Sombra 1.5 hour experience feedback, discussion on role and

PTR Bug Report
Hi all. Thought I would take some time tonight to try out Sombra some more, and share my experience, views and hope to see some possible changes.

(Reposted to try to generate discussion, as last post was in the early morning hours on the weekend).

Lets get started with the buff she experienced in this version of the PTR. The 0.2s reduction in hack time is definitely a noticeable improvement. It 'feels' better. in NA, I found that often hacking a target before engaging in a 1v1 skirmish always felt like the wrong move as the opposing player would interrupt the ability before hand. The core idea of hacking a person in these situations is to gain an advantage as into the fight as a reward for sneaking up on them. However with 1s hack time, this often would fall short and end up just warning the opponent of the surprise and then give them an upper hand. With the reduction on the PTR, i feel like I am getting the 'deserved' jump on an opponent with the hack should i hold it, thus picking them off. It makes for a great defensive strat against flankers (think genji, mcree, tracer, reaper, so on), punishing them for being out alone and not keeping their guard up. I tried in the latter half of my session to focus on hacking opponents more so that health packs, and it felt good. I would wager a slightly reduced time further (another 0.1s tops) would just feel great, and still allow for quick response counter play against Sombra if you try to do it in a dangerous situation (looking right at them, or alternatively in a team fight situation where enemy allies can respond). The hack time reduction is definitely a needed change, however I can see how unfair it can feel if allowed to be too quick (kind of like how Symmetra's auto lock on feels bad at the moment).

This flows into my next topic of discussion: Sombra's feeling having high utility with low potency. Simply put, her kit is my favorite in the game thus far. This last hour was the first time since she first launched where i really tried to and enjoyed getting into situations where I wanted to hack opponents and not just health packs. However, i feel that these two situations play into the higher skill required for decision making, but also contradict and weaken her. So often i found myself not being able to decide between health pack upkeep for the team/myself versus saving the hack for the very soon to occur team fight. The cooldown time just feels punishing in this way. Having to wait 12s to reuse it in a different circumstance slows Sombra down, and I feel like this contradicts her entire point as a fast, stealthy and also not so strong character. It sucks to try to support your team with health packs/health pack denial and then get into a situation where you could prevent that one KEY ability/ULTI from occuring, but you hacked that small health pack a few seconds ago and now you have to watch as your whole team eats a Roadhog ULT to the face. Another situation that feels BAD is when you are attempting to deny an opponent health pack, and then you come face to face with an angry Genji, Mcree, etc. that you initially have the jump on. Now you either have to wait for your hack, attempt to engage and generally lose because these characters shred Sombra in many circumstances, or do nothing/run out of there. I can understand that the skill involved with Sombra comes from these forward in time decisions where you anticipate scenarios that could transpire, so maybe I am wrong to say this, but I feel some additional aid, such as a reduction in cooldown to 8-10s could be useful. Alternatively, maybe a rework such as a "Hack depth" could be implemented, where after the initial hack completion, the hack may be continued to be held up to some maximum limit, which scales to make the hack on the opponent/health pack be more potent/last for longer.

Finally, my last point of discussion to offer is on her Translocator. Every offensive hero has some form of mobility/sustain after all, and Sombra is no exception. I am pretty dang happy right now with the cool down on this sucker. It feels fair, although my gripes with it more so come down to the cooldown after non-use or the time it is maintained for when placed. I feel that if the translocator is not used, perhaps the cooldown could be lowered as a sort of refund? I don't feel this is the right call, as the cooldown should not feel like a reward for not using the ability that you may initially have intended to use and chose/forgot to use. Instead, i think a rework could come in the form of either a maximum range or extended up-time. These views are only held in with the notion that Sombra should be used as a away from team within a more dangerous situation role and thus could benefit from a more generous safety net to compliment that type of play.

To review, Sombra has my favorite kit in the game. However, I do not want that point to overshadow and devalue my views expressed here. I feel that Sombra could benefit from some additional experimental buffs/reworks in the PTR to help focus her anticipated role/play style. Right now, she feels to have very high utility but not enough of an immediate impact for an offensive character. She would greatly benefit in more focus put on her role in either a counter-flanker, deep assassin, or light team area control support role. I suggest that the PTR should include some more buffs in the very near future that are defined to be clearly experimental to give the player base more options, to see what feels best and the most fair. I would really love to experience a minimal reduced hack cool down, some differentiation in terms of hacking situations (what to hack and when), and increased livability in regards to her translocator up time.

