Should Bastion be nerfed in Blizzard’s Overwatch? Perhaps, but before we tackle this we got to ask ourselves if there is a problem. I’d say yes.
I’ve seen teams on defense get crushed and pushed back on payload missions just to get to the very end of the map and then the losing team “turtles up” and gets several players using Bastion. Bastion is a fine character but with their backs to the wall and near spawn points, Bastion is much more overpowered than normal. It’s not uncommon to see not only one or two players go as Bastion but I’ve seen 3 or 4 players do this, taking turtling to a whole new level.
Teams Stacked With Bastions
During most parts of the map teams full of Bastions can be dealt with easily enough, usually by flanking or with characters that can infiltrate such as Reaper with his teleport ability. But the problem is that at the end of the map the terrain favors defense, this makes sense as it makes games exciting to have that final push be all that much harder. But having teams full of Bastions is way more difficult than it should be.
Backs to the Wall
What makes this so hard is you can’t get behind the team that is stacked with Bastions at the end of a payload, their backs are literal against the wall. The map doesn’t go on, there is no path behind them. Also there are limited alternate routes to approach the target. There may be only one or two routes to the objective and they can easily have two Bastion characters watching both of these paths. With the amount of fire power Bastion brings to bear, two players can do most of the defense for a team, freeing up other players to go on the offensive.
The Expected Method
The usual method of countering them, aside from getting behind them, would be sniping them with Widowmaker or Hanzo, or even a ranged attack from Pharah. The problem is that many of the end points of final maps don’t have lines of site for these sorts of tactics. The only way to get lined up with a turtling team of Bastions it to put yourself way too close to them. If you can see a Bastion in sentry mode, then he can see you and it’s a lot easier for him to spray bullets your way than you’d like.
Spray and Pray
The problem is worsened by having no damage fall off with distance such as with Team Fortress 2. Bastion can fire down a long corridor spraying bullets at a suspected sniper spot and all it takes is one or two lucky bullets to kill a squishy sniper. All a Bastion needs to do is “spray and pray” with his 200 round magazine. But it takes a lot more skill for a sniper to get a one shot kill. Skill should be rewarded not blind firing.
Skill vs Luck
The same with another skill based character Genji. Sure, Genji could reflect the fire back at the Bastion but that takes some good timing. All Bastion has to do is see Genji and stop firing for a couple of seconds, wait for the cool down timer for Genji’s reflect to start again and then Bastion resumes fire. It takes a real dumb Bastion to fall for it and it takes a skilled Genji to pull it off. Not to mention if the team has Bastion placements with fields of fire protecting each other this is an all but impossible tactic, not to mention if the Bastion has only the slightest bit of help.
Bastion With Few Limitations
Compounding all of this is the short setup time with no limitations of resources. In Team Fortress 2 an equivalent sentry takes some time to build up, not to mention ammo. But Bastion can plant himself down very quickly and be ready to fire immediately after spawn. This is especially difficult at the end of the map where the defense doesn’t have to travel far to defend the point. Just spawn and plop down Bastion and you have the point covered, way too easy to defend.
It’s true there are more advanced ways of handling a Bastion stacked team. I imagine as players get more experienced at team work then cooperation will happen naturally, but it’s not a good equation when you have something like Mercy and Pharah teaming up to take down one Bastion, a 2:1 ratio favoring defense. This is even worse with six-player teams where this unfavorable ratio gets more one-sided. Imagine a team that is half Bastions. Besides the high damage output of Bastion easily out paces both Mercy and Lucio’s ability to heal. Bastion just deals out way too much raw firepower. Defense is way too easy with Bastion.
No Adversary for Bastion
You never see this kinda problem in Team Fortress 2, as a class heavy team will have problems. For one thing, team size in Team Fortress 2 makes team staking harder, at about 20 players. Overwatch only has but 6 players per team. but more importantly both Heavys and Engineers and their sentry’s aren’t perfect; they have major weaknesses. In some ways Bastion is similar to both of these TF2 classes. So why not consider some of the drawbacks of both the Heavy and the Engineers’ sentry? The Heavy doesn’t really do all that great of damage at greater ranges and has limited ammo. His damage drop over range is considerable. So you have to get close to be effective, similar to D. Va in Overwatch. As for the Engineers’ sentry, it has a limited targeting range but more importantly there is always an angle to attack a sentry. There is no such thing as a perfect spot for a sentry because of how the maps are designed, that and natural counters to the Engineers’ sentry are Spies and Demomen. These adversarial classes are usually something the Engineer always has to worry about. Bastion on the other hand doesn’t really have a dedicated class that opposes him. Genji isn’t nearly as threatening as a Spy or Demoman.
The equivalent class in Overwatch of the Demoman would be Junkrat and he does specialize in indirect fire like the Demoman, but because of current map layouts, it’s hard for him to get the job done all by himself. Where the map limits his options as far as angles to bounce explosive, the enemy team can way too easily harass him. There is no good angle for him to attack the point on most maps. I don’t know how many times I’d take out one or two Bastions just to have them re-spawn and turtle up before we even have a chance to move in and capitalize on the kills.
Bringing Down the Nerf Hammer
It’s never a good idea to bring down the “Nerf Hammer” too soon, especially with everyone is still getting used to the game, but I’m getting tired of easily pushing back an entire team and having half of the team suddenly go all Bastion when the going gets tough. Just as when the offense is about to win they turn it around because they have their backs to the wall with limited approaches angles to be attacked. A simple thing may be to increase Bastion’s reload times or his clip size, or limiting the damage over range to Bastion would eliminate the “spray and pray” tactic that people use. This has been done before with McCree, adjusting his damage over range so he doesn’t just spam out the shots at clusters of people from across the map. I believe the best way of correcting this is altering the maps to give more approaches to final points. Sure, the defense should have the advantage at the end of a map but Bastion heavy teams are nailing down limited paths way too easily. Another option, though very blunt, is to limit how many people can go Bastion. Maybe even having one Bastion per team but this may be a little to harsh but seeing teams go 3 or 4 Bastions at the end and having losing teams become unbeatable makes the game significantly less enjoyable.
What are your thoughts on the Bastion Overwatch character? Should he be nerfed? Sound off below!