Hero 30 has finally arrived! It hasn’t been too long since hero 29, but any Overwatch update is always more than welcome. In traditional fashion, Blizzard released a brief teaser a few days before dropping the official new character short. There was some brief speculation about whether the new hero would fill a support or tank role, but hero 30 is officially a support DPS. Let’s take a look at the new support hero, Baptiste, and how he fits into existing lore and gameplay.
Talon Wants Him
On February 21st, Blizzard released a coded Talon message from a senior analyst, Trung Le Nguyen, with a recovered personal log. The log belonged to a Captain D. Cuerva, who apparently commanded a missing Talon strike team in Port-de-Paix, Haiti.
Cuerva’s log details a mission to Haiti to either retrieve or eliminate one Jean-Baptiste Augustin. Captain Cuerva emphasizes that “no one leaves Talon,” and that Talon needs Baptiste “now more than ever.” For what, exactly, we’ll have to wait and see.
In the meantime, Cuerva notes that he sent an agent for supplies who never returned. When he sent two more to locate the first, none of the three returned. He then received a box with their Talon badges and a note that said, ‘come find me, Cuerva.’ Cuerva mobilizes to go after Baptiste and ends the log still hopeful that he can convince Baptiste to return to Talon.
But He Doesn’t Want Talon
A few days later, Blizzard released Baptiste’s origin story short. The short confirms that Cuerva was not successful – Baptiste did not return to Talon. Instead, he seems to be an interesting new rogue and/or rebel addition to the cast who could have some long-lasting lore implications with any Talon secrets he may be willing to share.
The short reveals that Baptiste, like Sombra, was one of 30 million children orphaned during the Omnic Crisis. Baptiste survived in the kill-or-be-killed ruins of Haiti by any means necessary. Talon offered him a way to ‘rise above [his] circumstances,’ and he accepted. Over time, however, he realized that ‘making a living [was] not enough, you must make a difference.’ Baptiste left Talon intent on fighting for a better world, be it through bandage or bullet.
Jeff Kaplan later clarified in Baptiste’s developer update that Baptiste fought during the Omnic Crisis as a combat medic for the special forces of the Caribbean Coalition. However, he needed work after the Omnic Crisis and joined a Talon mercenary group in need of his abilities. He did not realize how evil Talon was when joining, and was eventually driven to split by his conflicting moral compass.
The Support DPS We Needed
Baptiste is shaping up to be quite the support DPS. His weapon is a mid-range submachine gun which Kaplan dubbed the ‘Medic SMG.’ It fires in quick bursts of three, and otherwise reminds me a lot of Soldier: 76’s pulse rifle if his rockets were Ana’s healing grenades. Speaking of, his alt fire is a Biotic Launcher loaded with healing grenades. The grenades, of course, splash heal within a small radius. According to Kaplan, he is slated to become a primary healer, and he definitely feels capable in PTR.
In addition to the healing grenades, Regenerative Burst is Baptiste’s primary ability. The quick burst heals surrounding teammates over time. This, too, reminds me a bit of 76’s biotic field, combined, maybe, with the more effective healing power of Lucio. Baptiste can’t heal himself with his grenades, so this is especially handy for maintaining his own health.
Immortality Field is Baptiste’s second ability. Every twenty seconds he can launch a device which expands into a large cylinder that makes teammates effectively immortal. Anyone within the cylinder can still take damage. But the cylinder prevents teammates’ health from dropping below a very low percentage.
The team is still easily wipe-able if left at such low health when the field goes down. The other team can also destroy the field by attacking the device in the center, similar to Orisa’s ult. But the field is a really cool counter to common team-wiping ults like Junkrat’s Rip Tire.
Most of the time, Baptiste’s mobility is on par with Soldier: 76. However, Baptiste comes with a cool new method of disengaging. While crouching, Baptiste’s Exo Boots build a jump meter.
Baptiste can then jump while crouched to the height of the meter’s charge. This feels pretty darn great in practice, and allows him to capitalize on healing grenade splash damage from well above a fight.
Last but certainly not least, Baptiste’s ult could be a bit of a game changer. The Amplification Matrix is a clear wall, placed exactly like Mei’s. All damage is significantly boosted when teammates shoot through the matrix.
The damage boost is certainly noticeable, but doesn’t feel horribly overpowered. As Kaplan pointed out, it will be most useful when combo’d with other teammates. If placed correctly, Baptiste’s ult will be incredibly useful for breaking shields, initiating pushes, and wiping points.
Welcome To The Family, Baptiste
Overall, I had an absolute blast with him just messing around in the practice range on PTR. There’s always the concern that players will drag Baptiste down the dps-only route like Moira, or any healer, for that matter. But I think Blizzard did a great job balancing his damage and healing abilities so that he doesn’t feel like just another boring healer, somewhat removed from the fight. He feels great, is extremely versatile and fun to play, and I’m definitely looking forward to him going live.
Baptiste is currently on the PTR, and will be coming to console shortly. Are you looking forward to testing out Hero 30? Is Baptiste your new favorite hero? Let us know what you think in the comments below, and get your wombos ready!