Overwatch: Hands-on with Ashe from BlizzCon 2018

Overwatch introduced its 29th hero on Friday. Shacknews recently had a chance to go hands-on with Ashe during our time at BlizzCon.

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After playing with hamsters and diving into Busan, Overwatch is re-exploring the Western side of its story and revisiting McCree's story. During the Friday BlizzCon Opening Ceremonies, fans were treated to McCree's Reunion short. The Reunion was thought to be with Ashe and the Deadlock Gang. It wasn't, but that's a different story.

The short mostly served to introduce Ashe as Overwatch's 29th Hero. She was playable on the BlizzCon floor, which meant that Shacknews took ten paces towards the nearest demo station for a shootout.

The first thing to note is that Ashe is a Damage character, packing a long-range rifle, which I'll touch on in just a second. First, let's look at Ashe's abilities:

  • (L Shift) Coach Gun: This is Ashe's sidearm, which can be used at close range for heavy damage. It has heavy knockback for both the enemy and for Ashe, which means savvy players will be able to use it for slick movement.
  • (E) Dynamite: Ashe tosses a stack of dynamite, which goes off after a few seconds, dealing fire damage on anyone in its range. Quicker players can shoot the Dynamite from distance and set it off early.
  • (Q) B.O.B.: This is exactly what it sounds like. Ashe's Ultimate calls her lieutenant bruiser B.O.B., who will knock around nearby enemies and lay down suppressing fire.

Ashe's primary weapon is the Viper, which can be fired off in two different ways. The standard fire allows it to act as a semi-automatic rifle, but with enough of a spread that it can be used effectively as a close-range shotgun. Using the alt-fire allows Ashe an aim-down sight, which doesn't fire as quickly, but the speed is traded in for heavier damage and better accuracy. Regardless of how the Viper is used, it gets surprisingly long distance. It's not Widowmaker, obviously, but I was watching players go down from some good distance after getting plugged by Ashe's Viper from pretty far away.

Viper can primarily be used as a straightforward damage dealer, similar in many ways to McCree. But the Viper and the Coach Gun open the doors for some trickery. Ashe's firearms can be used to get quick shots off and quickly bounce away from danger. This is key in more vertical spaces, where Ashe can get off some heavy damage with the Coach Gun and use its knockback to safely put on a platform above or below her before the enemy can react. Really quick players might even be able to toss in Dynamite before making their move.

The fact that Ashe has so few abilities makes her a highly-accessible Damage character. In fact, her relatively straightforward role almost makes her an ideal starting point for anyone either getting into Overwatch for the first time or learning how to play the Damage role for the first time. The movement possibilities are icing on the cake, but Ashe can be played straight as an arrow and still play a critical role on the team.

Lastly, it's time to comment on B.O.B., which proves to be a nice situational ultimate and a good one for people who are just starting to learn the game. Because Ashe's omnic companion operates on his own volition, players simply need to know where to aim him. Ideally, they'll call upon him in a heavily-populated firefight and let him do the rest. B.O.B.'s suppression fire also makes him a great defensive tool, with players able to call upon him to help defend a point or make one last stand before the payload reaches its goal.

Ashe will prove to be a strong addition to the cast. Whether she'll find her way into pro circles remains to be seen. It'll ultimately depend on how far pros can take her potential for zany movement. But for newcomers looking to get into Overwatch or for people looking to reintroduce themselves to Blizzard's team-based shooter, Ashe is one of the most intuitive characters to come along in some time.

Look for Ashe to hit the Overwatch PTR soon.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty

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    November 3, 2018 8:00 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Overwatch: Hands-on with Ashe from BlizzCon 2018

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      November 3, 2018 10:29 AM

      Can’t wait to try her out. She sounds right up my alley.

      I’m really curious how her ads damage shakes out, particularly with headshots. I heard Kaplan say she was specifically tuned to have no 1 hit kill body shots which implies she may have some one hit head shots.

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      November 3, 2018 11:09 AM

      She is super fun! The shotgun/rocket jump thing is awesome!

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      November 3, 2018 11:45 AM

      She’s super fun to play and addresses the challenge of heavy shield lineups