Last month I wrote a review and summary of Wrecking Ball after Blizzard announced he was coming. And now almost a month later he is live on all platforms. Once I got word I immediately jumped on Overwatch to test him out.
At first I put him in the practice range to get familiar with all his abilities and movement before moving onto quickplay. I was promptly reminded that the practice range is nothing like quickplay and this is because Wrecking Ball, in the heat of battle, you forced to move so quickly and so swiftly that it almost immediately caused me to feel motion sick.
Now I understand that motion sickness is a condition that not all gamers share with me. So to them I say “Congratulations on winning the genetic lottery and being able to play Wrecking Ball with no trouble”. But it’s been a problem my entire life. I can’t read books on car rides, I can’t ride amusement park rides that spin, I can’t even watch a Transformers movie without feeling nauseous at some parts. And now I can’t even play as Wrecking Ball in Overwatch.
Now you might be asking why Wrecking Ball? Why does he cause motion sickness but the other characters don’t? Well, ironically the reason is also what I found to be so fun about playing Wrecking Ball. Let’s review what I found, shall we?
Role and Purpose
As is obvious, Wrecking Ball is tank class and now, after playing as him, his role as a diver is solidified. It will be nice to have a quality diver in composition that isn’t just Winston. How this is accomplished is his grappling claw that, once attached to something, allows Wrecking Ball to swing up into the air and gain moment in your desired direction. Once you’re above your opponents you use his piledriver to smash downward causing some area damage but also stunning all opponents in range. After doing so you want to quickly activate his adaptive shield, roll away, and grapple again onto something once the cooldown is finished.
This dive tactic is disruptive, effective, fun, but also really chaotic. This is where the motion sickness kicks in for me. And again, plenty of Overwatch tactics are chaotic, but what makes this problematic for those who suffer from motion sickness is simply the rolling of Wrecking Ball combined with the quick camera turns with the grapple swinging all within a matter of seconds is enough to confuse my brain and eyes and send me into a state of nausea. Yes, it absolutely SUCKS, but that’s my reality. And after bouncing from different voice chats on Overwatch I learned that it’s not confined only to me, but to others as well.
But despite this sad fact, I don’t believe Wrecking Ball’s mechanics should be changed to alleviate those of us that suffer from it because the vast majority of players won’t experience these issues. And for those of us that do, maybe we should take dramamine before we play or just avoid playing as Wrecking Ball if we just can’t handle it.
Motion sickness aside, what is Wrecking Ball’s future?
Now it’s no secret that Wrecking Ball’s emergence was met with plenty of skepticism, but if you can look past the hamster persona (which you rarely see in gameplay anyway) then he is just another fun character with different abilities appeal. Wrecking Ball also requires a certain level of skill development to become effective, but once you do acquire that skill Wrecking Ball becomes a quality pick that will win plenty of matches for plenty of teams.
So yes, despite the cartoonish choice of species, I don’t see Wrecking Ball going anywhere anytime soon. Once players realize his potential in gameplay they’ll all forgot they’ve been playing as a hamster the whole time.