If one Overwatch 2 hero has been the fixation of many angry comments this past season, it’s Roadhog. This oblong asthmatic has been a mainstay of Overwatch for years, used primarily by players with a deep mistrust for their healer. But as the meta has evolved, so has Roadhog’s place in it, and there is no shortage of people calling for him to be nerfed.
But Roadhog is fine just the way he is and a nerf to his abilities would put him at the bottom of any OW2 selection pool. Here’s why.
Will Roadhog be Nerfed into Oblivion in Overwatch 2?
Here’s a spicy take: streamers shouldn’t dictate what heroes should receive buffs and nerfs. Their entire job is to maintain your interest in whatever way they can, and not everything should be taken as gospel.
What’s more important is the cold hard facts.
Roadhog is not the most picked Tank in Overwatch Competitive Leagues. At any rank or on any platform. That coveted position belongs to either Orisa if you’re on PC or Reinhardt if you’re on console. Which, OK, his presence isn’t oppressive, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t busted, you might say.
Then why is Roadhog’s win percentage always below 50%? You are more likely to lose with a Roadhog on your team than you are to win with him. The Grandmaster win rate for Roadhog is 47.65% on PC and 48.70% on console. If he can delete four out of five members of the enemy team, shouldn’t he be endlessly snowballing matches?
Let’s take a look at Roadhog’s actual kit and the gameplay associated with it, and I think we’ll quickly see why.
Roadhog’s primary weapon is the Scrap Gun. This short-range shotgun offers damage between 49.5 – 165 per shot, five ammo, and a two-second reload animation. It’s slow, and it’s also a short-range weapon, with a falloff range of 15 to 30 meters.
To compensate for Roadhog’s limited damage per second and speed, he has the Chain Hook, which has a max range of 20 meters and a cooldown of 8 seconds. A properly aimed Chain hook will drag an enemy toward Roadhog. Now, here’s where people get mad.
Upon contact, the Chain Hook does 30 damage. A well-aimed scrap shot does 165 damage. And, if all of this is followed by a melee, it will do a total of 225 damage, killing most DPS and supports. Yes, it’s a strong combo.
It’s also a combo that’s easily played around, the same way you’d play around a Widow. If you see the massive tank that is Roadhog looking at you, don’t be in line of sight or too close. He gets his hook every 8 seconds and will generally need to be out in the open to land it. Once he throws it, he’s vulnerable, and you should take that time to pile in and do as much damage as possible.
As for hooks that “clip through” the environment and grab you, that’s a latency spike caused by your computer or console’s connection to the server. It looks unfair on your screen, but your screen has simply registered data a second too late.
If your next issue goes to Roadhog’s sustainability, that also doesn’t hold water. Nearly every tank in the game has a shield or method of deflecting damage. Roadhog has no shield, no crowd control, no way to dodge. His only ability to tank damage for his team is to absorb it and heal quickly while trying to shuffle out of the line of fire.
As it currently stands, Roadhog isn’t particularly strong, though biases created by the occasional one-shot kill and streamer babbling will have you think otherwise. He’s prominent in many competitive matches and quick play games because he’s independent. He doesn’t need to rely on his supports or DPS to survive. And in the lower ELOs, where players haven’t learned how to use cover, he can feel oppressive and unfair. Similar to how other self-sustaining characters, like Moira, can feel unbalanced.
In higher ELOs? He’s only able to function because of Kiriko, similar to how Sojourn can excerpt pressure because of Mercy. But unlike the Sojourn-Mercy combo, Roadhog needs Kiriko’s ultimate to become a threat truly. That’s because Kiriko gives Hog the movement necessary to move out into the open and land up to two hooks. But is a hero broken if they rely on another hero’s Ultimate?
Any nerfs to Roadhog’s kit, from his Scrap Gun to his ability Take a Breather, will put Roadhog into a similar position as Doomfist in Season 1 and destroy his entire utility. A tank’s role in any given team is to create space and take damage. Roadhog forces the other team to play around corners and cover for a limited range. If you can be reassured that the slow-moving, slow-reloading Hog can’t kill you by using every offensive ability he has, what’s stopping you from immediately jumping him and melting him?