There was quite a lot of buzz around Overwatch's 24th hero Orisa before developers Blizzard revealed her to the world, which is a stark difference to 23rd hero Sombra. The Mexican hacker was arduously hinted at for months, and the ARG set up to reveal information about her left a bitter taste.
Android Orisa instead lands with nothing but enthusiasm among fans. Her reveal was perfectly timed and executed, with excitement and speculation brewing for just long enough to capture the community's imagination.
As she's just a short time away from being released into the live version of the game, here's a guide to help you out with who she is, what she does and why she's just what the game needs right now.
Who is Orisa?
Orisa is the creation of 11-year-old genius Efi Oladele. Oladele resides in the African city of Numbani, where humans and android Omnics live in harmony and where she's one of the great minds in robotics.
After winning a grant for her work, the inventor's parents take her on a trip to celebrate... or at least that was the plan. While at the airport, Oladele witnessed an attack by Doomfist which caused a great deal of destruction. This attack then spurned the genius on to create Orisa with her new found grant.
Built from part of a security bot known as an OR15, Orisa was created for the sole purpose of being a protector in Numbani. Her primary function is to keep its citizens safe from attacks just like the one Doomfist perpetrated.
What does Orisa do?
So now you know who she is, here is a breakdown of the character's abilities and how she fits in to the game as a whole.
Fusion Driver: This is Orisa's primary fire, and has a massive chamber of 150 bullets. Keep firing this thing, and it will act as great suppression for your team. It's also worth noting, this is a projectile weapon, not a hit-scan one, which means that its bullets will take a little time to travel to your opponent instead of hitting instantly. So players will have to lead their shots ever so slightly to score a hit and, like D.Va, Orisa also moves slower when firing.
Halt!: This is Orisa's secondary fire. Think of it as a mini-Graviton Surge. It's small, but when detonated it will shift nearby enemies towards it. This can be used to drag the other team out of hiding or, if you have good awareness and a bit a luck, drag a poorly placed opponent off the map.
Fortify: This ability turns Orisa into a rock. Not only does she take 50% less damage when its active, it also stops any crowd control abilities that might move her. Things like Graviton Surge, Pharah's concussive blast and Lucio's boop will do nothing while Fortify is being used. Crucially, if a Reinhardt charges a fortified Orisa, he will drop to the ground as if he charged another charging Reinhardt. Orisa will still be active and assuredly mop up the tank.
Protective Barrier: This is straightforward. This allows Orisa to place a barrier where she wants. It acts similarly to Winston and Reinhardt's shields and offers 900 damage resistance. Crucially, the cooldown starts when the barrier is placed and not when it gets destroyed, meaning quite often, Orisa can place a new barrier as her old one is destroyed.
Supercharger: This is Orisa's Ultimate and it has the potential to be one of the strongest in the game. Orisa starts by placing her drum on the battlefield and anyone in line of sight of it will get a 50% damage boost. This is a massive burst to a team's total output, and there aren't many Ultimates that help out your team this much, if any.
Tip: If you are on the other team, this drum can be destroyed. It usually makes sense to take it out first before a team fight gets away from you.
Orisa excels at both protection and messing with the other team. Keeping barriers on the field at a near constant rate is powerful, especially if you consider it can be thrown. This means that while she can help push a payload or defend a 'choke' on a map, she can also use her shield in versatile and surprising ways. This will really keep an enemy team guessing, and on their toes, like no other tank does.
Her kit is quite broad, with no two abilities serving similar purposes, meaning she isn't a straight 'protector', 'harasser' or 'buffer'. Instead she does a little bit of it all, allowing her some diversity on the battlefield. Still, she will almost always be most effective as an anchor tank.
Why does Overwatch need Orisa?
This is an important question. Orisa is actually a pretty wild character and she doesn't really fit an 'archetype' for a hero-based multiplayer game. Still, there is nothing about her kit, or why she was designed this way that's a mistake. Overwatch needed a character like Orisa.
While, for large portions of Competitive Season 3, tank play became quite important to the meta – with the use of three tanks dominating for a while – the tank class was missing options. D.Va, Winston, Roadhog and to some degree, Zarya, are more 'secondary tanks', that have high health but aren't necessary characters that dictate and protect your team as a pure tank should.
For that, there's only really Reinhardt, and that became a problem. Especially in the higher ranks of the game, Reinhardt is probably the most consistently chosen character. "You have to have a Reinhardt" was just law, because he was the only one a team could play around while being protected.
Orisa was needed to add a new 'anchor tank' to the fold. If one character is a near certain choice for most teams, and it's thought you need them to win, that is a problem for a game like Overwatch. I'm sure Blizzard are hoping that their 24th hero can add some diversity when it comes to the core tank role in the game, giving the German super machine a rest now and then.
It's worth adding that the feeling around the community is that Orisa won't be a straight 1-to-1 swap with Reinhardt. Her barrier is much weaker and will protect fewer players overall. However, it adds choice and depending on the team composition – such as a well-oiled 'dive composition' which is about engaging quickly and forcefully – some might appreciate Orisa's barrier versatility a little more.
Or perhaps frighteningly, a team might want the ultimate survivability and pick both Orisa and Reinhardt. That certainly would be a durable team.
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