UPDATE April 22: Developers have taken the patch offline since it caused massive server issues for console and PC players when devs attempted to set it live.
Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan said devs were "working on bringing it back up but it is unlikely to happen today."
Original story continues below:
A new Overwatch patch is hitting the live servers with some major nerfs to multiple heroes with stuns, or other CC (crowd control) abilities in their kits for testing in the Experimental Mode.
In a post on the game's official forums, Game Director Jeff Kaplan addressed the issue with CC abilities, and how the team is working to make them less oppressive.
“The term ‘crowd control’ or ‘cc’ is used to refer to abilities that heroes can do to other heroes that cause them to lose control of their character," he explained. "Examples include Mei’s ability to freeze you, Reinhardt knocking you down with Earthshatter or getting stuck in Junkrat’s trap."
“We understand that crowd control abilities can cause a lot of frustration. Any time control is taken away from you it generally doesn’t feel good,” he added.
While the patch features nerfs to the duration of Mei’s freeze, Brigitte’s Shield Bash, McCree’s Flashbang, Ana’s Sleep Dart and Reinhardt’s Earthshatter, there were a couple of small buffs and balance changes in the cards, too.
Sigma’s Accretion knockdown now has a fixed duration of 0.8 seconds, regardless of where the rock is thrown from. That said, the cast time has been reduced from 0.75 to 0.65 seconds, so Sigma players will be able to launch their rock faster - even if it means their target will be on the ground less often.
Additionally, Roadhog got a straight buff - sort of. As Kaplan explained, “We actually want to try to buff his Ultimate a little bit to make it more impactful. It’s not as much of a pure buff as it might seem at first – while you will knock enemies back more, you’re also likely to push them out of damage more (unless you corner them).”
In the patch notes, the knockback of Wholehog got increased by 20% - and while this may sound better, the fact that he knocks targets away could actually be a slight nerf, as foes will be blown away from his damage. We’ll have to see how it plays out.
According to Kaplan, the team has some big CC changes planned for Overwatch 2 that they’re working on internally. What those are, we’ll have to wait and see, but this patch should give players tired of being stunned something to appreciate.
The full patch notes can be found below:
HERO CHANGES (ONLY IN EXPERIMENTAL)
- Whole Hog knockback increased 20%
- Earthshatter knockdown duration lowered from 3 to 2.5 seconds
- Knockdown duration is now a fixed 0.8 second instead of scaling with distance
- Cast time reduced from 0.75 to 0.65 seconds
- Flashbang stun duration lowered from 0.85 to 0.7 seconds
- Endothermic Blaster freeze stun duration lowered from 1.5 to 1.3 seconds
- Blizzard duration lowered from 5 to 4.25 seconds
- Sleep duration lowered from 6 to 5 seconds
- Shield Bash stun duration lowered from 0.75 to 0.65 seconds