Additional points that I'm not quite sure how to feel about, but I think are also worth considering:
1. SMG feels great, but maybe an increase in range would allow for more survivable engagements with close up characters
2. Hack feels good at 0.8s. Maybe don't change. The cooldown is what bothers me
3. Torb turrets/Sym turrets feel bad to lose to being the Hacker character. Could Sombra be allocated an anti-heavy defense role?
4. Building on 3, hacking a torb turret when alone is absolutely futile, and I feel like that shouldn't be the case for a stealthy, ruin your hard worked for security character. Only thing I could consider is an increased hack range on turrets when behind them?
5. Stealth is pretty low cooldown right now. Feels pretty good. More so gripes with the delay during decloak. Feels real bad to be caught in the middle of a team and being stunned by your own ability for a second.
I like the cut of your gib, young scallywag.

I'll have to give Sombra a go in the PTR and see for myself. I really want her to be a viable character because I love her design (and I already bought the Boop voice line).
i felt that .2 in hack really changes it, you can now get behind enemy rein hack and go back with team to help DPS them down, Gun damage is good just needs that spread lowered a tad bit down.
Thanks for the feedback fellas.

01/09/2017 05:58 PMPosted by Vikkz
i felt that .2 in hack really changes it, you can now get behind enemy rein hack and go back with team to help DPS them down, Gun damage is good just needs that spread lowered a tad bit down.


Ah, i didn't try this play! Especially since you could preemptively throw the translocator towards the safety of your teammates to get out super quick.
Nice points. I agree the big problems are the stealth/unstealth delay and the CD and we shouldn't really touch the gun because she might be treading into Tracer's role. What do you think of my proposed idea

1. Reduce stealth/destealth delay by .2 seconds. This also means she enters stealth a little faster

2. Can take up to 30 damage before hack gets interrupted. This means that no stray fire will be able to screw her, she should have enough time to hack turrets, and can still easily get interrupted when focused down. It's 30 so an easy punch can screw up her hacking.

3. Should be invulnerable when translocating. Either it's lag compensation or translocating should function like Tracer's recall - instantly. It's weird getting killed mid-teleport.
I agree with many of the points in the OP, but she feels clunky with her current toolkit and wanna add 2 more small buffs that will make her more fluid.

1. add a damage threshold on her Camo to 30-50 damage.
if she takes small damage, she will shimmer purple like she does when she is too close to someone but doesnt drop it, so she can go in or even escape with it and not having to hope to a stray bullet hit her.

2a. Translocator Cooldown Change: the time that is left on the timer will be the new CD if its less than 6 seconds.
that way if she teleports with it when its 2 second left on the timer, her CD will be 2 second so she can back into action much faster as 6 seconds IS alot.
and by that logic, if you decise to not use the translocator once its placed and the timer goes out it will not have any CD.

2b. Give us an ability or a way to cancle the current translocator with a new one instead for having to wait it out or use the old one to reset your position.

this way would make her feel much fluid, be ready for team pushes, be ready to open the doors easier and give the opponent less time to make react and build up their defences
Great post. I think a change to the way Translocator CD activates will definitely help her get back into the action sooner!
01/09/2017 08:04 PMPosted by Cheeseballs
Nice points. I agree the big problems are the stealth/unstealth delay and the CD and we shouldn't really touch the gun because she might be treading into Tracer's role. What do you think of my proposed idea

1. Reduce stealth/destealth delay by .2 seconds. This also means she enters stealth a little faster

2. Can take up to 30 damage before hack gets interrupted. This means that no stray fire will be able to screw her, she should have enough time to hack turrets, and can still easily get interrupted when focused down. It's 30 so an easy punch can screw up her hacking.

3. Should be invulnerable when translocating. Either it's lag compensation or translocating should function like Tracer's recall - instantly. It's weird getting killed mid-teleport.


^ THIS ^

Prehaps the best realistic balancing of Sombra I have heard yet. Even surpasses my pre-existing thoughts on the character.

