Overwatch’s Roadhog gets a rework that’s bigger than it looks

Roadhog, one of the original Overwatch heroes, is getting a rework in the latest patch for Overwatch 2. While his core abilities — Scrap Gun, Chain Hook, and Take A Breather self-healing — aren’t going away, some of them are changing in noteworthy ways. He’s also getting a brand-new ability, Pig Pen, which will give Roadhog players another offensive tool to play with.

Roadhog’s Scrap Gun is getting streamlined, with his explosive secondary fire removed completely. Blizzard is instead combining his two methods of fire into one: His shotgun blast now includes a shrapnel volley of four large projectiles in the center of its shot, in addition to a spray of shotgun pellets.

“We looked at [Roadhog’s] primary fire and the secondary fire as two things that operate quite well, but as individual elements on the kit, weren’t doing enough contribution themselves,” Alec Dawson, lead hero designer on Overwatch 2, told Polygon in an interview over Zoom. “So we combined both of those in a way with the new Scrap Gun that plays a little bit better at range than Roadhog [used to].”

A third-person view of Roadhog’s new Scrap Gun fire in Overwatch 2 Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Here’s a breakdown of Scrap Gun’s changes, from Blizzard’s patch notes:

Scrap Gun

  • Previous secondary fire functionality has been removed.
  • Total damage per shot increased from 150 to 160.
  • Shotgun pellet count reduced from 25 to 16.
  • Shotgun pellet damage increased from 6 to 6.25.
  • Now fires a shrapnel volley of 4 large projectiles in the center of the shot.
  • Each shrapnel projectile deals 15 damage.
  • Critical damage multiplier reduced from 2x to 1.5x.

Roadhog’s self-healing ability, Take A Breather, is also getting some big changes. Foremost, it’s moving to the button previously used for his secondary fire. It’s also now resource-based, and when consumed, refills over time — similar to how Bastion’s self-repair ability used to work.

Rather than consume a whole bunch of healing at once, Roadhog players will instead be able to heal him a little or a lot, depending on how much healing gas (or, uh, tuna) is in the canister. (Minimum heal on Take A Breather will be 84 HP, up to 450 HP max.)

An infographic showing Roadhog’s reworked ability kit for Overwatch 2 Image: Blizzard Entertainment

“Turning Take A Breather into something that’s on a resource just allows him to be, for 95% of situations that he wants to use it, just as effective,” Dawson said of the change. “You’re still able to get that damage resistance. You’re still able to get that healing in. And then you don’t have to use the entire cooldown. You can only use half if you only need half. So it allows you just to play a lot better for your team, and tank damage when you may need to, and have damage reduction at-will, basically. That can be quite effective.

“Then if you look at things like stuns in our game or some sort of soft CC abilities — like Orisa’s spear that used to just knock you out of your ability entirely — when you’re using Take A Breather now, [Orisa] will just spear you and you’ll get the one-second cool down, but [Roadhog] can go right back to [healing]. So it softens some of the counters Roadhog had previously as well.”

Here’s how Take A Breather is changing, per Blizzard’s patch notes:

Take a Breather

  • Now activated by holding Secondary Fire.
  • Cooldown for each use decreased from 8 seconds to 1 second.
  • A new resource meter has been added. This meter will deplete while Take a Breather is active and then recharge when it’s not in use.
  • Take a Breather requires 12 seconds to reach full charge from empty.
  • At a full charge, Take a Breather can heal up to 450 health over 3 seconds.
  • Take a Breather will now remain active as long as its assigned hotkey is held.
  • An option to “Toggle Take a Breather” has been added under Options > Controls > Roadhog.
  • Damage reduction decreased from 50% to 30%.
  • No longer amplifies healing received upon ending.

Roadhog’s new ability Pig Pen lets him, like Junkrat, set a ground-based trap for the opposing team. But unlike Steel Trap, Pig Pen damages and slows enemies for a few seconds. It’s yet another soft crowd-control ability for Overwatch 2, not a full-on stun, but one that will get Roadhog players some new tactical options to consider: Do they try to Chain Hook opponents not only toward them, but into the path of Pig Pen? It might enable more one-shot kills for Roadhog, but could also be tricky to reliably pull off.

Roadhog’s Pig Pen trap activates, shocking a Training Bot, in a screenshot from Overwatch 2 Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Like Junkrat’s Steel Trap, Roadhog’s Pig Pen will be slightly obscured. Eagle-eyed opponents may spot its dome shape half-buried on the floors of maps. But if they don’t, and they trigger it, Pig Pen will knock any opponent caught in its radius upward slightly, slow them, and do damage to them over time.

“For [Pig Pen] we were looking at making this something where if you do catch someone in it, it feels very satisfying,” Dawson said of the new ability. “So getting that knock-up makes them a target for you with Chain Hook in particular. So they’re not just slowed a little bit, but they’re also in the air. So you’re able to kind of have this moment like, Alright, I can successfully hook you from there.”

From Blizzard’s patch notes:

Pig Pen

  • This is a new ability assigned to Ability 2 by default.
  • Launch a trap that slows and damages nearby enemies.
  • Deals 60 damage when triggered and 30 damage per second in an area.
  • 3-second duration once activated.
  • 40% movement speed slow.
  • Cooldown is 12 seconds.

Dawson said that Blizzard experimented with many iterations of Roadhog reworks over the past nine months, including giving him auras and shields. But Dawson said the Overwatch team didn’t want to deviate too much from the Chain Hook-Scrap Gun-melee combo that’s so central to the hero’s identity.

“There’s been a lot of good lessons throughout the last year about how all of our roles fit into 5v5, and how they might need to be adapted into 5v5,” Dawson said. “I think tanks in particular [were] something we knew going in, that there’s gonna be a bit more work there to translate all of them into this new format. With Roadhog, there’s a lot of good lessons here, like flexibility is key. It helps tanks just feel a lot more impactful if their abilities can’t be turned off so quickly.”

Dawson said that feedback from the community and creators has also had a big impact on Roadhog’s rework, and planned tweaks for the game’s next hero, Mauga.

“With Mauga, he just hit our preview server and we got a lot of great data,” Dawson said, “a lot of great feedback that we’re gonna [use to] make and adjust Mauga before he comes on season eight, to increase his survivability in particular. So I think we’ve learned a lot as a team there. You’ll see some of the way we’re designing tanks are a little bit different than we used to in terms of what they may need personally. And Take A Breather is sort of a translation of some of those lessons.”