The February 25 Overwatch update brought its new “Experimental Mode” live, and the first thing for players to test out is a “Triple Damage” rule change that drastically overhauls D.Va, Roadhog and Zarya.
Team 4 at Blizzard has already given fans some details on the new experimental Triple Damage mode, which seeks to break players out of their 2-2-2 role lock habits with a new three DPS, two Support, one Tank lineup.
In order to make this method actually work (and not just become ultimate charge Farming Simulator for the enemy team when your lone tank goes D.Va, Zarya, or Roadhog), developers had to drastically rework each of these heroes’ kits.
To give these three a chance in Triple Damage against beefier tanks like Reinhardt and Orisa, they’re being turned into main tanks with drastic kit changes, Jeff Kaplan told players in the last developer update before the Feb 25 patch.
Kaplan also gave fans a preview of Roadhog’s updated “Take a Breather” ability, which will allow him to (hopefully) keep his team alive as the only tank.
“Now, when [Roadhog] uses Take a Breather, he gets a gas cloud around him that mitigates damage for everybody in the area and heals him,” Kaplan explained in the update.
Zarya’s experimental changes in the patch are also big, but one of the biggest definitely makes her better able to protect her team, with her bubble shield now creating barriers on all allies within 8 meters of the original target.
D.Va’s Defense Matrix has been increased in duration from two seconds to four, and the movement penalty while using her primary fire has also been cut from 50% to 30%.
Almost every tank hero, except for Wrecking Ball, got an update to try and transform them into more of a “main-tank” character, and it’s worth giving the patch notes a read before you hop into the new Experimental Mode.
Along with this new mode, which finally lets console players try new developer ideas as well, a new mini-event was also introduced that allows players to unlock a Mardi Gras Ashe skin.
Users will have until the event ends in March to unlock Ashe’s new skin, along with all of the other cosmetics coming with it.
The full, February 25, 2020, Overwatch Retail patch notes can be read below:
ASHE’S MARDI GRAS CHALLENGE
Get ready for Ashe’s Mardi Gras Challenge and some special, unlockable in-game content! Wins in Quick Play, Competitive Play, or Arcade will earn you themed sprays, player icons, and a new epic skin: Mardi Gras Ashe!
Tune in to participating Twitch broadcasters while they’re playing Overwatch any time through March 9th to earn a total of 6 Ashe’s Mardi Gras Challenge sprays and icons!
To learn more about Ashe’s Mardi Gras Challenge, click here.
New Feature: Hero Pools
We will be introducing Hero Pools starting in Season 21 of Competitive Play. Much like Map Pools, rather than having all heroes available for play at all times, a weekly changing list of heroes will be available. The list will include the vast majority of the hero roster, with only a few being excluded during any given week. We think this feature will help keep Competitive Play interesting, as team compositions will change more frequently during a season.
It is important to note that Hero Pools is a new feature that may not last past this initial season. Throughout the season, we will be adjusting the types of Hero Pools available. In addition, it is possible we will also adjust the frequency with which they change.
New Feature: Experimental Changes & 1-3-2 “Triple Damage” Ruleset
We’ve added a new card labeled “Experimental” within the Play menu where Overwatch players can try new balance updates, rulesets, and game modes that might be awesome or might not ever make it past the “Experimental” stage. Unlike the PTR, the Experimental area is not intended to be used for bug and stability testing. Players from all platforms will be able to test major gameplay changes, with the hope that you’ll provide us with feedback on your experience. Some of the changes we test will be vastly different than what you’re used to, but we want to reiterate that the changes we will be testing are not guaranteed to reach the retail version you’re used to playing. Experimental will not always be available: it will come and go as we have things we’d like you to try and may sometimes only last for brief periods of time.
Since Experimental is available in the retail version of Overwatch, you will be able to earn experience and progress towards win-based event unlocks by participating.
The first set of changes we want to test is a mode titled “Triple Damage,” which modifies the existing 2-2-2 Role Queue system. In this mode, teams will be composed of 1 tank, 3 damage, and 2 support heroes. One of our hopes with this test is to see if this change reduces queue times for the Damage role.
HERO CHANGES TO SUPPORT EACH TEAM HAVING ONLY ONE TANK (ONLY IN EXPERIMENTAL)
Note that the balance changes below only affect the “Triple Damage” Experimental mode.
