If you have been playing Overwatch lately, you probably take notice of some characters not getting as much playtime as others. While the use of characters can fluctuate depending on the current meta, it can also be because certain characters kind of (for a lack of a better word) suck. While minor tweaks and fixes can help characters be better, there are others that suffer so much more in comparison due to their build. In the past, these characters were our “Builder” characters: Symmetra and Torbjorn. While we can’t say for sure how well Symmetra has had it since her latest rework, she is someone who is no longer so reliant on her turrets. As for Torbjorn, Blizzard is taking the steps needed so that his character won’t be defined by just the turret he can now throw out.
As we wait to see how his rework will come out, there is one other former defensive hero that does need to love too. The walking Robo-Turret with a bird buddy: Bastion. If you are familiar with this tin can, you probably know it for being the character that gets the play of the game by mowing down enemies in a row. For as dominant as Bastion can be at lower tiers of play, there’s no denying that it is near laughable to see Bastion at higher tiers. While having the extra protection in turret mode helps, you’re stuck in place and become an easy target for prepared enemy heroes. While we are ways out from even getting a confirmation that Bastion getting a rework, it never hurts to speculate on the things the bird watcher needs to be a workable member of a team.
Let’s start by addressing the main issues.
Issue One: Taking Focus from Recon and Putting It Into Sentry
When we talk about a strategy for Bastion, players can summarize it as “Plant your ass into the ground and unload bullets until targets fall over dead.” This… This is not a strategy. Bastion’s DPS can be dangerous if it focuses you down, but if you know how to work around the turret, Bastion can fall into pieces in moments. It is understandable if this was how Bastion was made when Overwatch started, but this is probably one of the biggest issues with the character. At least builders can be a touch productive in fights by moving around, but Bastion players wait until targets come running into them to dump their load.
Now, how is the best way to fix this problem? That is a complicated answer. It’s not to say Bastion’s Sentry mode needs to get nerfed, but rather Bastion in his Recon mode needs improvements. His basic attack is your standard machine gun that doesn’t really do much in terms of damage compared to the turret. Meanwhile, with how Blizzard set up the different modes for Bastion, they are telling players that Recon Mode is the most useless when it should be just as viable. If you only get the damage reduction when you’re a Tank or Turret while having a higher damage output, you are telling players that Recon Mode is completely useless. Give players a reason to runs and shoot as Bastion since, if there is no point to Recon Mode, he will still be seen as a useless hero.
Issue Two: Building Around One Hero To Make Them Workable
One great thing about Overwatch is that just about any hero has duel potential as they can fare well whether if fighting as a team or 1v1. For Bastion though, his playstyle is not as mobile and it can run into its fair share of issues if caught going solo. Bastion can repair itself but it can’t fight back during that time.It has little means to defend itself outside crossing its fingers that the target drops first before it does. If Bastion was an animal, it would be a turtle, having to retreat and pocket itself should it come under attack.
While offensive and defensive roles do not appear anymore, Bastion usually cannot be on the attack. Unless if there is a payload for it to plant itself on, there are little means to have it on attack. So what about defense? Bastion excels there much more, but from what many in the community would point out, it feels like it needs to have a babysitter to be effective. If no one has its back, Bastion can get overwhelmed with no means to run away. Even if the “Pirate Ship” is the only way Bastion is a “Good Pick,” that still doesn’t say much if it is only good on one map as opposed to most of the 19 stages. Bastion should a character that helps the team and not a character the team has to work for.
So how we tune up Bastion to be a better character? Let’s explore five options.
1) Tank as a Basic Ability
When reworking a hero, Blizzard likes to turn a previously established Ultimate into a basic ability. We’ve seen this with Mercy’s resurrection and Symmetra’s teleporter. With Bastion though, his Tank Mode Ultimate can be rather deadly as the blast radius can obliterate enemies fast to help clear out an area almost as fast as his Turret Mode. So why would change this if the Ultimate is already decent? Well, the idea would be to not only give Bastion a different ultimate but by allowing Tank Mode to be more often, it can move Bastion from the back line to a front line.
By allowing Bastion players to circulate between three modes, you can open three ways Bastion can attack the enemies. You’d have a standard machine gun for regular fights, the turret for mowing down enemies, and tank to do AOE damage. You’d likely have to turn down the damage and add a fair cooldown so that the tank mode gets spam out, but it would allow Bastion a way to fight back while not having to keep its feet glued in place. The ability can still get interrupted so that if you stun Bastion in Tank Form, it can revert to its Recon Form to take it out. Would it be effective? Hard to say, but it would be one way to give Bastion some feasibility during fights.
Or at the least speed up the transformation to the Tank so that Bastion doesn’t turn into an easy target to take out.
2) The Dismissal or Rework of Ironclad Passive
Blizzard tried to fix Bastion a while back ago by giving him a passive he didn’t have previously. Ironclad gave Bastion the ability to take reduced damage while in Turret or Tank Mode by 20%. A decent passive but it made players feel like the only way Bastion can work is if he is a turret or tank rather than on its feet. If the passive will not help Bastion when he’s in Recon, then it is fairly useless. As said before, it would be of great benefit where Bastion can be more mobile than stationary. We know that Bastion does not move around as often as other heroes, but considering how the game has evolved, Bastion needs to do too. Something to which Ironclad does not promote.
