Overwatch is here, and the internet is in love. The characters, the world, the lore, the porn (oops), the characters, and of course, the brilliant character design, all great–the game ain’t half bad either. But what Blizzard’s really done is create an all-star cast, and it’s an all-star cast that shouldn’t be constrained by a team shooter. It should also appear in a team-based hero brawler: that is, we need more Overwatch characters in Heroes of the Storm, like, immediately.
It can work, too: mascot Tracer was added just before launch and, immediate necessary nerf aside, has been a great addition to HOTS. But there are 20 more characters to go. Who should be the next Overwatch star to make the jump into the Nexus?
Get ‘em in right away
Pros: The biggest problem importing Overwatch characters into Heroes is that they need five or six distinct capabilities: three conventional skills, a unique character-based trait (usually passive), and an ultimate heroic ability (preferably two). Tracer, for example, has her Blink and Recall as skills, and the ability to fire while moving as her personal trait. It gets a little iffy after that: her melee attack is another skill, and her sticky bomb is her only heroic, unlike every other previous HOTS character.
So in order to succeed easily, a good HOTS character should have a) several distinct skills and b) a really distinct personal trait. Enter Reinhardt, the force shield-wielding knight. He’s got a wide variety of skills in Overwatch already, with his various sweeps and stuns. He fits the “Warrior” role in HOTS perfectly. And most importantly, his shield skill, which defines Reinhardt’s play in Overwatch, would be a fantastic new mechanic in Heroes of the Storm, forcing entire new types of team fights.
Cons: There are no cons with adding Reinhardt. That’s why he’s #1!
Alternate Skin: Tauren Reinhardt. The lack of Tauren in HOTS is a major issue. Let’s fix it.
Pros: For a while, Heroes of the Storm had a pretty major diversity problem that could be summed up simply by saying “there’s no women of color.” That’s been improved with the additions of Lt. Morales and Li-Ming in the past half-year, but still: HOTS could use more representation, and Overwatch characters like Symmetra could add a lot.
Symmetra also offers diversity of playstyle: she could be HOTS’ first support/specialist hybrid. Her turrets, cheaper and weaker than Gazlowe’s, would be an interesting change of pace, while her shield-buffing abilities could aid the whole team. Add in her gun variety, and Symmetra could be a Heroes jack-of-all-trades.
Cons: Symmetra’s teleport ultimate would be overpowered on a MOBA map. She would definitely need some rethinking at that level.
Alternate Skin: Much like Sgt. Hammer got an Orc technology Doomhammer tank, Symmetra could be turned into a badass orc lady with nifty fantasy tech. They’d have to be careful not to exotify Symmetry for the reasons I mentioned in the article linked in the Pros section, but that’s an achievable goal.
Pros: Another great character aesthetic. Blizzard has also tried to avoid having simple heal-bots in HOTS, and Zenyattas set-and-release heal would be great for this. The discord orb would also operate similarly but not identically to Tyrande’s Mark, which is a favorite support move.
Cons: Zenyatta’s “heal everyone around” ultimate already exists in Heroes. Twice, kind of, with Malfurion and Li Li. Z’s invincibility while doing it is slightly, but not distinctly, different.
Alternate Skin: One of HOTS’ skin themes is a circus. Let’s give Zenyatta clown makeup.
Just tweak ‘em a bit and they’re good to go
Pros: The internet’s perfect girlfriend would, like Symmetra, be an entirely new kind of HOTS hero: a support/warrior. With the ability to take damage and shield her teammates, plus being a missile warrior–only Rexxar in HOTS can fill that role currently–Zarya would add new dimensions to Heroes of the Storm warrior possibilities. Also, she has awesome hair.
Cons: Zarya’s gravity bomb ultimate ability, which is already pretty uninspiring in Overwatch could be better in Heroes, if it wasn’t, uh, exactly the same as Gazlowe’s best ult. Oops.
Alternate skin: Gnome Zarya. Exactly the same look with pink hair and muscles, but half the size, helium voice. WHO SAYS NO?
Pros: The “Wraith Form” move would instantly make Reaper into one of the scariest hit-and-run characters in Heroes of the Storm. His kit beyond that is solid enough that he’d only need a bit of finessing to make work in a MOBA.
Cons: Death Blossom, Reaper’s ultimate ability where he does a lot of damage around him with shouting “DIE DIE DIE!”, would be as ridiculous in HOTS as it already is in Overwatch.
Pros: Everything about Junkrat’s kit — hanging back, setting traps, launching bombs — seems like it would translate perfectly into a MOBA universe.
Cons: Figuring out how to make his basic attack of explosive balls not be game-changingly powerful seems like a pretty big conceptual problem.
Alternate skin: Junkrat pretty much already is one of Warcraft’s Goblins.
Pros: D.Va has a great, varied kit with speed bursts, shields, and the ability to hop in and out of her mech. Not to mention that game-changing self-destruct ult.
Cons: I know I’m possibly the only one, but D.Va’s gamerspeak bugs the crap out of me. You can probably bump her up a few spaces if you like her, but this is my list, so there.
Alternate skin: Blood Elf D.Va: blonde, sneering, running a mech on blood magic.
With a little creativity….
Pros: As a character who doesn’t do huge damage but makes every enemy easier for her teammates to kill, Mei would instantly add a new dynamic to teamfights, especially against melee assassins and bruisers like Illidan or Sonya.
