Overwatch: Overwatch heroes have always been fascinating as they all have their own special characteristics and abilities. That is why it exciting to meet new ones. The latest addition to the Overwatch universe is Ashe, a thief that will definitely shake things up around here. The new hero was released on the 2nd of November at the BlizzCon which took place in Anaheim. Let’s learn more about the criminal that got the Internet buzzing.
The Blizzcon convention released two interesting shorts, and one of them introduced Ashe to us. The first short presented McCree, and he was shown facing a gang of outlaws that managed to derail a train in order to steal its contents. The animated short also allows us to meet their leader, who is no one other than Ashe.
We also learn a bit about McCree and Ashe, who appear to have some history together. The first short shows the fight between McCree and the outlaws, and it ends with Ashe’s defeat. The second short finally allows us to see Ashe in action and we learn exactly how tough she is in a fight. Right from the first seconds, we learn that she is a thief that has the honour and she won’t allow anyone to cross her.
Who is Ashe?
If we take a look at the official Overwatch website we can see that there is a description for Ashe’s abilities: “Ashe quickly fires her rifle from the hip or uses her weapon’s aim-down sights to line up a high damage shot. She blasts enemies by throwing dynamite, and her coach gun packs enough punch to put some distance between her and her foes. And Ashe is not alone, as she can call on her omnic ally B.O.B., to join the fray when the need arises.”
Ashe can handle herself in a fight and he uses multiple weapons. The viper is her rifle and it appears to be the gun she uses on a regular basis. The animated short shows us exactly how it works and the Overwatch website offers us even more details: “Ashe’s semi-automatic rifle fires quick shots, or she can use her aim-down sights for a more damaging, precise shot.” The Viper needs to be reloaded one bullet at a time quickly. It is also possible to cancel the reload.
For a stronger shot, Ashe uses the coach gun, that also knocks the enemies away, “propelling herself backwards for added mobility.” Dynamite is another of Ashe’s choices and it can be detonated immediately if it is shot. Dynamite is used to inflicting damage over time, and the enemies are light on fire. Dynamite needs 10 seconds for cooldown.
Finally, Ashe’s major advantage remains B.O.B, a robot of considerable sizes. Every time he is summoned by Ashe, the charges in front of her and knocks enemies into the air, “then lays down suppressing fire with his arm cannons.”
If we take a look at the wiki page for Ashe, we can also learn that it possible to buff, debuff and heal B.O.B. He also comes with 1200 health points and he can capture objectives. B.O.B. will also leave at some point.
Ashe comes with an interesting origin story as well. In the beginning, Ashe lived with her wealthy parents, who were business consultants for major CEOs. However, she never received enough attention and affection from her parents. We also learn that B.O.B. was initially the butler of the family and the one who cared for Ashe.
Her life changes when she meets our favourite gunslinger, Jesse McCree. Together they begin to commit crimes and she finds her true calling. Ultimately she becomes the leader of the Deadlock Gang and creates a name for herself in the criminal world. She also gets rid of the rivalry with other gangs by bringing them all together. She also creates a set of rules for them and imposes mutual respect.
The Reunion short also showed us that Ashe keeps a picture of her and McCree on her bike. We also learned that they were separated during the Blackwatch operation when McCree was arrested. In the video, Ashe reproaches him for not writing letters, despite the fact that he promised to do it.
How did Ashe become a hero?
The developers did not intend to make Ashe a playable character at first. She was originally supposed to be just a character for the Reunion short. The same thing was supposed to happen with the Deadlock Gang. The artists wanted a female member for the Deadlock Gang. They also created her look and they decided that she must have a hat with wide brims and white hair. They also came up with the omnic gang member.
As they were developing the concept and creating the storyboards for the short they realized that this character had a lot more potential than they had originally anticipated. Jason Hill, the project director, Mio del Rosario, the storyboard artist, as well as the other artists, decided to continue to develop this character.
Her final design was realized after Jungah Lee came up with a variety of models for her. They decided that it is important to combine the western themes with the biker ones, without creating a design that resembles too much one of the other characters. The timing was perfect because the game design team was looking to create a new weapon-focused Damage hero. Overwatch already has Damage heros such as Doomfist and Sombra, but they are ability-focused.
The early storyboard art led to numerous proposals. The team took its time until it managed to shape Ashe’s character. It took a while until they realised that Ashe’s special weapon will be the rifle and they made it a highly personalized weapon.
It was a lot more difficult to add B.O.B. to the game. However, all designers agreed that he must be implemented as well. He is not just a “weapon” for Ashe, but he can be considered a teammate. It also helps that he can be healed, buffed and debuffed. The developers even attempted to make him a full teammate, but that was too difficult to implement, and they had to give up on that idea.
The Blizzard convention
It shouldn’t surprise us that the Blizzard event was used to make the announcement since this convention has been used to for numerous Overwatch reveals in the past years. For example, last year we received the news that Moira, a new hero, was going to join the game. We were also announced that a new map was about to be released. Two years ago we received the plans for the Overwatch League, the circuit that was finally released this year. Back in 2014, the BlizzCon was used to announce the Overwatch game.
Ashe is not the first hero that we received this year, and she comes right after we received Wrecking Ball and Brigitte. Even more, new things should appear in the feature, and players are already preparing for Season 2 of the Overwatch League which will appear in February. We should also expect eight more teams, as well as other changes.
The Overwatch League is not simple and it can be very demanding for all players. Nate Nanzer, the commissioner of the league admitted that players need to be more relaxed. He discussed with them and came to the conclusion that the stress was too much. “The feedback we got universally was that the players felt like they needed more breaks. They needed more opportunities throughout the season to take a couple of days off,” he declared.
That is the reason why the second season of the Overwatch League will change some things. There will be a lot more time for breaks and each team will play a total of 28 regular season games. Additionally, there will be weeks when the teams won’t have to compete at all, as well as weeks when they will play just a match.
“There’s going to be more breaks both from practicing and playing. Mental health and wellness is something that we take super seriously at the league,” added Nanzer in an interview. The general manager of OWL Los Angeles Valiant, Mike Schwartz explained that it became obvious that the players were exhausted at the end of a season. The stress was too high, and it affected the players mentally and physically.
At the moment, The Overwatch League takes place in Burbank, in the Blizzard’s e-sports arena. However, in the future, players might be able to compete from their own cities. Nonetheless, it will be very complicated to create a schedule for the games, since this event is an international one and this means that players have different time zones. In the beginning, there were just twelve teams, but season two will bring eight more: three in China, and Paris, Washington, Toronto, Vancouver, Atlanta. The league plans to expand and have 28 teams, but we do not know yet when this will happen.