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It’s been very clear for a while now that Doomfist’s much-anticipated arrival onto the Overwatch scene hasn’t been met with the desired reaction. Of course, there will forever be the community’s long-standing hatred of heroes that can one-shot other heroes, but that doesn’t tell the full story.
After being announced three weeks ago, Doomfist balance threads have been so numerous on the Overwatch forums that they’ve all been combined into one place. Overwatch players know this as “megathread hell” where Blizzard sweeps balance complaints under the rug. Of course, that’s not an entirely fair assessment of a purely housekeeping-oriented measure, but it does go to show that the most vocal players are already more fed up with Doomfist than anyone would have expected following his very recent release on July 27.
As many players have noted, perhaps outlined best by this Force Gaming video, Doomfist’s Rocket Punch ability, the one that can be charged up to deal 100 damage plus an additional 150 if the target hits the wall, has a shall we say “strange” hitbox. Picture it as a giant nose-down football in front of him, hitting high, low and a little bit to either side of his target. More than that, the Rocket Punch hitbox strikes even several feet in front of the actual strike.
This has led to seemingly impossible hits that go through walls, cars and other obstacles, because the hitbox apparently doesn’t account for collision with the environment. Many people attribute this issue to latency, but as GameRevoltuion and several other outlets have tested, this certainly seems to be a hitbox issue, which explains hits on people standing still (not affected by latency) on a level below Doomfist still getting hit by Rocket Punch.
Because Blizzard has yet to comment on these issues in any capacity, we have no idea what their thought process is behind this hitbox. Did they intend it to be that way? Was it to compensate for the fact that using yourself as a melee projectile is difficult, especially for fast-moving targets like the ones Doomfist is supposed to counter (those in the “dive-comp”)? Is it a bug? Are they going to change it?
That said, it does seem that the writing is on the wall for a change of some kind. At very least, because that hitbox for Rocket Punch doesn’t even pass the eyeball test. This is the same core reason that led to Roadhog’s first hook changes. If he hooked someone whose momentum carried them behind cover, they would still be pulled, but that just didn’t look right to players, making the experience of being hooked under those circumstances frustrating. More than anything Blizzard has a proven track record of erring on the side of making heroes feel logical and consistent.
So how could he be changed? At least a slight reduction to the Rocket Punch hitbox is a gimme. That said, assuming they wanted Doomfist’s hitbox to have some considerable width and depth to it, it’s likely that they’ll do something along the lines of the original change to Roadhog’s hook, which was to implement a line-of-sight check. With a hook, this is much easier; once the hook landed, the game would do a LoS check to see if Roadhog could still see his target. If not, no hook.
It might be a little more difficult to implement with Doomfist, but it seems some check to make sure there isn’t anything in the way of Doomfist and his Rocket Punch target would go a long way. That way, in open space, Doomfist can still have that extra distance on his hitbox to hit those pesky, elusive targets. But in closed quarters, making use of cover, it won’t feel like you just got punched by Casper the friendly Doomfist.