… And this is why I haven’t even touched anything Overwatch in Heroes of the Storm. Yet.
I won’t say that Zarya isn’t a bad character overall. I tried her a few times and for the most part, she’s kind of fun to use, if a bit risque. She can certainly tank up and get to the frontlines to wreak havoc and a well-timed ultimate of hers can make the difference in battle. But somehow, considering than we tend to get less than savory teammates that maybe don’t know what they’re doing, Zarya sticking out can end up very suicidal because you’re shielding yourself or making plays… no one backs you up. Or you shield a friend, they’re too afraid to go forward. She has no bullet control, no obvious shields. While she has her shield that increases her attack power the more she’s hit, she’s still taking damage that a focus fire is still going to kill her and accomplish nothing.
Still, if you happen to be with understanding teammates, which is, rare, Zarya is a blast to play through. Teamwork and communication definitely are keys important to make Zarya a lot more efficient as a tank. So if you know you’re in a good team, either via premade or you’re just being lucky, you can really have fun with her. Just make sure they know what Zarya is capable of.
Now onto the design… I dunno, but while Blizzard is known to put on stereotypes, Zarya’s seems to be one of the most stereotypical. Right, so she’s supposed to be this Russian woman. Is she a muscular Husky Russkie? Check. Thick Russian accent? Check. Looks very butch with short hair? Check! Hyper-tomboyish activities? Aside of that pink hair and nails, CHECK. Assigned as a Tank because of power? CHECK!! I’m not sure, but she seems to be designed mainly to appeal big-sized tomboyish women these days. Now, it’s great to see these type of women having a representative, and maybe it’s just me… but I believe that’s not the sole reason to like a character. I guess everyone has different tastes, while I’m not sure if I find Zarya to my tastes, if others like how she looks and think she’s sexy, well, who am I to disagree.
Next up, story-wise, thankfully, Zarya has a lot more colors and flaws to make her less of an “I’m Russian” stereotype. For starters, she’s one of the more racist characters in the game and even have trouble trusting half-machines as a result. But, well, who can blame her when she grew up in a country that promotes anti-Omnic movement, having her prospect of good athletic career destroyed by herself in order to protect her beloved motherland. From those Omnics. Sure, she’s not aware of the behind-the-scenes thing about her nation’s hero Katya Volskaya that would make the latter hypocritical to promote anti-Omnic movement, but secretly got help from Omnic… but I believe that Zarya isn’t the type to care, after all, hypocritical or not, that deal helped Russia stand as a nation, and that’s all that mattered for Zarya. She’s adult enough to not let herself get carried over with overly idealistic notion of ‘Hypocrisy is bad, don’t be a hypocrite no matter the cost’.
Not the kind of story that engages me the best, but it explains her well enough. I’d be fine if Zarya doesn’t even join the new Overwatch, but a good alliance after they help out for motherland’s problems out of good will could be nice.
I think that it’s just that overall her design didn’t click on me so much, combined with how hard she is to use solo that she ranked so low in this. But I appreciate Zarya’s place in the story, she’s got a balanced good traits (patriotism, desire for peace) and bad ones that are at least understandable (racism), so I don’t think she’s a bad character overall (then again, none of the characters are, everyone got potential to get better). Just probably not quite my style.
I’ll see you later.