The second Overwatch 2 beta gave me Junker Queen, and now I don’t want anything else. The aggressive tank has made my second go at Overwatch 2 far better than the first. Sure, I still fundamentally dislike the 5v5 format and the new lightning-fast, kill-heavy combat that has subsequently sprung from it, but Junker Queen is making the transition a bit easier. In fact, I think she may pull me away from playing support heroes entirely – a bold statement considering the hundreds of hours I have spent with Moira since their introduction in 2017.
Is Junker Queen the drink that helps me swallow the bitter pill that is a faster and more aggressive version of Overwatch? It certainly looks like it.
Harder, faster, stronger
Junker Queen is an absolute menace. She has a throwing knife that can be recalled with a magnetic glove that functions a lot like Roadhog’s hook, hurting enemies on the way out and back in. It can also pull foes slightly towards you or off ledges if you’re feeling extra cheeky, though it doesn’t have nearly as much pull as Hog’s. Her knife does wound damage as well, so you’ll hear the satisfying ticks of damage for a few moments after your knife is safely back in your hands. In fact, all of her abilities do wound damage, and passively heal her while it’s damaging enemies, so if you weren’t scared of her already, you should be now.
Equipped with a shotgun that does a decent amount of damage, Junker Queen can be incredibly lethal in the right hands. Timing shots between her abilities will have you flattening squishies: a single ax swing and shotgun shell will eat away 200HP. Between those two close-range weapons, she’s quite frankly terrifying to face off against in tight spaces, and her ability to self-heal means she doesn’t need to be babysat by healers.
But even though she’s just as aggressive as this new version of Overwatch, Junker Queen isn’t technically a selfish hero choice, as she has an ability that can buff the health of teammates who are within range. This means that she can drop in and support some of the lower-HP heroes during major firefights – of which there are tons.
Junker Queen feels incredible to play in Overwatch 2 because she was literally designed for this game. She’s the first new hero that is the amalgamation of what Blizzard has learned up through Overwatch 1 and what the team wants for the series’ future. For many players, however, it’s a sign of the game’s move towards a more traditional, fast-paced FPS that focuses on gun-toting enemies rather than simpatico team compositions. For healers like myself, playing her feels almost selfish after spending so much time focusing on supporting our teammates – even with her ability to temporarily buff her team’s health, Junker Queen is all about big, bold solo plays.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it sucks being an Overwatch 2 support player. With a tank slot removed and so many favoring aggressive diving over protecting their teammates, support players are often left out in the cold, ripe for headshots and other forms of DPS punishment. For much of the first Overwatch beta, it was hard for me to get a chance to try out new hero Sojourn or the revamped version of Orisa, as they were almost instantly picked by my teammates who were quicker on the draw.
Comfortable and confident with my Moira skills, I settled into my stereotypical healer role – and got thoroughly trounced match after match. Sure, I was pumping out a high amount of heals, but I was dying so often it almost didn’t matter. DPS and the more aggressive tanks were taking me out faster than I could say “cheers luv,” and I quickly grew tired of staring at the respawn screen. Being a healer is often a thankless job, but when you’re dying so much it feels like you can’t even make it to the objective, it becomes infuriating.
But with this second beta, I’ve gotten a chance to properly slide around as Sojourn, javelin Widowmakers with Orisa, and bring all the rage and power of the Australian outback to matches with Junker Queen. The awe-inspiring Aussie has clicked the most for me, but I realize that in accepting her I have fundamentally changed my approach to Overwatch matches. Since 2017, I’ve spent the majority of my time in Overwatch playing Moira and supporting my teammates, happily accepting a quiet “nice heals” dropped in the game chat over a Play of the Game badge of honor. But with Junker Queen’s aggressive play and my affinity for other FPS titles, I can feel my mindset shifting. I want the glory of Play of the Game and the thrill of a high-damage match.
As a reformed healer, I still believe Overwatch 2 feels too much like it’s courting traditional FPS fans and will thereby alienate a huge chunk of its player base. But as a newfound Junker Queen main, I’m not sure that I care.