Principal designer Geoff Goodman outlines his philosophy for the powerful ability.
Geoff Goodman – principal designer for Overwatch – has taken to the game’s official forums to discuss a community issue that’s been gaining a lot of traction recently. Namely, what if the designers were to allow Reaper to cancel his Wraith Form before it expires?
As things stand, this skill allows Reaper to whizz around the screen in an invincible state, preventing players from taking him out. It’s a handy escape mechanism for the most part, although a savvy enemy player can still time a shot to land on him when the ability expires, and he becomes vulnerable once again. It does leave Reaper committed to the move however, limiting his options for responsive play.
While describing a change to the ability as “not out of the question”, Goodman explained that certain powerful abilities actually require these drawbacks. Roadhook’s healing ability, Reinhardt’s Charge and Pharah’s Rocket Barrage were all cited as examples of abilities that have a big impact but need some kind of negative aspect to keep them viable.
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“For Reaper’s case specifically, his Wraith Form ability is very storng, but at least you know he can’t attack you while he himself is unable to be attacked,” Goodman began.
“Currently you can try to time a shot to land just as it ends, if you’re practiced enough. If he were able to cancel it freely there would probably have to be a decent delay before he were able to fire again, to give his enemies enough warning. Otherwise on your screen he’d shoot you before you even saw the effect end (at least until someone invents 0 latency internet).”
“Again, it isn’t completely off the table for him, but I’m tryingto give you guys an ideas as to why it is the way it is to begin with, and that removing these ‘costs’ that abilities have isn’t always good for the game as a whole.”
For those of us who feel that Reaper is a little underpowered right now – relative to the rest of the Overwatch roster – it’s interesting to know that this sort of change is at least under consideration.