Echo, Overwatch’s Hero 32, was fully revealed Thursday following her formal confirmation by Blizzard on Wednesday. The newest addition to the team-based shooter first appeared in a 2018 short, but it wasn't until now that we learned anything about her role, abilites, and full backstory.
Kaplan broke down the new character on Thursday in a developer update, and he also appeared on Timothy “TimTheTatman” John Betar's Twitch stream to talk through Hero 32’s gameplay and how the dev team approached her character design.
“Echo is a character that breaks the design of the game,” he told TimTheTatman when referring to her Ultimate move, which transforms Echo into an enemy Hero for a short period of time.
Fans assumed that Echo would end up being an aerial Support hero along the lines of Mercy, but she turned out to be a pesky, burst-damage dealer that flies around pestering her enemies like a robotic mosquito.
Here’s everything you need to know about Hero 32 in Overwatch: Echo.
When is Echo's release date in Overwatch?
Echo is currently only playable on the Public Test Realm (PTR) servers for the PC-version of Overwatch. The live servers of the game were recently updated to include an “Experimental Card” where developers are planning on giving players the ability to test their wildest balancing ideas and game modes, but it won’t include Echo.
“Echo is a brand-new asset that didn’t exist in the game yet so we couldn’t put her in the Experimental Card,” explained Kaplan on stream.
Anyone who owns the PC-version of Overwatch can hop into the PTR straight from their Battle.net client. Console gamers will need to wait until Echo gets patched into the live servers to get a chance to test her out. Blizzard has not announced when she’ll be released onto the Overwatch live servers, but historically, new character are tested in the PTR for only a few weeks before they undergo some balancing tweaks and are unleashed upon the full game on consoles. Expect that to happen for Echo in early- or mid-April.
Echo’s role and abilities
Echo is a Damage hero with excellent air mobility that rivals Pharah. She has extreme burst-damage potential and seemingly has one of the strongest ultimates in the game. Keep in mind that Blizzard is currently testing Echo in the PTR so some of these abilities might change as they balance her. Here’s a rundown of all of her entire moveset:
- Tri-Shot (Primary Fire) shoots three projectiles at once in a triangle pattern from Echo’s fingertips. Players will need to lead their shots, like Pharah’s rockets or Mei’s icicle, to land this ability.
- Sticky Bombs (Secondary Fire) fires a volley of sticky bombs that detonate a moment after impact. As the name implies, these will attach to enemy heroes and deal massive damage. The ability is also a projectile and has a 6-second cooldown.
- Flight gives Echo the ability to freely fly around for 3 seconds, just like Mercy’s Valkyrie ultimate. It has a 6-second cooldown.
- Glide (Passive) is similar to Mercy's glide but Echo falls faster and has far more horizontal mobility, making her more slippery in the air.
- Focus Beam is a stream of energy that Echo channels for 3 seconds that damages (50 per second) anyone it touches. It does boosted damage (200 per second) to enemies or barriers that are under 50% health, making it a powerful finishing move.
- Duplicate (Ultimate) transforms Echo into a targeted enemy hero for 15 seconds, and she gains the use of all of their abilities, including their Ultimate. During this ability, Echo has an increased ultimate charge rate. This means she can use an enemy Hero’s Ultimate against their team multiple times.
Is Echo overpowered?
On paper, Echo does seem extremely powerful but dealing consistent damage will require some experience with projectile heroes, like Pharah, or you’re going to be whiffing a lot of your shots. Plus, she only has 200 HP like many other DPS heros so she can easily be taken out by an enemy Widowmaker or Solider: 76 if she isn’t careful where she’s flying.
While her ult does seem scary, gaining an enemies ult isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sure if you’re able to swing on the entire enemy team as a Duplicated Reinhardt, you’ll get Earthshatter instantly. But if you get pushed away by a Lucio you’re basically a sitting duck.
Taking over an enemy hero requires the Echo player to be at least a little proficient with their abilities to quickly amass ult charge. So if you don’t have the best shot, maybe opt to Duplicate the enemy Rein instead of the McCree.
What is Echo’s backstory?
Echo is a highly advanced robot created by Singaporean scientist Dr. Mina Liao who was one of the founding members of Overwatch. Before then, she worked as an artificial intelligence and robotics researcher at the Omnica Corporation, which would ultimately create the Omnic robots that would wage war against humanity during the Omnic Crisis.
While the Omnic Crisis made many distrust A.I. in general, Dr. Liao believed that the technology could be used to better humanity, which she tried to demonstrate by creating Echo. Dr. Liao designed Echo to have multiple layers of failsafes and protections to allow her to become a loyal member of the Overwatch team.
Dr. Liao was killed in an attack by an unknown force, and Echo now carries on everything she stood for.
Echo is now available on Overwatch’s PTR and has no confirmed wide release date.