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The truth about Overwatch's new hero, Echo

There's a new hero on the horizon. Blizzard released a brief teaser, offering just a taste of the mysterious Echo. Thanks to this teaser, and some more hints on social media, players know more about Echo than ever before. It's a good thing too, because she's been on the community's mind for awhile. 

When will Echo release? What's her position? How important is she to the story? At last, Blizzard has provided some answers.

Echo is an echo of Dr. Mina Liao

The origin story teaser is narrated by none other than Dr. Mina Liao, a character who has generated a lot of buzz. She's one of the founding members of Overwatch — so why haven't you heard from her before? There's a rather bleak reason why: this video contains her dying thoughts. Before taking up Jack Morrison's offer to help him create Overwatch, Dr. Liao was one of the head designers of the omnics that eventually rose up, causing a calamity that warranted the creation of a crack team of heroes.

She only ever wanted to make the world a better place. She regrets the part she played in the creation of the omnics, but she hopes that in her place, her "life's work" will be able to make a difference. Enter Echo: "Her legacy. Her promise. Her echo." This sleek, smart, and seemingly caring omnic is unlike any you've seen before.

This isn't Echo's first appearance

Except, many have seen her before. Players have actually known about Echo for quite a long time. She first appeared in the "Reunion" cinematic that revolved around McCree, Ashe, BOB, and their respective revolvers. Echo had apparently been shut off for a long time, considering her surprise at McCree's own omnic arm. The developer update video hosted by Overwatch's creative director, Jeff Kaplan, revealed Echo had actually been seized and quarantined by the U.S. government. McCree at one time acted at Dr. Liao's guard, which is why he wanted to activate and unleash Echo.

Surprise: she's a damage hero

Echo used to help out the Overwatch strike team before she was shut down. This is why Winston and the gang are familiar with her when she glides in to help during the Overwatch 2 cinematic trailer. In the video, you get a taste of her abilities, but Blizzard has since provided players with a more in-depth look. 

Despite the internet theorizing she would be a support character, Echo is actually a unique damage hero. Similar to Mercy and Pharah, Echo is floaty; her passive ability is Glide, allowing her to glide while falling and her Flight ability allows her to — you guessed it — fly freely. Her other abilities are focused on wreaking the most damage possible. She has a shotgun-like Tri-Shot that fires projectiles in a triangle pattern. Echo can also unleash Sticky Nombs which naturally stick to things before detonating. What's more is she has a Focusing Beam that does serious damage to anyone or anything (think barriers) that have less than 50% health.

Her ultimate is truly the ultimate ability

This brings you to Echo's ultimate ability: Duplicate. See, the thing about Echo is that Dr. Liao outfitted her with a special AI program that allows her to learn by observing. This ultra-advanced AI is what fuels her ability to become anyone. Duplicate lets Echo become any character on the enemy team, no matter their position. Her powers are switched out with theirs. She can resurrect fallen teammates as Mercy, call down nukes as D.Va, and roll around as Junkrat.

Kaplan described this as "the most game-changing ability" and players are in agreement. That's not necessarily a positive thing, however. On Twitter, players are tweeting about their experiences with Echo on the public test server. For the most part, they've concluded the Duplicate ability is insanely powerful, so much so that it kind of breaks the game. "If Echo dies during her ultimate, she doesn't actually die she just loses the duplicate. That's so broken," tweeted one player.

Fans are predicting Echo will be nerfed significantly before joining the live game meta. For now, Kaplan says Echo will have a long stay on the public test server while the folks at Blizzard work out any issues with Hero 32.