Highlights The new Support hero, Illari, has sparked discussion among the community on whether she needs a nerf, though her story may also need some adjusting. Illari’s origin story is impactful and works on its own, but she feels disconnected from the wider Overwatch 2 universe and lacks meaningful relationships with other characters. Blizzard should strive to give Illari some friendships and rivalries in future comics, short stories, cinematics, and dialogue.
Overwatch 2’s massive Season 6 update has finally arrived, and fans have had plenty to say about Invasion. While the brevity and pricing of Overwatch 2’s story missions have come under fire, most fans seem to agree that the lore and character development provided by PvE has been a big win for the series. Overwatch 2’s progression system has added some much-needed depth for those who sink hours into the hero shooter, while Flashpoint’s new maps are certainly as massive as Blizzard promised. Still, it is new Support hero Illari that has sparked the most discussion, and Blizzard will have to address one complaint eventually.
Gameplay-wise, the Overwatch 2 community seems undecided on whether the hero needs a nerf. Though she can be a nightmare in the hands of a player with good aim, hitting her damage too hard could make her a less viable counter to Pharah – something Support users have wanted for a long time. Regardless of whether Blizzard nerfs Illari or leaves her the same as she transitions into the competitive playlist, it should make an effort to tie her more to the existing roster from a narrative standpoint. Right now, fans have rightly pointed out that Illari feels like a character from another game.Illari Desperately Needs Some Connections to The Rest of Overwatch 2’s Cast
To be clear, Illari’s origin story is terrific and is undoubtedly one of the most impactful bits of lore in the franchise. Accidentally killing one’s family is about as rough as it gets, and though Overwatch 2 has regretful heroes like Hanzo already, Illari’s trauma seems unmatched. Her level of power seems nearly unparalleled, too, with only Sigma being stronger canonically. Beyond that, the Inti Warriors are a fascinating faction, with the group providing representation for another part of the world and begging to be explored further.
Still, though Illari’s story is terrific on its own, the character feels almost completely disconnected from the wider Overwatch 2 universe. The Inti Warriors have come almost completely out of left field, with no noteworthy mentions of them prior to Illari’s debut. Not only is this faction completely fresh, but Illari’s origin story video does not provide any real info about where the character will go next. Though she wants to make up for her deadly mistake, fans get no insight into how she plans to make amends.
Perhaps Illari will stick to her corner of the world and protect her people like Kiriko, but even Kiriko has deep ties to the Shimada brothers and a clear place within the existing Overwatch universe. The same can be said for all the other characters that have bee added to the hero shooter, as they all have at least one connection to speak of. Ana is Pharah’s mother, Sigma and Sombra are brought into Talon, and Wrecking Ball was part of the same colony as Winston. Even recent additions have clear ties, be it Lifeweaver and Vishkar or Junker Queen and her fellow Junkers.
Illari desperately needs more canon relationships with the existing Overwatch 2 roster, or she risks forever feeling like she does not belong. While that could work to her advantage to some extent, as her past failure likely leaves her feeling like an outcast, that trait needs to be properly explored by Blizzard in shorts, comics, or cinematics. Seeing her join Overwatch, butt heads with Talon, or repel an Omnic attack in her homeland would go a long way to making her feel better integrated into the hero shooter.
Overwatch 2’s characters and relationships have always been its biggest strength. It’s why fans were happy to see Reinhardt, Torbjorn, and Brigitte together in the Gothenburg mission, and it is why the tease of content focused on Ramattra and Zenyatta is so exciting. Similarly, it is why fans cannot wait to see Hanzo and Genji reconcile one day. Whether they be friendships or rivalries, Illari needs relationships that fans can get invested in sooner rather than later.
Overwatch 2 is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.