- Adjusted armor to health ratio (Total health is still 600)
- Armor health pool increased from 200 to 400
- Base health decreased from 400 to 200
- Duration increased from 2 seconds to 4 seconds
Fusion Cannons (Primary Fire)
- Movement penalty reduced from 50% to 30%
- Cooldown reduced from 10 seconds to 8 seconds
- Barrier health increased to 900
- Adjusted armor to health ratio (Total health is still 500)
- Armor health pool increased from 200 to 300
- Base health decreased from 300 to 200
Rocket Hammer (Primary Fire)
- Damage increased from 75 to 90
- Regeneration rate increased from 200 to 250 per second
Take a Breather
- Now leaves behind a cloud when used. This cloud heals all allies within it for 25 health per second and provides 25% damage reduction
- Cooldown reduced from 8 seconds to 6 seconds
Scrap Gun (Primary Fire)
- Damage per pellet reduced from 6 to 5 (150 damage per shot down to 125 damage)
- Cost increased by 15%
- Regeneration rate increased from 120 to 200 per second
- Barrier health increased from 900 to 1200
- Armor health pool increased from 100 to 200 (Total health is now 600)
- Cooldown reduced from 13 seconds to 10 seconds
- Shields health pool increased from 200 to 300. (Total health is now 500)
- Maximum energy gain per barrier decreased from 40 to 30
Particle Cannon (Primary Fire)
- Maximum primary fire damage per second reduced from 170 to 140
Particle Cannon (Secondary Fire)
- Maximum secondary fire damage reduced from 95 to 80
Particle Barrier (Self)
- Cooldown decreased from 10 seconds to 8 seconds
Particle Barrier (Ally)
- Now creates barriers on all allies within 8 meters of your target
- Duration increased from 2 seconds to 3 seconds
- The Game Mode selector in the Career Profile is now sorted more logically to make it easier to use
- A group leader may not use the Leave as Group option while a competitive game is currently in progress
- The initial Assemble Heroes timer for games using the Assault, Hybrid, Control, and Payload game modes has been reduced from 40 to 35 seconds
- We’ve updated the interactions between all stuns (Flashbang, Earthshatter, Freeze, Sleep, Accretion) to be more consistent. New stuns will only replace existing stuns if their duration is longer than the time remaining on the current stun. For example, a Flashbang stun will not apply to someone who has just been Earthshattered. Note: we use the minimum guaranteed stun time for Ana sleep, which right now is 1.5 seconds (time to fall down + time to stand back up)
- Mei’s Ice Wall now has a visual damaged state when under half health
Custom Game Updates
- Added copy-paste support for Custom Game Settings
New Workshop Features
- Custom Game Maps:
- Workshop Chamber
- Workshop Island
- Workshop Expanse
- Script Diagnostics Panel
- We’ve added the ability for rules to call subroutines (which are rules with a Subroutine event type) using the new Call Subroutine action. When a subroutine is called, execution is temporarily shifted to another rule while keeping contextual values such as Event Player, Attacker, and Victim the same. When the subroutine rule finishes or aborts, the original rule picks up where it left off. Subroutines may call other subroutines or even themselves, though we enforce a maximum depth of 1024 calls. Waits are allowed in subroutines, and if such a Wait is ever interrupted (and the interruption isn’t being ignored by the Wait), the entire call stack is aborted, and the original rule is restarted or aborted.
- Subroutine rules may also be started in parallel using the Start Rule action. Unlike with the Call Subroutine action, the original rule continues execution immediately, and the subroutine rule executes on its own some time later (either on the same frame if below the original rule or on the next frame if above). As with Call Subroutine, contextual values such as Event Player, Attacker, and Victim are copied over to the subroutine rule.
- Subroutine names can be added and modified using a new button at the top of the editor.
New Workshop Actions
- Start Healing Modification
- Stop Healing Modification
- Stop All Healing Modifications
- Enable Inspector Recording
- Disable Inspector Recording
- Else If
- For Global Variable
- For Player Variable
- Call Subroutine
- Start Rule
- To make writing logic easier, we’ve added several new flow control actions (If, Else If, Else, While, End, For Global Variable, and For Player Variable). These actions are optimized to cause minimal server load. When using them, the editor will indent to show where sections of logic start and stop. To conclude such an indented section, use the End action. When in doubt, each action has a detailed tool tip explaining how it is used. These tool tips can be displayed by hovering over the action name or by pressing the appropriate controller button.
- The Enable and Disable Inspector Recording actions offer two benefits: First, they allow selective debugging of only those sections of a script that you need to study. Second, disabling recording can reduce server load, especially when setting or modifying arrays.
