Even more hero balance changes have come to the Overwatch Public Test Realm (PTR) just days after a major patch brought its own swathe of adjustments.
The latest update to the PTR arrived on February 26 and was one of the biggest in recent memory. Not only did it introduce a brand-new hero, Baptiste, but it also made balance changes to a variety of heroes and even adjusted more general systems like how armor and knockbacks work.
It seems that Blizzard weren’t quite happy with the changes just yet, however, as Overwatch Lead Developer Geoff Goodman revealed that even more heroes would soon be getting balance adjustments on the PTR with a new update on February 28.
The new update made additional changes to Lúcio and McCree on top of those made by the original patch, while adding changes for Junkrat, Reaper, Symmetra, Zarya, and Zenyatta.
In combination with the changes already made by the initial update, these new features will mean that, if you include the addition of Baptiste as a “balance change,” 20 of the game’s 30 heroes will be adjusted by this patch.
Such a range of changes means the game will likely head for a major meta shake-up if the patch hits the live servers in its current state.
Though that might be something of an intimidating prospect for those who are accustomed to the existing state of play, such a major overhaul might well reinvigorate the game after months of many players complained about the prevailing meta.
Below are the official patch notes for the February 28 update:
- Impact damage increased from 40 to 60
Developer Comments: Junkrat is one of the best barrier and tank busters in the game, and this change will help solidify this role. This doesn’t change the Frag Launcher’s explosive damage, which remains at 80. The total damage for direct impact is now 140, up from 120.
Amp It Up
- Speed Boost’s amplification reduced from 70% to 50%
- Speed Boost’s effect reduced from 30% to 20%
- Soundwave now counts towards Offensive Assists
- Speed buff increased from 20% to 40%
Developer Comments: The knockback on Lúcio’s Soundwave is a great tool for pushing enemies into situations that get them killed, so they should be rewarded an offensive assist for doing so. Lúcio’s ability to increase his teammate’s speed was too strong, especially when used on high health/low range heroes. We’re decreasing the overall power of Lúcio’s Speed Boost but increasing the speed bonus he gets from using Wall Ride so his mobility isn’t impacted too much.
Fan the Hammer
- Damage reduced from 55 to 50
- Damage per second increased from 275 to 550 after locking onto targets for 1.5 seconds
Developer Comments: After reducing armor’s effectiveness for all heroes, Fan the Hammer doesn’t need to deal quite as much damage. Increasing Deadeye’s damage after being locked on for a bit makes it more effective when attacking high health, static targets (like barriers) and heroes with over 250 health. It will not impact how dangerous this is for heroes under 250 health.
- Healing received from dealing damage reduced from 50% to 40%
Developer Comments: A recent change that increased Reaper’s healing while he dealt damage was a bit too strong, sometimes making opponents feel like Reaper was unstoppable.
- Alternative Fire’s explosion radius reduced from 2 meters – 3 meters to 1 meter – 2 meters based on energy level
Developer Comments: Zarya’s damage greatly increases when at high energy, while also gaining increased beam size and a larger explosion radius. This often allowed Zarya to deal too much damage and made the explosions from the Alternate Fire on her Particle Cannon nearly impossible to avoid. This change will still allow Zarya to deal a lot of damage, but makes it more difficult to actually apply the damage.
Orb of Destruction
- Damage increased from 46 to 48
Orb of Discord
- Effect reduced from 30% to 25%
Developer Comments: Zenyatta’s Orb of Discord makes him a nearly irreplaceable support hero on your team. We’re reducing its impact for Zenyatta’s team, but increasing the potency of the Orb of Destruction to compensate for its lesser effect.
- Fixed a bug that made D.Va not get knocked back properly by Doomfist’s Rocket Punch
- Fixed a bug where using Lúcio’s Dance Party emote would crash everyone out of the game
- Fixed a bug where Lúcio’s Speed Boost song dramatically affected D.Va when using Boosters or Mercy when using Valkyrie
- Fixed a bug where Mercy’s speed wasn’t reduced while resurrecting when using Valkyrie
- Fixed a bug that made Orisa not get knocked back properly by Doomfist’s Rocket Punch