Now, what would be the best way to work with or around Ironclad exactly? Perhaps for starters, Bastion could have or rework done for his health pool. With 200 health and 100 armor, some would say it’s already pretty balanced. Still, it would be nice if Recon Mode had damage resistance too so that players would not have to turtle up in case they get jumped. Sometimes the best way to get out of a fight is to run towards other teammates rather than turn into a turret, repair yourself and hope your teammates show up, eventually.
Some even suggested giving the Tank Mode Ultimate slightly higher damage resistance than the sentry mode so it makes Bastion slightly harder to kill. Either way, the passive should either promote all forms of Bastion fairly or be replaced with something else to give Bastion a better chance at winning fights.
3) Giving Ganymede Purpose
Out of all the ways to stop a rampaging robot from tearing up a city, who’d have thought a bird would have had the ability to do just that? The bird known as Ganymede pays a big role in what Bastion is now as this strange fascination with the bird gave Bastion the ability to overpower the “Destroy all Humans” programming. For as wonderful as that bird is, it is a kind of a shame that in-game it doesn’t really play much of a significant role as interactions with Ganymede outside actual combat. How interesting would it be if perhaps Ganymede gave help to Bastion? Not that if would fly and try to peck out an eye, but rather through another means.
Ganymede could serve as Bastion’s passive that allows the bird to provide a literal eye in the sky. While it wouldn’t be like Widowmaker who can identify exactly where an enemy is at, but if an enemy is within proximity, Ganymede can chirp and Bastion can get an alert of an enemy approaching. Bastion players could then be able to choose who they wish to engage if they want to set up the turret to unload or pass the info to other teammates in order for them to know where the enemy is. Either way, Ganymede deserves to have something more so we can be happy to have a bird companion in battle.
4) A Different Ultimate Idea: Overclock
There are ideas being thrown around about how Torbjorn could lose his Molten Core Ultimate when his rework happens. While it is understandable why that Ultimate might not be working anymore, it leaves to question of other heroes that have a transformable Ultimate. Bastion would fall under this category too when he goes into his tank form, but if we are looking for ways to make him a better version of itself. So let’s look past the tank mode and consider a different Ultimate that could benefit Bastion. This idea would take what Bastion can do and make them work “better than originally expected.”
The term “Overclock” for computing devices refers to making them “run faster” than originally intended. In Bastion’s case, you would enable it to become a walking death machine that is more efficient in everything it can do. During Recon Mode, make it where Bastion can almost run (or close to running) while being able to shoot and reload faster. Same thing for Sentry mode where your sentry gun could likely melt weaker targets much faster than you normally can. Perhaps even set up repairs so they can almost insta-fix Bastion. Again, with the way Tank Mode is for Bastion, this change might not be needed at all. But there’s no denying that an ability that can enhance what it can do could be just the thing Bastion needs to be a choice that players of all ranks can enjoy.
5) Reinforce Being A “Back Line” Hero with Sentry
So let’s say the first four ideas aren’t to your liking. I will admit that while it would be nice for Bastion to be on the front lines, Bastion might be like Widowmaker in the sense of keeping his distance in fights to be effective. So if that were the case, then perhaps there need to be changed to sentry itself to be more fair and balanced. One glaring issue is that with the way Bastion is, there’s not much range it can play with. Sentry does crazy damage if the bullets are landing but if they are as widespread as they are from long distances that means you need to get closer to the fight, to which can place you in striking range to get murdered.
So how would we fix up the Sentry Mode itself? One idea would be to improve the spread so that the bullets aren’t as scattered as they are. Should you improve the spread of the shots, you would likely need to decrease the damage output as that could probably melt through some characters like butter. Another is to reenable headshot damage with the turret fire since there is no critical damage that can be done when using it. Even playing with the rate of fire and ammo Bastion has to work with could be something to help improve his chances. Out of the five options, this one I like the least as it feels like Bastion should be more than just “the Turret.” If this is the fate of the unit however, then at least a minor improvement in what it does best can help.
There are plenty of ways to help Bastion out. Even small things like decreasing the spread of bullets while as a turret or decreasing reload time for Recon Mode can help. There needs to be something to help the poor bot out as it could be the next hero to fade away in a time where the game says that he is useless. OverWatch continues to evolve over time and we see how new strategies can pop up to help make a hero better while making others feel inadequate. Still, it’s not to say that character is poor as it still has a few things going for it.
While it may sound like everything about Bastion needs a touch-up, there’s really nothing to say about the self-repair. By allowing Bastion to repair itself while still moving, it helps improve its survivability rather than being forced to stop moving. This was the first indicator to show that Bastion’s biggest issue is mobility. Not that it needs to be as fast as the others, but OverWatch can be a very mobile game and if you stand in one place, you set yourself up for a harsh time. Sentry mode can still help, but by boosting what recon can do…
So what do you think? If Bastion were to get a tune-up, what would it need to be a better killing machine? leave your thoughts down below and be sure to follow up here at Culture of Gaming for more editorials on Overwatch and other things gaming.