Baptiste, the 30th hero was added to Overwatch PTR on February 26th.
Baptiste is the first hero in 2019 and 7th support to be added to Overwatch. He has a fairly complex backstory; he was a war orphan, soldier, Talon member, and now a deserter, and comes with the first ever immunity mechanism in Overwatch.
His skills are most effective when allies are grouped up, and there are many Overwatch fans who are worried that this addition will strengthen the GOATS comp even more. It has remained the most popular and powerful comp in Overwatch even after the series of balance patches.
We had the chance to interview Michael Chu, the lead writer for Overwatch, and Geoff Goodman, the principal designer, about the new Baptiste hero.
Is there any reason or motive for making a hero with such lore? Also, could you tell us what kind of connection he has to other heroes story-wise?
Michael: Actually, I wanted to draw a hero with a story like this. He was formerly part of Talon so he will have many connections to Talon heroes in future stories. Gameplay-wise, we designed him so that he could be played as both support and something like Soldier: 76. Immortality Field, his core ability, is a mechanism we didn’t have in Overwatch before so there will be many parts for players to study in order to play him.
What was the reason you chose Haiti?
Michael: I think it’s meaningful to introduce countries that are less well-known worldwide through Overwatch. Haiti was a colony and has a history of fighting for independence. That is why we paid close attention to portraying Haitian history when we chose the voice actor or during the voice recording process.
Do Overwatch heroes know about Baptiste? Is there any possibility of him joining Overwatch?
Michael: He is in the middle of running away from Talon at the moment. We have to consider how the story will go after this. As you mentioned, the
Could you tell us more about Baptiste’s skill kit? How much can healing effects be doubled? And what is the speed of his Biotic Launcher?
Geoff: The rifle with 3-round-bursts and the biotic projectiles have separate clips and are consumed separately, although both are reloaded at the same time. The range of the biotic projectiles is 8m and its speed is faster than Zarya’s ult or Junkrat’s Frag Launcher but its damage will be absorbed by barriers (like Rheinhardt’s Barrier Field). Exo Boots allows him to jump higher than Genji’s double jumps.
What is Baptiste’s damage efficiency like?
Geoff: Baptiste can’t one-shot kill a hero as Zenyatta does with his Orb Volley. Baptiste is quite similar to Soldier: 76, although his attack damage is weaker than 76’s. He has around 27-30 shots per clip and 3-round-bursts.
Is it possible to destroy the generator for Immortality Field from outside its barrier?
Geoff: Yes. The generator can be destroyed from outside damage or sniping. Immortality Field doesn’t absorb enemy damage. However, you can still protect the generator with a barrier like Reinhardt’s from outside damage.
You said it is possible to destroy the generator for Immortality Field; is there any way to decrease its durability or nullify it? (For example, D.Va’s Defense Matrix)
Geoff: The health of the generator is 200 for now. You can’t deflect it with Genji or absorb it with D.Va’s Defense Matrix.
Baptiste seems like a hero that will be more efficient if allies are gathered around in a group. He could cause the current meta (the GOATS comp) to remain strong. What kind of effect did you hope to see with this hero’s addition?
Geoff: We ran many internal tests on it. We also thought a lot about how he might work in the GOATS comp, and it turned out Baptiste wasn’t as strong as some thought he might be in that comp; when to use his ult, which is the biggest advantage of using Baptiste, seemed rather vague. In truth, Baptiste seemed better at countering the GOATS comp.
Amplification Matrix will be too OP depending on the team comp or synergy with other heroes. Did you find any solutions to this from the results you got from internal testing?
Geoff: Baptiste’s ult can only double the damage of hitscans and projectiles - and the size isn’t that big, either. There will be ways to dodge the attack as it means you only have to avoid certain directions or areas. Baptiste’s skill kit basically has more effect if allies are standing in a group. That is why Rheinhardt’s Charge or Doomfist will be able to effectively counter any comps with Baptiste in it.
If any projectiles that pass through the Amplification Matrix are deflected by Genji and passes through again, will the damage continue to increase?
Geoff: Basically, Baptiste’s ult reinforces only friendly projectiles. However, it is possible for the deflected projectile’s damage to become stronger when it is deflected through the matrix again.
If you were to recommend any comp or heroes that had the best synergy with Baptiste from the internal tests, who would that be?
Geoff: Baptiste’s ult also doubles healing effects so he had good synergy with Ana. Also, any hitscan heroes like Bastion, Ashe, Soldier: 76, etc. were great to play with him. During the tests, we had the matrix placed in a corner and had heroes like Widow Maker and Bastion engage from there.
Michael: I believe that players in the Overwatch community will be better at finding more detailed ways of using him (Laughs).
The DPS heroes seem to be less favorable in the OWL lately. Even top DPS players seem to choose only Brigitte. Are you in any way trying to fix this?
Geoff: There will be a huge change on the PTR that has taken this into account.
The more recent heroes seem to be designed so that a hero can play several different roles, like Brigitte. Will this trend continue? Also, do you plan on having any reworks for heroes who can only play one role?
Geoff: We don’t have any specific plans on releasing hybrid heroes. We could possibly release a hero that focuses on a certain role like Mercy. We don’t have any special plans for reworks and will be focusing on the balance changes.
There was some controversy in the Overwatch community when a hero was recently revealed to be an LGBTQ character. Will Baptiste also be an LGBTQ hero?
Michael: We are still working on making his story. We haven’t thought about any parts like that in detail yet.
There were actually many players who were complaining during the Soldier: 76
Michael: The story part is going through a slow process, although we are trying hard to make progress in various ways. We were able to show how Ana and Soldier: 76 get along recently from Ana’s Bastet story. We will try our best to make progress in the story in different ways in the future.
Lastly, would you like to say anything to the Overwatch fans?
Michael: I think you already know how important the Overwatch community is to us. We really appreciate it.
Geoff: We’d like to thank everyone who enjoys playing Overwatch and we will try our best to satisfy our players.
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