Overwatch devs reveal results of Genji & Moira balancing experiments

Theo Salaun
Blizzard Entertainment

In Overwatch’s latest Experimental Mode patch, Blizzard made efforts to balance Genji and Moira—a few days later, the developers are explaining why they are encouraged by the former’s tests and discouraged by the latter’s.

As Genji’s niche has grown smaller with the addition of new mobile burst DPS like Doomfist and Echo, Moira’s has grown larger, especially in lower ranks where she essentially fills two entire roles: damage-per-second and support.

As Genji’s shurikens and Deflect ability were toyed with, developers increased her healing while decreasing damage output.

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Charles Ray Pope, Youtube / Blizzard Entertainment
Genji’s Deflect ability can be one of the game’s strongest, but has felt more constrained over time.

Genji’s role, as a mobile burst DPS, was formerly only shared by Tracer, but the release of Doomfist and Echo have complicated that as the former boasts greater survivability (with the shields added with each damage ability) and the latter, greater mobility (with the ability to fly).

This has left Genji players in an even smaller niche that depends upon having an Ana good enough to ensure Nano-Blades.

Moira, conversely, has felt overpowered at low ranks and powerful, albeit with a low skill cap, at high ranks. Unlike the ninja, she fits no niche—instead she comfortably fills two roles at once: DPS and support.

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The June 2 patch increased Genji’s shuriken damage from 28 to 30, decreased his secondary fire’s spread from 12 to 9 and, most interestingly, increased the duration of his Deflect from 1.5 to 2 seconds while granting the ability to manually cancel it.

For Moira, her primary fire’s healing per second was increased from 65 to 70, while her secondary fire’s DPS was decreased from 50 to 40.

Less than a week later, Blizzard’s recap has explained that the DPS changes were intended to give him a stronger niche, with increased close-range consistency through shuriken damage-per-second and Deflect changes that bolster his ability to handle hitscan heroes. Content with the experiment’s impact, developers suggest that his “changes are getting us closer to our overall goal of bringing [him] in line with our other mobile burst damage heroes.”

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As for Moira, Blizzard is unenthused by the impact her changes had, and sees a need for further iterations. While they want to keep her strong, they noted that her “damage is especially powerful because it heals her and is fairly easy to use.”

This touches on both relevant issues for the hero: her DPS is powerful yet incredibly easy, given how casually it locks onto targets. But the Experimental Mode changes did not solve this, as the recap explains that “this test still doesn’t hit our goals for [her] overall.”

Genji’s changes seem satisfactory, as he remains a high-skill hero who is difficult to use but strong in the right hands—especially if he can now more easily counter hitscans. The support, though, is likely to require a more extensive rework.