.

Final Considerations

Symmetra is a wonderful support hero. It has her unique role, and greatly welcomes help from her team-mates, exchanging the favor by granting Shield or “quick respawn”. It’s very fun to play and useful for the other players too.


What do you think about this review? Do you have a different experience with Symmetra? Or do you feel the same? Please, tell us your feelings in playing Symmetra in the comments!

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