Like Sombra before him, Roadhog is getting a rework in Overwatch 2’s seventh season. And much like Sombra’s, it highlights a problem I have with Blizzard’s approach to reworks and balance changes, giving him an ability pretty analogous to one used by other tanks in the game. Over time, this approach is making the game less interesting, further sanding down characters into similar archetypes as opposed to letting them each serve distinct roles.
Blizzard has announced that Roadhog’s rework will give him a new ability called Pig Pen, which has him put down a trap that will slow and damage nearby enemies. The fact that it says enemies, plural, makes it sound like a shake-up from Roadhog’s typical loop, which is often very laser-focused. His hook is his main tool, as it drags an enemy into his shotgun’s range, but that means his kit helps him create space just by virtue of enemies feeling the looming threat of the ability and giving him a wide berth. While Blizzard hasn’t released footage of Pig Pen, the description sounds like it will give Roadhog a window to more precisely make those plays, but it also sounds very similar to abilities like Ramattra’s Ravenous Vortex, which slows down and damages enemies.
I will say that despite my initial hesitations with Sombra rework and general dislike of the Tracer-fication of her kit, I have come around on how good it feels to play. So Roadhog’s rework may prove to be just as fun, and doesn’t seem to change the character too much, but it does feel like Overwatch 2’s balance philosophy tends to lean into making sure other heroes have similar toolsets to one another, rather than being what makes each of them distinct. If Roadhog is going to get a new ability, I personally would rather have seen him get something to help bolster his teammates to push on an objective; crowd control wasn’t really what he was missing. Right now, he’s still a bit of a lone wolf off-tank in a game that only has one tank now, and that was where his kit has been lacking, in my opinion.
I’m willing to give the team the benefit of the doubt until we see more, but Overwatch 2’s reworking of old characters has often felt like sanding down heroes to parallel utility, rather than keeping to the very specific archetypes that made different heroes stand out. Roadhog still seems to have all his old tools in place, but I’m curious to see how adding Pig Pen will change his play style, if at all.