After the blistering success of Blizzard Entertainment’s team-based First Person Shooter; Overwatch, it wouldn’t be long before we see an expansion to the game’s memorable and diverse ‘Hero’ roster. The newest addition given to us here is Ana, a Support-Sniper hero who, after some practice, can be a both deadly and life-saving asset.
Upon playing Ana, she immediately feels challenging. As a support hero, she needs to be on her A-Game when it comes to healing her teammates, and new players with this hero will struggle with that fundamental aspect of her hero class. Her entire load-out focuses on her biotic-sniper rifle; making her somewhat of a chore to players less comfortable with precision shooting. To heal other players, Ana must land shots with her sniper rifle on her teammates for an immediate chunk of health to be given to that hero. This mechanic upon first play seems almost opposed to the idea of prioritising healing; but Blizzard have worked game mechanic-magic in this particular instance. Ana has a much-greater ‘hitbox’ (an area around a game character that when hit, does damage to that particular character) when shooting her teammates, meaning she can be a whole cross-hair away from another hero, and still pull off the all-important heal. In terms of damage with her Biotic-rifle, she fires a projectile into an enemy, dealing a small chunk of immediate damage, and triggers a small but effective damage-over-time effect on that enemy; meaning that Ana can be a viable defensive hero if used correctly as well.
What separates her healing from other supports is ‘chunk-healing.’ Popular support heroes such as Mercy and Lucio all heal other heroes on their team over time, with a constant, but gradual increase to their health until their hit points are full; Ana doesn’t operate in this manner. She instead fires one of her projectiles at a teammate, and once it lands, will immediately provide that player with a chunk of health; usually around 75-150 hit points depending on the health-pool of that particular hero; Ana is the only hero in the game with this form of healing; and it works wonders in heated combat moments at Capture points.
Her other abilities include the ‘Sleep Dart’, a skill shot ability that, upon hitting an enemy hero, will put them in a stunned state for a considerable length of time; but is countered by a mechanic in which, when the sleeping hero takes a single point of damage from any source, they are immediately on their feet and fighting once again. This ability is incredibly difficult to use as it has completely no aim assist, and can only be held for 1 second before the projectile is automatically fired, regardless of if you have a target or not. It works well in pushing-scenarios, when a key enemy player such as Reinhardt or a Bastion need to be stopped so that your team can gain some important ground. In terms of her weaknesses, Ana is one of the more vulnerable heroes in the roster. She has no movement abilities, meaning that she cannot ever escape a firefight without using her default movement. This, coupled with her small health pool and slow firing-rate and precise weapon, make her nearly useless at close range; so to play Ana effectively, the player must stay further away, sticking to the sidelines of an engagement; picking enemies off from afar.
Her other secondary ability is a Biotic grenade, which, when thrown, boosts healing to all teammates in its area of effect, and prevents healing to all enemies in its area of effect for a short time. Finally, her Ultimate ability is the ‘Nano-Boost’, a projectile that upon landing on a teammate, gives them a considerable damage, health and movement speed boost. Blizzard has carefully designed Ana’s ultimate ability in conjunction with more offensive heroe’s abilities. For example, a Nano-Boost on a Reaper is a devastating and terrifying combination.
In conclusion, what we have with Overwatch’s newest hero is a difficult to learn, easy-to-master hero with a diverse ability-set and a brilliant presentation and style, that definitely has her place among the Overwatch team.