Blizzard Entertainment began Overwatch public test server play on Thursday for the long-awaited Doomfist, an offense hero and major villain in the franchise's lore. An internet storm erupted; former and current pro Overwatch players hopped onto their PCs to give him a try.
First impressions, to say the least, are largely positive.
Brandon "Seagull" Larned, who left pro play to focus on streaming, went public on Twitch after Doomfist's launch and started fawning over him minutes later.
"His mobility is insane ... and his cooldown seems pretty low for how insane his abilities are," Seagull said on his stream between a slew of curse words and excited exclamations. "This is what I've been waiting for."
Doomfist is a new DPS addition with melee abilities on top of a short-range shotgun that automatically reloads one bullet every few seconds. His abilities are tailored around mobility, including a Rising Uppercut, a knock-up that he can also use for vertical mobility, Seismic Slam, which leaps Doomfist forward for an area-of-effect attack, and Rocket Punch, a charge-up dashing attack that does 150 base damage and an additional 100 damage if the enemy hits a wall. His passive ability is a shield that activates when Doomfist hits an enemy with an ability. And his ultimate, Meteor Strike, is an AoE attack that does 300 damage to enemies at the point of impact.
That 250-damage combo from a Rocket Punch would knock out every enemy outside of tanks and Bastion, who'd be left with 50 HP.
Laser Kittenz coach Chris "spazzo" Infante had a more tempered reaction than Seagull, but also saw the utility in Doomfist's abilities.
"First impressions are he seems versatile, exciting to play and watch," spazzo said. "At first glance he seems like he's a squishy destroyer, but I also think he'll fare relatively well vs. tanks in certain situations."
One pick he could consistently counter, Seagull and Laser Kittenz support Ryan "CrusaDe" van Wegen said, is Reinhardt. The shield-bearing tank is a big part of the competitive metagame right now, but that shield can't block melee attacks -- or Doomfist's, well, fists.
And like Seagull, CrusaDe noted the mobility of this character right away.
"On maps with a lot of high grounds (i.e. Hollywood), I think he can be very good because he is able to bully people away from the high ground or just dive from there with his [Seismic Slam] ability and initiate a fight that way," CrusaDe said. "His ultimate is also a very strong one. He can use it to engage, but I think it's very likely you might want to use it as an escape sometimes too.
"Imagine charging in with your right click, dealing a lot of damage, but you are in over your head and want to get out. If you use your ult, you are invulnerable, so can get out without dying really easily."
It's too early to tell where Doomfist fits in the meta. Characters such as Orisa came out of the PTS with nerfs and other alterations based on their performance, and Doomfist will likely be no exception. Even after exiting the test realm, hot fixes and patches, similar to what Blizzard did following the Bastion buff in Patch 1.8.0 in late February, can readjust his viability once again.
Right now though, Seagull said he looks like a solid substitute for Genji on dive composition teams that focus on rushing opponents. CrusaDe agreed but added that Doomfist has a "high skill ceiling," similar to Sombra when she was released, and his hitbox is bigger than Tracer's and Genji's, which makes him more susceptible to Mei freezes and headshots. That's why CrusaDe thinks it will likely take some time before he's played by top teams in tournaments.
There might be a caveat to that, Seagull said on his Twitch stream.
"The concept is so cool, but he's just a little overpowered," he said, "and if a character like Doomfist feels super overpowered even though he's skill-based, I mean, me playing Doomfist in a month will be much better than me playing Doomfist on day one. How overpowered is he going to feel like when I've been playing him for a month?"
If Doomfist reaches the highest levels of Overwatch play, he solves a problem that's bothered viewers for some time, too. Even with some faster-paced characters and flankers that have flashy movement patterns, there isn't one true hero (or in this case, villain), that's fun to watch that can both navigate the map and engage. Doomfist has an exciting ability set that throws him into team fights and can zip across the map with his low cooldowns at a pace that isn't nauseating like Genji.
As sprazzo said, Overwatch "needs more eye candy heroes." Doomfist checks that box, for better and worse.
"I think his flaws outside the obvious of him being melee is he's somewhat of an 'all-in' hero as such, making him vulnerable," spazzo said. "I think map layouts will also dictate his power."