By Petar Vukobrat
March 23, 2020
The latest addition to the ever-growing Overwatch hero pool is finally here, so let’s do a somewhat quick Echo breakdown to see what she brings to the table. First of all, she’s a DPS which will surprise most players. Everyone believed (with good reason) that she would end up support (one that would lean more towards Moira than Mercy), but Blizzard decided to subvert our expectations.
We shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But after seeing Echo in action, the sheer amount of power and versatility baked into her ability kit is impressive. Before we delve any deeper into her abilities, make sure to watch the latest developer update in which game director Jeff Kaplan talks a bit more about Echo’s background story and the whole development process.
To learn more about her origins, you can go to her official hero page.
Now let’s focus on the good stuff — her abilities. Keep in mind that any damage ratios or cooldowns below can heavily change between now and her full release. Furthermore, it’s fair to say that she’ll be overpowered upon hitting live servers. Expect a lot of balancing over the coming weeks and months. Such a thing is only natural when you give a hero so many offensive tools and avenues for success.
Left Click: “Tri-Shot” — Echo’s primary fire sends out three damaging pellets at once in a triangular pattern. There’s a distance drop-off and the splash radius isn’t that high, but the projectile speed is nothing to scoff at. Echo has 15 ammo and each shot can deal up to 51 damage (spread into three pellets of 17). Getting used to this ability and its peculiar nature will require a bit of time.
Right Click: “Sticky Bombs” — Echo sends out a volley of sticky bombs that attach to a surface/enemy and explode after a set delay. Pretty straight-forward. Not the most insane ability around, but it’ll definitely come in handy once those hectic six-on-six teamfights break out.
Left Shift: “Flight” — Echo takes flight for a three-second duration. While she’s in the air, she can traverse the sky much like Mercy or Pharah. This ability is key in getting an upper hand over your opponents as it’ll allow you to attack from different angles, flank, and catch enemies off guard.
It doesn’t last for long, but three seconds of air time is more than enough to create chaos on the battlefield. “Flight” is also directly tied to Echo’s passive.
Passive: “Glide” — Echo can glide while falling from the sky, creating the illusion of constant flight. Mastering this combo will be incredibly important as you can basically fly for three seconds, then glide for three more until her “Flight” cooldown resets.
She glides vertically at a speed of 4 meters per second but can move horizontally with a +50% buff. This caveat will allow her to cover more ground than you’d expect.
E Ability: “Focusing Beam” — This is an important one. Echo channels a beam for 2.5 seconds that deals 50 damage per second (on an 8-second cooldown). But here’s the real kicker: if the target is under half health, the beam will deal four times more damage, so 200 per second. That’s a boatload of damage. Echo can also cancel the ability.
One can only assume that you’ll be using “Focusing Beam” to finish low health targets off, or perhaps dish out a surprising amount of damage in a key moment during a teamfight. In any case, this ability (and its numbers and ratios) look more like an ultimate than something you can throw out every couple of seconds. A couple of nerfs are all but guaranteed.
Ultimate: “Duplicate” — What would a 2020 DPS hero be without a mind-blowing ultimate? Echo duplicates a target enemy hero and “gains use of their abilities.” The potential of such an ultimate is seemingly endless, and its number of use-case scenarios is limited only by your own imagination.
Echo doesn’t just copy her target’s abilities but also the amount of health. So if you use this ultimate while you’re low on HP and duplicate an enemy Reinhardt, you can potentially become a tank for a 15-second duration. Once the ultimate duration ends (or if Echo’s duplicated HP reaches zero), she’ll revert back to her original HP.
Echo cannot target and copy an enemy Echo. She cannot target opponents behind barriers.
But there’s more, believe it or not. While duplicated, Echo’s ultimate generation is 6.5 times higher than normal. Whoever came up with this ultimate is not only a creative individual but also someone who completely ignores the notion of power creep and healthy hero design.
Heroes stealing ultimates and abilities is nothing new. Rubick does the same in Dota 2 as does Sylas in League of Legends. Still, you know what they’ve stolen and you can prepare accordingly. Echo, on the other hand, takes everything from her target including HP. It’s like a new lease on life. She can attack and play freely, knowing she still has her own HP to fall back on — not to mention multiple broken abilities.
On the one hand, it’s nice to see her abilities be a direct result from her lore and origin story, but they’re also insanely overpowered. The impact Echo will have on casual and competitive play will be immense. So, make sure to enjoy the game as much as possible before she upsets the status quo, much like Sigma did before her.
To say that fans aren’t satisfied with Echo’s upcoming release would truly be an understatement. DPS queue times are insanely long as is. Releasing yet another DPS hero will definitely not improve the situation. Furthermore, everyone’s aware of the fact that Echo will profoundly affect the game on all levels. She’s not exactly a simple hero but she’s also not the most complex. This means the learning curve isn’t as steep as it should be. It means a lot of people can harness her game-changing potential.
Echo will hit live servers in a matter of weeks. If you’re itching to test her out, you can do so on the PTR. In the meantime, we suggest tuning in to the Overwatch League. Blizzard has shifted the entire league to online play. It’s not exactly as stylish a solution as homestands, but it’ll get the job done during the coronavirus pandemic.
We’ll bring you more Echo coverage over the coming weeks so stay tuned!