On March 20 2018, Blizzard added Brigitte to Overwatch. For the next year and a half, they nerfed her eight times and never buffed her once. I think that’s a pretty clear indicator of how horrendously she was broken on launch.
The problem wasn’t that she could do everything. I mean, she could, but most of the supports are pretty versatile in this game. So what if she had a shield to block damage, a flail to deal damage at any range without reloading, a healing method that let her heal at close or long-range and convert extra healing into armor? All of that was honestly fine. It was the darn 5-second stun that made her such a hindrance on the field to all the classes that were supposed to counter healers.
Every five seconds she could smash her shield into somebody and almost guarantee they were going to die. Even after Blizzard reduced the damage and made barriers block it, she could still ruin channeled ults, Reinhardt charges, and most abilities that came with warm-up animations. Me personally, I found myself playing Moira more than ever because of how hard Brigitte shut down Lucio, having the same effective healing range but multiple ways to bounce the poor frog around like a pinball and murder him with or without teammate support.
She’s better now, thankfully. Been quite a while since anyone was accusing Brigitte of being OP. But I’m still not a fan of her, even though I can play her pretty effectively. It just seems weird to me that she fits more as an off-tank than a support. She’s the only ‘third support’ in the game since she’s better at negating enemy damage than she is at healing the team, but she’s also not good enough at tanking to be a main tank. She’s the closest thing the Overwatch cast has right now to a jack-of-all-trades, master of none.
Her gimmick is granting armor, especially since they removed armor kits completely from Torbjorn’s kit. I guess that kinda fits since she’s the only character in Overwatch who can heal allies and block enemy damage, (unless you count Lucio’s short-lived ultimate). In fact, she heavily encroaches on Lucio’s territory, since she also focuses on area-of-effect heals. And while he will always outclass her in the mobility department, she’s got some tricks up her sleeve with the quirky ‘shield jump’:
Last but not least, I can’t stand her writing. Overwatch is not a well-written game in general, but they didn’t even try with Brigitte. Nothing she says has any personality whatsoever. When Mercy heals her? “That feels good!” When respawning? “Practise makes perfect!” Even when she looks through the telescope on Horizon Lunar Colony, a spot where every hero gets a very character-reinforcing line? A completely generic “It really makes you think…” Part of me feels like perhaps Blizzard didn’t give the writers much to work with, since her whole backstory is just her relationship with Torbjorn and Reinhardt, but that’s more than the Team Fortress 2 writers had to work with on any of the nine mercenaries. I bet if they’d made her insane (perhaps delusionally-medieval like Killing Floor 2‘s Tom Banner) she’d have been a far more interesting character.
As it stands now, she’s just kinda…there. Even abilitywise, she doesn’t have any dedicated battlefield role and nobody needs to pay much attention to her so long as they ensure she’s not in stunning range when popping channeled ults. Or standing near ledges.
And even then, for some reason the game doesn’t like giving her credit for environmental kills.
It’s like nothing about the character is allowed to be unequivocally satisfying, everything’s got to have strings attached. I can think of no better way to end this article than to link to the greatest Brigitte moment in Overwatch League history, which was memorable specifically because the player chose not to actually use her: