An ode to hard-working, salt-of-the-earth Torbjörn

We love Overwatch. So we assembled 22 of our best writers and set them to work—a writer to jump into the skin (or robotic shell) of each character. The result is 22 odes. You can use the Overwatch odes” tag to leaf through them all, or use the handy list at the bottom of this post.


Torbjörn is a dwarf. He builds things. What Blizzard did to come up with Torbjörn was look at Team Fortress 2 and say, “Which World of Warcraft archetype would the Engineer be?” Obviously the answer is dwarf, because dwarves are squat and grumpy, and they build things.

You play Torbjörn because you want to play tower defense

I can’t tell you what it’s like to play Torbjörn, because I have never played him. In my nine hours of Overwatch I have never played anyone but Pharah. What I can tell you is what it’s like to play against Torbjörn.  

Torbjörn builds a turret. He has some other skills, which I looked up and promptly forgot, but really his defining ability is the turret. The turret sits in one place and shoots at enemy players. Because the turret is immobile, Pharah’s rocket launcher is supposed to be good against it. But because I am a noob, this has not been my experience. When I try to shoot the turret, the turret shoots me back. I often miss. The turret does not.


Every class-based first-person shooter has at least one character designed for people who do not enjoy the core mechanics of first-person shooting. Hence: Torbjörn. Yes, he has a gun; yes, the gun does decent damage. But you don’t play Torbjörn because you want to click on people. You play Torbjörn because you want a turret to click on people for you. You play Torbjörn because you want to play tower defense.

And there’s nothing wrong with that! Overwatch is overtly committed to diversity. Characters from every region of the globe! Robots, cowboys, and a soft-spoken ape! Different body types and personalities and skillsets and playstyles! For a high-flying jetpack trooper like Pharah to feel unique, you need stolid, earthy heroes like Torbjörn to differentiate her from. In the landscape painting that is Overwatch, Torbjörn is not the brilliant sun, nor the softly waving fields of pink flowers; he’s the dirt in the foreground, the loamy soil at the foot of the trees, the simple and pastoral foundation without which the other elements, for all their beauty, would seem garish, lurid, and fundamentally incomplete.


Offensive Heroes

Genji – Genji is with you
McCree – Who you kidding? McCree is Overwatch‘s true shooter
Pharah – Don’t play fair, play Pharah, exclusively
Reaper – In defense of Reaper, the patron saint of mall-goth teens
Soldier 76 – Soldier 76 is here to make everyone else look good
Tracer – A series of limericks about Tracer, because why not

Defensive Heroes

Bastion – Bastion is the machine pointed at the world
Hanzo – Hanzo “looks like a good man,” my Japanese mom raves
Junkrat – I have fallen in love with Junkrat
Mei – Here comes Mei, the badass nerd hell-bent on revenge
Widowmaker – Widowmaker made a widow of me

Tank Heroes

D.Va – An ode to D.Va, the sassiest dream girl this side of Overwatch
Reinhardt – An ode to Reinhardt, tortured scion of a broken land
Roadhog – An ode to Roadhog is an ode to ugliness
Winston – Winston, the Science Gorilla, is in charge
Zarya – Zarya makes Mother Russia her bitch

Support Heroes

Ana – Ana is the protective mother we all want
Lucio – Inside the idiot party-bubble of Lucio
Mercy – Mercy is the most terrifying character in Overwatch
Symmetra – Go ahead, sleep on Symmetra
Zenyatta – Praise be to Zenyatta, then chill the heck out