Character Overview is a series that introduces readers to the Heroes of the Overwatch Universe. This week, we’re going to be talking about Zenyatta, the Omnic Support hero.
Deep in the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal lies a secluded Monastery, home to the Shambali, an order of Omnic Monks. Founded shortly after the end of the Omnic Crisis, the Shambali believe that—like Humans—Omnics have a soul, and that both Humans and Omnics can be united through the Iris.
Zenyatta—or Tekhartha Zenyatta, his official title—was once one of these monks, and shared the beliefs they did. He was an avid student of Tekhartha Mondatta (the leader of the Shambali), and worked hard to promote the order’s ideals.
When Genji arrived at the Shambali Monastery consumed by hatred, it was Zenyatta who helped the young man understand that revenge would accomplish nothing. In order for Genji to gain true healing, Zenyatta explained, he had to forgive his brother. This was a difficult teaching, but eventually Genji came to accept it, and he left the Monastery a changed man.
For many years, Zenyatta continued in his role at the Monastery. However, over time Zenyatta came to believe that merely preaching about Human-Omnic equality wasn’t enough. If there was to be true peace between Omnics and Humans, the Shambali needed to go out into the world and build relationships between the two factions.
Zenyatta brought his ideas before Mondatta in the hope that his mentor would see things the way he did. To Zenyatta’s surprise, however, the leader of the Shambali completely disagreed with the younger monk’s assessment. A heated argument ensued, and in the end, Zenyatta decided that he had no choice but to leave the Monastery that had been his home for so long.
Since then, Zenyatta has traveled the world, helping those in need. Everywhere he goes, relationships between Humans and Omnics improve, and the two factions actually begin to work together, instead of against each other. Zenyatta was actually beginning to make a true difference—but then, everything changed.
Tekhartha Mondatta was assassinated by a lone sniper during a visit to King’s Row, and immediately, tensions between Omnics and Humans soared. Without anyone to keep the peace, violence quickly broke out all over the world, as Humans and Omnics clashed in the streets.
Zenyatta was saddened by the loss of his former mentor—however, he refused to let that stop him. His help was needed now, more than ever before, so he continued on his mission of peace, a mission that he still pursues to this day.
Weapon and Abilities:
In battle, Zenyatta wields his Orbs of Destruction, which are powerful energy balls that deal heavy damage on contact with an enemy. Normally, Zenyatta fires these orbs one at a time, but he can also charge up to five orbs at a time for a devastating Orb Volley.
Zenyatta’s first ability is Orb of Harmony. Zenyatta casts a golden healing orb onto an allied hero, and as long as that ally remains within Zenyatta’s line of sight, the orb will restore 30 health per second to the targeted hero. Orb of Harmony isn’t as powerful as some heals, but it can be used from long range, which allows Zenyatta to support flankers such as Tracer or Genji.
Zenyatta’s second ability, Orb of Discord, is the complete opposite of his Orb of Harmony. Zenyatta casts a dark purple orb onto an enemy hero, and they take 30% increased damage as long as they remain inside Zenyatta’s line of sight. This is a very powerful effect, as it allows teams to quickly burn down even the toughest enemy targets.
Once Zenyatta has received enough Ultimate charge (either from healing or using his Orbs of Destruction to damage enemies), he can use Transcendence. This Ultimate makes Zenyatta immune to damage, massively increases his movement speed and causes him to heal nearby allies for 300 health per second. This is an incredibly powerful Ultimate, and can be used to shut down nearly any offensive ability.
Zenyatta is a challenging Support hero, who dishes out a lot of damage at the cost of reduced healing and no mobility. He can kill most non-tank characters with 3-5 shots, and with the help of Orb of Discord Zenyatta can even chew through Roadhog’s 600 health without much difficulty.
Zenyatta’s Orb of Harmony only heals for 30 health per second, which is much lower than what Mercy’s beam (50 health per second) or Ana’s gun (75 health per shot). As a result, he isn’t a good solo healer, but he’s a great secondary support thanks to his ability to spot heal.
Transcendence is one of the strongest Ultimates in the game, as it can singlehandedly shut down multiple offensive Ultimates at once. Has Zarya used her Graviton Surge, and Genji is coming with Dragonblade? Zenyatta just has to use Transcendence, and all the damage is neutralized. Unfortunately, because Transcendence just heals (rather than granting a shield) instant burst abilities like Junkrat’s Rip-Tire will kill heroes even if they’re inside the healing field.
Zenyatta synergizes very well with Offense characters such as Genji or Tracer, as he can toss out his Orb of Harmony to quickly heal them up from a distance. His Orb of Discord also synergizes really well with Offense characters, as once he marks an enemy hero, his allies can quickly burn the enemy down.
On the other hand, Zenyatta is also very weak against characters such as Genji and Tracer, as once they set their sights on his robotic body, there is no way for him to escape. Zenyatta’s only chance is to stand and fight, and while occasionally he’ll get lucky and pick off his attacker, he’ll usually just end up dead.
Zenyatta is a very versatile hero, so he fits in on most maps. He’s especially strong on King of the Hill and Capture Point maps, as Transcendence can easily protect everyone in the capture zone, but he’s just fine on the Escort and Hybrid as well.
Overall, Zenyatta is a challenging hero to play, but his power easily makes him one of the better characters in the game.