No ifs, ands, or butts: Heroes of the Storm's Tracer is a beast


The first ever Overwatch hero

Blizzard seemed unsure of Overwatchat first. Before the warm reception in the beta, it only toyed with the idea of releasing a character to represent it inHeroes of the Storm, citing that one would only come after the launch of the core game, to see if people took to it. Well, Tracer is out this week.

And looking into the future based on how well she fits, I can see many more on the horizon.

With an unconventional design, Tracer is built to operate very close to how she does in Overwatch. She has the same basic abilities, and even powers up her Heroic just like an ultimate — by dealing damage. Her core skillset is teleportation, which includes a quick blink strike in any direction and a “rewind” mechanic of sorts that brings her back to the location she was at three seconds ago. That latter bit is just as fun to fight and predict as it is to play.

Did I mention that she’s weird? Because she is even stranger on paper.Tracer sports a fierce playstyle. Like Lunara, she’s constantly moving, looking to dip in and out of combat at will in spite of her fragile state. This includes a manual reload mechanic and the use of her Heroic at level 1 (level 10 allows you to customize it). Reloading is fast — almost so fast it doesn’t even play a factor, but it’s easy to forget if you only have a few clips left and get into a fight without a full magazine. There is an exception however after reaching level 16 if you pick up the active reload talent.

If you’re sick of playing healbots and other characters that are less active, Tracer is a great fit for you. Oh, and she’s also awesome at countering stealth characters, with a four-second reveal for auto-attacks talent at level 1. Everything in her kit feeds into constantly doing something, even if it’s chipping away at an enemy support by expending all your blink charges, then rewinding time after landing a sticky bomb Heroic.

I particularly like the skill that grants more blink charges after using recall. You can get really tricky, like ambushing an enemy, then recalling back to where you think they’re going to escape and pursue them (or quickly recalling after a tower dive). She’s mostly single-target oriented, but can also waveclear with several talents (like ricochet, which has a chance for bullets to bounce) , albeit not as well as others.

How well she ends up on the winrate charts really depends on the skill of the playerbase. Her auto-attacks don’t do a ton of damage, and her melee and Heroic can be countered by general awareness, so I don’t see her being able to burst down foes as well as other heroes (cough Li Ming), propelling her to the very top of the crowd. We’ll see though, and in the meantime, she’s a blast.