Honest Question, how is a hero decided niche?

General Discussion
Is there certain criteria that makes a hero so that they will not be allowed to be anything else but niche?

Is there a list of heroes that its just been agreed upon that they will not be allowed to be effective in each fight?

Why are certain heroes allowed to have abilities that are universally disliked, but others aren't? (Mercy's mass rez, vs deflect hit box for example)

Are the heroes that are not considered niche allowed to break this norm?

Why is it ok for the worlds best Symettra to have to switch heroes, but not ok for the worlds best Genji?

Will people that love certain heroes like Doomfist have to just except that how he is currently will be how he will be forever?

Is this decided upon based on the current meta?

Are heroes that change the meta not ok?

TDLR: I feel like the ultimate goal that the developers have currently towards certain heroes betrays how the game should operate idealy, sure it might not the easiest of roads, but to give up on certain heroes just feels.. honestly sad, like Overwatch will never be complete, and that they are ok with that. :(
Apparently, blizzard only listens to the pros so its whatever they feel a hero needs, it gets "fixed" exzibit a: "mercy rez is too strong ! Nerf her !"

And here we are with a "broke" mercy.
I think devs and part of players think like this.
If a low skill hero(etc Bastion, Junkrat) is strong. It doesnt matter really in high tier. But it possibly dominate low tier.

So the balance is more based on low tier and these niche heros eventually not strong enough to be used at high tier.

So when devs say a hero is OK. They mean they are hardly used in pros but still powerful against newbies
A hero is niche when they excel in one category but not any others. Torb is good on D but not that good on attack. Same with Sym.
If the niche heroes are buffed, then heroes like Genji will be restricted as well. I'll give you an example.

Let's say Symmetra is buffed to own a space better. She'll be picked more often. She does very well against Genji and will make playing him more difficult. If you consider that Mei will be buffed as well, the that mean Genji could be going up against 2 of his counters not including Moira and Winston. Then that Genji will have to switch to be effective.
Hope this helps.
Niche is just a fun way of saying underpowered without the devs putting any more effort into said hero.
I'm not too sure but I'd love to know. Mei being considered a niche pick by Jeff felt really confusing in my head.
01/28/2018 09:02 PMPosted by Crusher55
If the niche heroes are buffed, then heroes like Genji will be restricted as well. I'll give you an example.

Let's say Symmetra is buffed to own a space better. She'll be picked more often. She does very well against Genji and will make playing him more difficult. If you consider that Mei will be buffed as well, the that mean Genji could be going up against 2 of his counters not including Moira and Winston. Then that Genji will have to switch to be effective.
Hope this helps.


So....just like I have to do playing Sombra? I can't just always use her on every map and every situation? And you can't do the same with Genji depending on enemy team comp.

I....am not seeing the problem here. Situational heroes means all of them, not just the bottom handful.
The problem with niche picks that put universal bias against them in solo queue, is due to the bias involved with playing into that niche.

That is to say, there needs to be a higher degree of team coordination, teammate expectations, and strategic play involved to take the most advantage of a niche pick, especially outside the niche. Heroes that are more universally applicable are simply easier to predict how they will play in a wider variety of situations.

This leads to a double-standard when it comes to one-tricks. People always have to accomodate them, but they have to work overtime for niche-players who one-trick in all situations.

The only thing you can really do about it atm is find a group of regulars and build a rapport with them in group-play sessions. Niche picks are easier to manage when there are some expectations established (for instance: if a sombra or symmetra take up a support slot, they will actually pocket/protec your main healer) and you at least know the player better than some complete rando.
Its probably decided based on the basic nature of the kit. For example, the idea for torb was to have a turret hero, and by very definition that would not be as useful on attack. Hence torb is a niche hero.
Right now? Arbitrary Developer Fiat. Heroes are decided as niche purely because devs don't like them.

The concept of specialists and heroes who aren't universally good is a logical one. The implementation however, is poor to the point of absurdity.

Why is it that heroes like Tracer and Genji, are not considered specialists? They are, by any reasonable account, hypermobile harassment/pick heroes. How is that not a specialist role?

It is.

But they're forced into being 24/7 picks. Meanwhile, lets take a look at the opposite situation. Why is McCree situational? He's a solid, reliable DPS with a good utility kit. In any reasonable game, he'd be a solid mid-range pick like S:76, but he isn't, and that's fine? Why is he a niche hero? What niche is it?

Heroes should be classed as all-purpose or niche by what role they perform, not just by whoever the devs want to see more of.
The reality is that you can't make every hero fun, charming, and playable, and also have them all be viable. And there's a big difference between playable and viable, especially when you're having a conversation about meta. We as players need to compromise with the developers on this, that you can't have a game that has a large batch of characters, each with unique mechanics and abilities, and also somehow achieve perfect balance, where all of those heroes manage to get equal pickrates all the time.

