Overwatch 2 PvP Closed Beta: How does Doomfist fare as a tank?

·Senior Games & Tech Producer
·9 min read

Overwatch 2 is currently holding its closed PvP beta till 17 May 2022, and with it, comes a whole slew of changes to some heroes in the game to fit the new 5v5 gameplay that it offers.

One of the big changes see former DPS hero, Doomfist, being reworked and moved into the role of a tank.

Previously in vanilla Overwatch, Doomfist was introduced as a melee monster with a lot of references to the fighting game genre.

He had his Rocket Punch, which is very similar to Spencer's Bionic Arm super from Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Ralf Jone's punch super from the King of Fighters series.

Coupled with that, he has the iconic uppercut that is a blatant reference to the Shoryuken done by Ryu, Ken and Akuma from the Street Fighter series.

To fit that archetype of a fighting game character, Doomfist also had the capability to cancel out of some of his abilities to fit the situation he's in.

Additionally, he was also a combo monster, usually being able to even kill an unsuspecting 500hp tank if he was able to smartly chain his abilities successfully to one another.

His toolkit in vanilla Overwatch relied a lot on knowing when and how to burst down enemies, and get away safely to recoup, while waiting for the next opportunity to strike.

He was also one of the more vulnerable characters if you messed up your combo chains. This was even with his passive of adding additional shields when you successfully land your attacks.

This was because of his playstyle that required him to enter enemy backlines, and if you do not have an ability to get you out of trouble, or have an escape route available, you are going to get swatted almost immediately.

With his move to the role of a tank, how does this affect Doomfist as a character and his playstyle?

Here are the changes to Doomfist that was detailed from Activision Blizzard:

Doomfist rework
Doomfist rework

The changes

Uppercut

The number one thing that absolutely stood out for me was the removal of his Uppercut.

This removes his ability to move vertically, besides not being able to hear him say "RISING UPPERCUT!" when he does it anymore.

Seismic Slam

Seismic Slam used to deal more damage the more hang-time you had with Doomfist before he landed this move. This damage increase is totally removed, but you can still leap off high places to catch your enemies off guard.

Enemies hit by this move are slowed as well.

What they didn't tell you in the patch notes was that Seismic Slam now has a huge area-of-effect cone in front of it, as opposed to only hitting the enemy in front of Doomfist previously. It works extremely well for crowd control.

Couple the removal of his Uppercut ability and the change to his Seismic Slam, you have the first indication that you do not need to worry about the high ground anymore, fitting more of his role as a tank and sticking with your teammates.

Rocket Punch

His Rocket Punch also sees very drastic changes.

Although it can charge faster this time, the damage is severely reduced, making it more of a tool to just knock enemies back — under normal circumstances.

Again, what they didn't tell you in the patch notes was that his Rocket Punch now has a wider hitbox — it can hit a lot more enemies in front of him as opposed to his vanilla Overwatch counterpart.

You are still able to use this as an escape tool like his previous iteration, no changes there.

NEW: Power Block

There is a way to increase the damage of Doomfist's Rocket Punch to what it once was, dealing a lot of damage AND increasing the hitbox even further, even for that one brief moment.

Introducing Power Block, Doomfist's new ability.

When you activate Power Block, Doomfist goes into a stance for a short while that is able to absorb 90 percent of the damage that is being dealt to him (yes, he still takes 10 percent damage).

It doesn't create any sort of shield or anything, so don't expect to use it to protect your team like a Reinhardt does, though.

Doomfist is also still vulnerable to things like Ana's Sleep Dart and Reinhardt's Earthshatter, so it isn't a status negator.

When he absorbs the damage dealt to him, he will charge up a meter that will empower the next Rocket Punch.

At the moment, this ability has a 8-second cooldown.

Hand Cannon

His Hand Cannon, which is his primary fire, now recharges significantly faster.

Although it has seen a reduction of fired pellets, still does quite a lot of damage compared to the rest of his kit.

Ultimate: Meteor Strike

Doomfist's ultimate sees interesting changes as well. It now activates a little faster and applies slow to enemies hit by Meteor Strike, but also sees a reduction in damage in the outer radius.

The inner radius (the core) of his ultimate has a much reduced size, but it still deals a lot of damage. You are able to take out enemies that have at least 200hp or less if you hit them with the core.