Well done! Especially in reference to fluidity of invisibility phasing & translocation delays. Lack of fluidity while phasing out of invisibility is very jarring & has always felt out of place for the character. Akin to changing forms as Bastion vs shifting as Tracer/Genji.

...& I can't remember how many times I arrived at my translocation destination, only to immediately demise, from what appears to be translocatING attacks. Akin to the 'fair' feeling of Roadhog hooks around corners at launch.
I think there are a lot of good, reasonable suggestions here and each of them take Sombra in a slightly different direction. I definitely like the 30s damage threshold on hack so make its use more strategic than just during the opener - for example after you know tracer has used all 3 blinks and might recall, or while an opponent is reloading.
01/09/2017 11:50 PMPosted by pikamaxi
I agree with many of the points in the OP, but she feels clunky with her current toolkit and wanna add 2 more small buffs that will make her more fluid.

1. add a damage threshold on her Camo to 30-50 damage.
if she takes small damage, she will shimmer purple like she does when she is too close to someone but doesnt drop it, so she can go in or even escape with it and not having to hope to a stray bullet hit her.

2a. Translocator Cooldown Change: the time that is left on the timer will be the new CD if its less than 6 seconds.
that way if she teleports with it when its 2 second left on the timer, her CD will be 2 second so she can back into action much faster as 6 seconds IS alot.
and by that logic, if you decise to not use the translocator once its placed and the timer goes out it will not have any CD.

2b. Give us an ability or a way to cancle the current translocator with a new one instead for having to wait it out or use the old one to reset your position.

this way would make her feel much fluid, be ready for team pushes, be ready to open the doors easier and give the opponent less time to make react and build up their defences


I really like the idea of being able to cancel the translocator placement. It feels like I get punished often for when i don't want to use the translocator, in which case I have to wait for the Translocator uptime limit remaining AND the following cooldown before I can throw it again. Feels bad.

I'm not sure I like the increased damage on hack to opponents, I would be worried it would be used like Zenyatta where it focuses down a key target by the whole team. On one hand it would be positive for team play, but I don't particularly like the idea of having two heroes having a focused damage buff, as this could be abused.

I really wish the team would come out with a list of ideas for us to look at and maybe even try within the PTR sometime soon, to allow for the avoidance of another Ana over buff situation on Live.
This is great feedback, thank you!
01/10/2017 06:48 PMPosted by Geoff Goodman
This is great feedback, thank you!


Hey Geoff, thanks for the response :) Shot in the dark here, but would you be able to shed any light on the possible direction of other PTR Sombra experiments, with a copious degree of NO-PROMISES and EXPERIMENTAL ONLY disclaimers?

Or even vagueness too, just for some taste of future changes. I love the work you do!
Dear Geoff,

please look at all the Sombra threads because there is a lot better feedback with people who have spent a lot of time on Sombra compared to 1.5 hours! You can easily find them amongst my 30 post history.

TY
01/10/2017 07:08 PMPosted by SneakMan
01/10/2017 06:48 PMPosted by Geoff Goodman
This is great feedback, thank you!


Hey Geoff, thanks for the response :) Shot in the dark here, but would you be able to shed any light on the possible direction of other PTR Sombra experiments, with a copious degree of NO-PROMISES and EXPERIMENTAL ONLY disclaimers?

Or even vagueness too, just for some taste of future changes. I love the work you do!


Look at the sticky thread, they implemented an extra buff to Sombra. by lowering hack cooldown from 12, to 8.
01/10/2017 06:48 PMPosted by Geoff Goodman
This is great feedback, thank you!


Any chance we could have the ability to remove a placed beacon and put the translocator on cooldown early? I find a lot of occasions where my initial placement of the beacon is no longer useful to me or my team, but I have to wait the full use duration and then the cooldown before I can place another one (which is around 20 seconds I think).

It would be a great quality of life change to be able to cancel an existing beacon and put it on cooldown early, in the same way Mei can cancel her ice block early or remove her wall if she needs to. A possible option would be to press E to give the option, LMB translocates her and RMB removes the beacon and puts it on cooldown. It would take a bit of practice to get used to at first, but in the long run it would make her feel more rewarding to play. There is nothing worse than having to wait too long to be able to place a new beacon.
spent some time on the char myself biggest gripe I have is being killed after teleing in the spot i teled from even to the environment sometimes

second thing that bothers me a little is the projectiles speed of the teleport beacon when tossed I know its not intended to be used as a on the fly get out of jail free card without having set it up before hand but this happens alot especially if you chose to not use your tele beacon and get int that 6 second akward cooldown area after its timer ends and need to gtfo. So maybe just a change to the working of that interaction could also fix this like the OP talked about.