What determines if a hero is "niche" or not is going to come down to the mechanics that make that character interesting, and what the playerbase is able to make out of that. Take Torbjorn for example. His kit is inherently designed to be played on defense, hence the defense role he's been given. You can certainly try to use him on attack, and very well can succeed by imploring unique strategies, but by far his kit is best designed for protection and warding off invaders. If you wanted to make Torbjorn "less niche" in order to make him, I guess by the logic of the OP, "meta," then you have to start taking away his defensive utility in order to give him better offensive utility. And that means the people who enjoyed playing a defensive, turtle-like Torbjorn because of said traits now see less of what made that character appealing.

And there is a valid concern with some heroes being overly niche. We can take Symmetra as an example of that. Her maximum use can only be seen on point A defenses, and no where else. Once she gets pressured, you have to be exceptionally adept with Symmetra in order to keep up the fight. And note here that she is still playable, you can very well hold the streets phase of King's Row with Symmetra if you play her excellently, and you also can't ignore that she did help hold the defense on point A for however long she did, meaning she did get value even if she does generally have to switch off.

In general this community needs to drop the obsession with what's meta, specifically in terms of trying to make every hero meta. That's not how that works. In the highest leagues of play, players aren't going to take risks in what heroes they roll out. They want to maximize their chances of winning, and objectively, at all times, there's just going to be some heroes that excel over others. You can't logically look at this game, with all of its unique mechanics attached to all of its heroes, and suggest that every hero should always have an equal chance of winning regardless of the situation. You have hero counters, you have maps, you have objective goals that all allow some heroes to be highlighted at some times, and cast into the limelight during others. If we want unique heroes that are distinct from one another, and we also want a lot of them, then we have to accept that.

As Jeff said, the intended way to play Overwatch is that you learn at least a small pool of heroes so you can successfully adapt and play to what the situation calls for. If a player is obsessed with only playing one or two kinds of heroes, and they both excel only in specific areas, then it's the player at fault for limiting themselves to what the developers have offered. You can pick up the niche hero and try them outside of their niche, but you can't use a wrench on a nail and wonder, "Why does a hammer fundamentally work better here? That seems unfair to me."

Edit: The folks in this thread that insist "niche = Blizzard dislikes them" really need to drop the drama, if I can be blunt for a second. If Blizzard "disliked" any of their heroes by design or concept, they would not have made it into the game's roster. Blizzard specifically constructed many of these heroes to excel in particular areas and fail in others, while also including heroes that are more general because they could be afforded to be made that way. Really, the only time we should be concerned about the state of balance with niche heroes is when that niche is better succeeded by other heroes objectively, or if that niche has no practical use. In that case, Blizzard should step up and balance the hero, but until then, it isn't a matter of "playing favorites" like many people are making it out to be.
01/28/2018 09:02 PMPosted by Crusher55
If the niche heroes are buffed, then heroes like Genji will be restricted as well. I'll give you an example.

Let's say Symmetra is buffed to own a space better. She'll be picked more often. She does very well against Genji and will make playing him more difficult. If you consider that Mei will be buffed as well, the that mean Genji could be going up against 2 of his counters not including Moira and Winston. Then that Genji will have to switch to be effective.
Hope this helps.


But isn't this how Symmetra is right now? if you replace the word Genji with Symmetra in this post, than it still holds true, so my ultimate question is, why were certain heroes chosen to be niche when theoretically all of them could be? Why is tracer allowed to be a generalist, why isn't she seen as oppressive and thus should be limited to a certain degree of effectiveness? Heck I would argue Tracer is infinitely more oppressive than Mei ever was.
when they !@#$ing suck
01/28/2018 08:57 PMPosted by Arashi
A hero is niche when they excel in one category but not any others. Torb is good on D but not that good on attack. Same with Sym.


What this guy said.

Being a Niche hero is NOT a bad thing guys...Their issue is BALANCE not the fact that they're Niche.

Widowmaker is Niche but she's in a good spot

Same for Junkrat (For right now...)
There shouldn’t be niche heroes in this game. For the sake of balance, keeping heroes in a weak position in most scenarios but strong in one while we have heroes that are effectively useful in all scenarios will automatically make the more utilitarian hero useful even in the niche heroes niche.

Niche roles should be broken. Heroes should counter heroes. Heroes should not be countered by what mode or map they’re on. While I’m not saying everyone should be fantastic in every situation, at the least they shouldn’t be as useless as they are. Have you tried playing Sym on Blizzardworld? Basically useless on all points for both attack and defense.

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