It’s hard to believe that Overwatch has been with the gaming community for nearly two months, fueling hundreds of memes and kickass community creations. Since the launch, we’ve been introduced to the game’s competitive mode and exposed to consistent hero balancing, which is approaching an optimal state that every player has been craving since the rollout. Sure, there’s still a few issues with specific heroes – namely Trobjörn’s turret – but it looks like Blizzard is just about ready to release its first new hero, Ana.
One of the founding members of Overwatch, Ana Amari is a combat veteran and the mother of Fareeha Amari (Pharah) from the base game. During the Omnic Crisis Ana fought alongside other elite snipers from Egypt to support her countries diminished security forces. Considered one of the best snipers in the world, Ana was invited to join the Overwatch strike team who brought an end to the war. While on duty during a rescue mission she was killed by Widowmaker but despite popular belief, survived despite being wounded and losing her right eye. Eventually she recovered, and is now fighting to keep her closest friends and allies safe. On the battlefield Ana is an extremely useful asset to the team, providing a series of buffs to her team while keeping the enemy suppressed simultaneously.
Ana is equipped with a Biotic Rifle, which shoots high-powered darts that can deal damage to enemy combatants and heal members of her own team. Unlike Windowmaker however, Ana’s rifle deals damage over time – meaning that you cannot play as aggressively as you would with Windowmaker. Instead, you’ll find yourself staying at a distance while popping shots off at everyone on the battlefield in front of you. It’s certainly a different way of playing a sniper-based character, but that’s why it fits in perfectly with everything else in Overwatch.
Ana’s abilities also revolve around this mechanic, allowing you to simultaneously buff your teammates while inflicting damage to enemy team members in the same area. Her first ability, Biotic Grenade, functions like her rifle. The Biotic Grenade may be thrown every 10 or so seconds to deal damage and heal allies within a small area of effect, but it also gives allies a short healing boost from other sources while preventing enemies from healing within the blast radius. When combined with her Biotic Rifle, this can be used to devastating effect – keeping team members alive with a single shot from her rifle or picking enemies off in the same way. The second ability is Sleep Dart, which allows her to fire her sidearm at an enemy to put them to sleep for a few seconds. This is extremely useful for shutting down pushes and enemy ultimate abilities, as it cancels out both and allows you to flee to a safe distance. Personally, I used it to shut down Reinhardt charges and Roadhog ultimate abilities during my time in the PTR.
Her ultimate ability is another welcome addition to the roster of character abilities as well, countering one of the biggest issues in the game right now. Nano Boost allows Ana to hit one of her allies from a distance, increasing their movement speed, damage and damage resistance for a brief period of time. This boost can be utilized to push through enemy teams who have a point locked down by applying it to heavy damage characters such as Reaper during their ultimate abilities, or to boost a tank character in order to harass their way onto the point like D.Va.
As an entire package, Ana is a welcome addition to the current roster of characters available in Overwatch. She’s a perfect balance of offensive and defensive with a great set of abilities designed to combat some of the current powerhouse heroes many people play in the game like Roadhog, Reaper and Reinhardt. While she may not be the perfect choice for every match you play in Overwatch due to her focus on long range and damage over time, she’s certainly going to become a necessary pick for many teams on the larger maps.
Currently Ana doesn’t have a release date, but you can play her on the PTR for PC.