So right now, Overwatch has two heroes classified as “builders” which are Torbjorn and Symmetra.
Now, why these two are builders should be pretty obvious: both of them are centered around constructing objects on the maps. Torbjorn drops his automated turret while Symmetra can place her array of small point defense turrets as well as her teleporter pad.
Of course, there are other characters who’ve got some deployables that need to be considered:
- Junkrat places his steel traps, concussion mines, and his ultimate Rip-Tire fits the bill as well.
- Mei’s Ice Wall and the drone she throws for her Blizzard ultimate arguably count.
- Soldier: 76’s biotic field emitter is a short-term deployable.
- Widowmaker’s Venom Mine definitely counts.
- Winston’s Barrier Projector definitely counts.
So, it might help to define the rules that narrow down abilities that might help to qualify a builder hero.
- All of Junkrat’s deployables have a critical difference in that they are temporary. The steel trap doesn’t reset, and everything else he does literally explodes. So it’s easy to disqualify Junkrat as a builder (esp. given how his whole kit is oriented around wanton destruction).
- With the exception of the Venom Mine, all of the other deployables are also temporary in nature, but centered on their duration rather than on being explosives.
- The Venom Mine is also temporary in the same manner as Junkrat’s steel trap: it’s permanent until it does its job.
Contrast this with our two builder heroes:
- Torbjorn’s turret does its job (shooting at stuff in line-of-sight) until it is either actively destroyed from taking damage or destroyed by Torb deciding to deploy another turret elsewhere.
- Symmetra’s turrets do their job (spraying close-range targets with laser goodness) until they’re destroyed. Her teleporter pad does it’s job until it runs out of charges or it’s blown up.
In both cases, the stuff that builders drop are more permanent than even the semi-permanent deployables that Junkrat and Widowmaker use because they repeatedly perform their function instead of only functioning ONCE.
Hence, we can establish a rule that builder heroes deploy materiel that repeatedly performs a function until destroyed (or until an arbitrary number of charges greater than one are depleted).
One could also argue that because Torb/Symm both drop devices that then stay fixed in the world, that means that all builders should have that as a rule. I’m not certain that’s as critical, especially since it constrains the design space a bit.
With that in mind, let’s brainstorm:
- Feedback Drones: A friendly player gains a drone that hovers alongside them. The drone will fire at enemies who hit the player, but has a limited number of shots before the drone is depleted. The drone itself is indestructible.
- Aid Station: An automated Caduceus device that targets the nearest hero within a short range and delivers a consistent healing stream. Destructible, maybe 50-100HP.
- Gel Slick: A slick of friction-negating fluid. Enemy heroes that step into the slick maintain their momentum but can’t change direction. Great for tricking people off cliffs or platforms.
- Spy Drone: Provides vision and notification when an enemy passes within range.
Of course, all of this is moot since that recent patch that deleted the “builder” tag from the team build tips, but hey, it’d be nice to see more heroes dropping deployables.