New Workshop Values
- Event Was Health Pack
- Last Healing Modification ID
- Action and Condition Comments
- Melee and Reload Button Options
- Added Sort Order Reevaluation Options for Create HUD Text
- The Skip and Skip If actions now accept 0 for the number of actions to skip (so they just go on to the next action)
- A Wait action is no longer required before a Loop
- Straightened Beam Effects
- Set Status/Clear Status behavior merged with gameplay stuns (e.g. Clear Status can now clear a freeze that was caused by gameplay, not just a freeze set via Workshop itself)
- Set Global Variable
- Set Player Variable
- Modify Global Variable
- Modify Player Variable
- Set Global Variable At Index
- Set Player Variable At Index
- Modify Global Variable At Index
- Modify Player Variable At Index
- Loop If
- Abort If
- Skip If
- Variable manipulation and flow control actions previously caused high server load, so we spent some time making them more lightweight. When combined with the new Disable Inspector Recording action, these changes may result in significant reduction in server load for Workshop modes that rely on heavy variable logic, particularly those that manipulate arrays. In light of these changes, we’re removing the restriction that requires a Wait action before a Loop, though be advised that excessive looping in a single frame can still cause server load issues, especially when using actions other than those listed above. Note that setting or modifying multiple player variables with a single action (by providing an array of players) is not optimized, nor is setting or modifying a variable that is ever used by a Chase action. Finally, keep in mind that some values (such as the Ray Cast values) can cause quite a bit of server load on their own, even if using the optimized actions above.
- Killing B.O.B no longer grants score for FFA and Team Deathmatch
- Competitive Seasons are now listed in the correct order in career profile
- Replay list should no longer have invisible entries
- Fixed a bug where avoided teammates did not appear in the avoided teammate list if they were not also in the recent player list
- Fixed a bug where the Player Outline Strength gameplay option did not adjust the opacity of player outlines
- Fixed GPU temperature query on newer AMD hardware and drivers
- Fixed a bug that caused Reinhardt’s Earthshatter not to work correctly on Petra’s collapsible floor
- The breakable floor is now targetable by Reaper’s Shadow Step, Symmetra’s Teleporter, or Doomfist’s Seismic Slam
- Fixed a bug that could cause B.O.B’s charge to end early on stairs
- Fixed a bug where, occasionally, the explosion for Junkrat’s mine would appear near the top of his head instead of on the mine
- Fixed a bug that could cause Mercy to not get a skull/hit marker on assists
- Fixed a bug that prevented Wrecking Ball’s voice lines from playing when opened in lootboxes
- Fixed an issue preventing player invites when the custom game was imported via a share code
- Fixed an issue where preset slots could be overridden when saving settings from another player’s custom game
- Fixed an issue that allowed skirmishing friends to get into your custom game when the “Allow Skirmishers” option was disabled
- Fixed an issue where Sigma’s Primary Fire was sometimes disabled when disabling Experimental Barrier via Custom Game Settings
- Fixed an issue preventing Has Status from working correctly when querying the Unkillable status
- Fixed an issue where scores in Deathmatch display incorrectly if the score is set to a high number via Workshop actions
- Fixed an issue preventing setting scores or declaring victory in Team Deathmatch from working correctly via Workshop actions
- Fixed an issue where Training Bots sometimes wouldn’t respawn in Practice Range
- Fixed an issue preventing the Sleep status from being interrupted early via Workshop actions
- Fixed an issue with the Death Spectate actions when Enable and Disable are alternated repeatedly
- Fixed an issue causing the Buff Impact sound to play twice
- Fixed an issue causing the pitch (vertical) angle to be reset when using the Teleport action
- Fixed an issue preventing Disable Built-In Game Mode Completion from working in certain modes
- Fixed an issue where effects sometimes were the wrong size and color
- Fixed an issue where the Loop If Condition and Abort If Condition actions considered the value of the conditions from the beginning of the frame instead of their current value
- Fixed an issue where using the same Set Facing action multiple times in the same frame with different inputs would not work correctly
- Fixed an issue where the Nearest Walkable Position value stopped working near the statue in Château Guillard
- Fixed an issue where the Nearest Walkable Position value would be incorrect if used in a HUD action or in certain reevaluating actions
- Fixed an issue where the Total Elapsed Time value would be incorrect if used in a HUD action or in certain reevaluating actions
- Fixed an issue where effects and beam effects that don’t reevaluate would wait until the end of the frame to evaluate their positions and radii rather than evaluating them immediately
- Fixed an issue where the Chase Global Variable actions did not have access to contextual values (such as Event Player, Attacker, Victim, etc.)