I think her damage is fine players will learn to get a ton more damage out of her kit as th ey play h er more.

Her ult and hack are both amazing and I think its interesting the hack ability is whats getting buffed right now as I did not feel that was a weakness for her on live.

Her come out of invisibility announcement should be turned down and maybe animations shortened players can already hear the footsteps
I think I played her over 20h so far and the biggest complaints I've had are the pistol spread and the hack. I've not been able to test the new hack, but in my opinion it doesn't change anything. The fact it can be interupted if someone is hitting you, even randomly, just makes it really hard to use effectively, especially against Torb turret.

You chose to make it slightly faster and lower cooldown, personally I would have made it uninterruptable and increased CD by 3s.
01/09/2017 04:18 PMPosted by SneakMan
Hi all. Thought I would take some time tonight to try out Sombra some more, and share my experience, views and hope to see some possible changes.

Hi. Dont you think that there is a problem with translocation? When you throw it and use it, you wont teleport at the same spot as translocator was. Specially if you wanna teleport into the air.
I have been trying to find a match to test sombra on ptr and it just isn't working, so I hopped into practice range and just mucked around a bit looking at the new hack time, as of writing this the cooldown hasn't yet been reduced to 8s but I am fairly confident in saying that 8s is the spot for cooldown, in fact it could even be upped to 9 or 10s and I'd still be happy (12 is just way too long).
I like where the smg is at, I don't want it's damage upped and I don't want to see the increased damage on hack victims either, if anything MAYBE tighten her spread a fraction.
However I have a couple of issues with how hack itself is "Balanced" and what makes a target worth hacking. I've posted these core ideas numerous times in general discussion but I find the get lost in the glut of threads there.
My issue with hack is this, right now, hack is far more valuable to you as sombra (And your team) when applied on a fatpack to farm heals than it is to hack enemy players, so if some of these ideas could be toyed with on ptr I would love to see it happen.

Hack now blocks ongoing cooldown progress
Hack now block all ongoing ults (Ie tac visor) still cant disable instant casts like nano, black hole and pulse bomb
hacked targest cannot charge their ultis for hack duration
Hack blocks passives (Opportunist, wall ride, pharah floating with space(though I would argue pharahs should be considered an activated ability and effected by hack already))
The particle effect on hack targets is changed to sombras signature colour purple, (This aught to distinguish it from the red enemy outline giving teammates a better indicator, right now the red effect is too hard to spot, it also matches with the other debufs in the game, since zens disc orb and ana bio nade are both purple)
And a nice Qol change would be giving teammates a through wall indicator on hackedpacks.

Translocate feels a little buggy
Oh, and that looking down translocator bug is still up
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20752440356
And can we please fix getting killed after you have translocated out of danger,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANCe_-tQsr8
Alongside these changes sombras ultimate charge rate from healthpacks should be reduced by up to or even over 50%, I personally am not a fan of the cheese healing for ult strat.
As far as invis goes I would like to see this: taking damage while invis doesn't turn it off but slows you to normal speed for 0.25-0.5 of a second, where you flash like you do when you decloack, keep taking damage? keep flashing and getting slown down but that should improve invisibilities feel while still leaving counter play (You still cant perform actions while flashing from damage)

Whew, that should be all of it and I don't necessarily think all these Ideas need to happen, hell she might actually be op if all of that was given to her, but those are my thoughts on what I would like to see after several hours of sombra in comp s2 + s3 and quickplay.

Keep it up Blizz, I am liking the measured approach to buffing sombra and it is heading in the right direction and I hope to see this approach taken with other heros.

Thanks for reading
I think they need to remove the damage interrupt for hacking. If Sombra really is such a great hacker then she should be able to work under pressure, right? Then the turrets would also be doable.

also, my thoughts on the teleporter would be to remove the reset cooldown and just double the overall cooldown. Just my opinion.

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