Is it a ball? Is it a hamster? It’s both! Wrecking Ball, or Hammond, rolls in as Overwatch’s 28th hero and he brings so many unique qualities to every aspect of the game: He’s a hamster, he can roll around and swing himself quickly across maps, and he uses synthesized speech to taunt his enemies with expressions such as “Get rekt.” Moreover, the conversation around more mobility with tanks could change up what we typically see in the Overwatch League. Here is a closer insight to Specimen 8’s lore, capabilities, and overall contribution to the tank line-up.
In @PlayOverwatch’s Youtube introduction video of Hammond, we hear another one of Harold Winston’s journal entries, taken during the outbreak on Horizon Lunar Colony. Hammond is seen constructing an escape pod during the chaos and managed to escape along with Winston (the gorilla). Depicted as the most curious specimen to have been examined, his pod cable snaps off in space and he winds up in the outer limits of Junkertown. Harold mentions that Hammond is looking for something and that he has “impressive problem solving skills and adaptability to new situations.” Though we do not know for certain what he is searching for, he definitely joins the game with some unique abilities.
Hammond is the 7th tank released. Rated a 3-star difficulty, this gigantic hamster has a loadout with 6 abilities: Quad Cannons, Grapping Claw, Roll, Piledriver, Adaptive Shield, and his ultimate ability, Minefield. He is the first hero to use the Left Control button (for PC users with default keys) which could be a bit tricky to adapt. I would recommend to reassign it.
Regardless of that, it is obvious that these abilities are designed to dive, harass and disrupt the enemy team. For example, Hammond could use Roll and Grappling Claw to hoist himself up to popular sniper spots, surprise the enemy Widowmaker, and quickly get out with little to no damage taken, especially with his Adaptive Shield up. The problem with this technique is that 3 of his abilities are used and is left
to wait on his cooldowns, which is his biggest weakness. Much like Doomfist, Wrecking Ball relies on chaining his abilities to become an effective teammate, making Sombra his hard counter. On top of that, Sombra recently got a buff, one of which allows her to use her translocator for a longer period of time and practically provides infinite hacks for the team with the additional buff of disabling certain heroes’ passive abilities like Genji’s wallclimb and Pharah’s jet.
Since Wrecking Ball is the most mobile tank to date, anti-dive heroes such as Brigitte, McCree, and Mei are also helpful in blocking his dives. On the other hand, his Piledriver ability also stuns enemies in a certain range of his landing spot, sending them flying up for a brief moment without a chance to flee. It may or may not be ult-cancelling, like McCree’s flashbang, but it can definitely put a stop to coordinated attacks.
Moving along his list of abilities, Wrecking Ball has Adaptive Shield, which can grant him a maximum of 1300 HP when activated with the most number of enemies surrounding him, though it averages between 700-900 HP. Going back to the example of him disrupting the Widowmaker, he could use his shield to get out in case the enemy team decides to do some blast damage. However, this does not protect him from several heroes’ ultimate abilities, so he needs to exercise caution when attempting to disrupt in the first place, especially without a healer pocketing him. Last but not least, Wrecking Ball’s ultimate, Minefield, deploys a few dozen laser-activated balls within a certain range. At its maximum extension, it could span almost an entire objective, but it could be confined within a narrow hallway, denying chokepoints for a certain period of time. Obviously this does not stop flying heroes such as Pharmercy, but his ult applies to the majority of grounded heroes. As far as damage is concerned, many squishy heroes will be killed on one hit, such as Tracer, but tanks could withstand a few hits before being finished off, which truly makes them the only heroes capable of contesting objectives in last-minute pushes.
All in all, Wrecking Ball elaborates on the general lore of Overwatch and provides some answers to tank mobility and disruption. What could this intelligent hamster be up to in Junkertown? Could his ability to infinitely roll around maps be nerfed? We shall see once he rolls into servers soon! Hammond is currently available to play on the Overwatch PTR on PC.