Cons: Mei’s signature move — the ice wall — is already very close to Tassadar’s most-used heroic. Hers is shatterable, which is different, but it still adds up to Mei potentially feeling like a combination of already-existing characters than her own thing.
Alternate skin: Put Mei in a Starcraft space marine suit!
Pros: Winston is a solid tank in Overwatch. There is literally no reason to believe he wouldn’t be a solid tank in Heroes of the Storm.
Cons: There’s nothing to really get too excited about here. He’d definitely work, but I can’t see what would make him actually exciting and different.
Alternate skin: Winston’s dorky earnestness would make him a perfect Protoss.
Pros: Hanzo’s skillshot basic arrow attack would be something fairly different in Heroes of the Storm–a sort of combination of Nova’s snipe ability with Gazlow’s charging lightning blast. That’s a very strong core to build a hero around.
Cons: You’d have to get that core exactly right, because, dragon ult aside, Hanzo doesn’t have much else than his arrows.
Alternate skin: Amazon Hanzo. Hanazon. Amazo.
Pros: There’s nobody quite like Lucio in HOTS with his speed bursts and healing gun. And his character design is unique enough in Overwatch, let alone the wider Blizzardverse.
Cons: It’s hard to see exactly how the heal/speed gun would translate to a MOBA, as it’s about firing toward people, where MOBA basic attacks automatically hit their targets. Lucio’s shots could be treated as special moves, but then what would his basic attack bme? This is something fixable with clever design, but it seems like it would be tough to get right.
Alternate skin: Blizzard might be tempted to make Lucio one of its pseudo-person of color fantasy races, like the Trolls or Protoss. Blizzard should definitely not do that. A simple choice: full roller derby to pair with Nova.
Pros: Great character design, and the ability to switch between healing, buffing damage, and shooting would make her a versatile support from the start.
Cons: Mercy’s core play mode — creating a single healing stream on a single character — already exists in HOTS thanks to Lt. Morales, the Starcraft medic. Her ultimate would also need to be seriously rebalanced, as resurrection along would be game-changingly powerful. A team rez would be unstoppable.
Alternate skin: With those wings, she could easily be given the Diablo angel makeover.
No aiming, no fun
Pros: The versatile Soldier: 76 can do it all in Overwatch. He could be versatile in another game, healing, shooting, uh, sprinting. That’s solid.
Cons: You may have noticed that there aren’t a lot of the pure damage-dealers at the top of my list. That’s because the thing that makes them fun in Overwatch — direct aiming — doesn’t exist in HOTS. And without that, what else works?
Alternate skin: Sonya has a faux-X-Men skin in Heroes of the Storm. Let’s give Soldier: 76 the pseudo-Cyclops skin he deserves. .
Pros: Pharah is one of most aesthetically solid Overwatch characters, and her rocket-based skills create a diverse playstyle.
Cons: Pharah can fly in Overwatch. That’s the coolest thing about her. There is no flying on the flat maps of Heroes of the Storm. This is a Pharah-breaking problem.
Alternate skin: Barbarian Pharah a la Diablo 3.
Pros: HOTS could definitely use another fast melee assassin to go along with Illidan and Zeratul.
Cons: Genji’s signature move, deflecting bullets, makes way more sense in a game where every other character shoots guns like Overwatch than a game where only a few characters actually shoot. If Blizzard can figure out a way around that, Genji could work really well. But that’s a tough problem.
Alternate skin: Give Genji the full Warcraft makeover, absurd shoulders and all.
Pros: Clearly Heroes of the Storm needs a cowboy. McCree’s roll and flashbang also give him a decently varied kit.
Cons: As with Soldier: 76, the fun of McCree is the aiming. Without that, it’s hard to see anything that would make him stand out.
Alternate skin: Demon Hunter McCree.
This Just Won’t Work
Pros: There is a turret character (Gazlowe) in Heroes already, there isn’t one with a single-turret focus.
Cons: It’s really difficult to see what else Torjborn would actually do other than building the turret. He’s got an okay gun in Overwatch to give some aiming pleasure, but other than that, he’d basically be Boring Gazlowe.
Alternate skin: Lost Vikings Torbjorn.
Pros: Love those little bird whistles.
Cons: Heroes already has a character who sets up and does massive damage if she’s allowed to just blast: Sgt. Hammer, the siege tank from Starcraft. While the aesthetic of a turret are very different from a tank, it’s difficult to see how Bastion would be functionally different. So therefore…
Alternate skin: …make Bastion a legendary skin for Sgt. Hammer.
Pros: Roadhog’s signature move–grabbing and pulling with a chain–and ability to self-heal make him really stand out in Overwatch.
Cons: Problem is, those are already Stitches’ moves in Heroes of the Storm. Like, exactly that. They have the same body type and everything.
Alternate skin: Roadhog already essentially is an alternate skin for Stitches to the point where that’s the only real option to get him in the game.
Pros: Uhhh…maybe Heroes needs another sniper?
Cons: Nope, Heroes does not need another sniper. Nova has that role thoroughly filled, and I dunno what Widowmaker would add beyond not having stealth.
Alternate skin: Widowmaker already is an alternate skin for Nova. And it’s hard to see her ever becoming more than that.