Passive Ability: The Best Defence

His passive ability of gaining shields whenever he hits anyone with his abilities remain largely unchanged.

He still is able to get up to 150 shield points by hitting enemies or using his ultimate. Coupled with his health buff, he is actually able to have an effective hp of 600!

Due to the fact that his Rocket Punch can also hit multiple enemies at the same time now, he can receive a stacked shield buff, because he gains his shields according to the number of enemies he hits.

So, how does Doomfist fare?

Doomfist's playstyle is much more grounded now, but you still have the option to surprise your enemies from the skies with his Seismic Slam and his ultimate.

Just make sure to bring a friend (or your whole team) when trying to catch an enemy off guard.

The current version of Doomfist isn't very capable of dishing a lot of damage by himself now due to his overall damage nerf.

With the fact that he can absorb a lot of damage now, and also has increased health, he seems more like a tank that needs to go into the enemy lines and disrupt their formation and knock them out of place so that your DPS can capitalise on the disruption.

The fact that his kit is able to slow enemies will also help your DPS with targeting them.

It is still very helpful that he is able to cancel all his abilities to one another, but with the removal of his Uppercut, it doesn't seem to do much for him.

If he was compared to a fly that you needed to swat in vanilla Overwatch, he is now an unrelenting cockroach in the enemy backlines for Overwatch 2.

If you are expecting a character to shield your teammates from damage or to protect your positions, Doomfist is definitely not the tank for it. Go back to Reinhardt.

If there's any tank at the moment that is similar to the new Doomfist, it would be Wrecking Ball.

That said, the hamster has a lot more mobility compared to Doomfist due to his Rollout.

Has he lost his identity?

For me, the question that I needed to answer for myself was, "Does Doomfist still play like a fighting game character, or has he lost his identity?"

The removal of the Uppercut stings, but in the update article by Activision Blizzard about the changes to Doomfist's core gameplay and the addition of Power Block, these two lines were mentioned:

“Doomfist is a combo hero, taking a page out of fighting games. We want to keep that feeling while moving him to the tank role”

(regarding Power Block) “When you block a hard-hitting attack, you get powered up instantly. It almost feels like a parry.”

These two lines instantly made me breathe a sigh of relief that they are sticking to his fighting game roots.

The Street Fighter series introduced the parry mechanic in Street Fighter 3, and subsequently, Ryu and Gill also had this parry ability in Street Fighter 5.

The parry instantly nullifies the damage incoming from a single attack, but the caveat is that you have to time the parry to be perfectly in sync with the incoming attack to actually nullify it. You are also able to parry consecutively, but it takes a considerable amount of skill to do that.

When I playtested Doomfist in the Overwatch 2 PvP beta, I was sorely disappointed that I couldn't activate Power Block at any point in time. The ability stays up until you cancel it or when the timer runs out, and will enter an 8-second cooldown.

I felt like this was no different from Zarya's personal Particle Barrier — it was not very "fighting game" at all.

One thing I wish I could have done with Power Block is to whip it out anytime I want, much like Reinhardt's shield, which I'd also consider similar to a fighting game parry.

Power Block could have a cooldown after the Rocket Punch charge meter is fully filled, or have a cooldown if you use the Rocket Punch prematurely before the meter is full.

Dante's Royal Guard mechanic from Devil May Cry would be a good reference point. (Editor's note: We're sorry for all the non-Overwatch game references, clearly, Dom plays a lot of games)

Whatever it is, the current version of Power Block doesn't feel like a fighting game mechanic or reference. It just feels like a 'worse' version of Zarya's ability.

Conclusion

Doomfist definitely feels a lot more different than his original Overwatch version.

His game plan has changed, and his playstyle has also change significantly. He isn't as squishy as before and is able to create openings for your team to make short work of the enemy.

However, his new Power Block ability does feel a little lackluster, even though it serves its purpose in his kit. It just doesn't feel very 'fighting game'-ish.

However, this is just a beta.

Activision Blizzard may look to tweak his abilities further before the official release of the game, and I am praying that he will get the necessary changes to make him feel like a fighting game character again.

Dominic loves tech and games. When he is not busy getting headshotted in VALORANT or watercooling anything he sees, he does some pro wrestling.

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