Overwatch Jan 28 update massively nerfs Zenyatta, Echo & more: patch notes

Michael Gwilliam
Echo nerfs

A new Overwatch patch has gone live on PC, PS4, Xbox and Nintendo Switch consoles, bringing in some major nerfs to some of the game’s most powerful heroes.

Many of the nerfs and changes in this update seem to come after the complaints of many tank players who claimed that Zenyatta and Echo were making ranked hell.

As such, the Overwatch devs decided to give those tanks what they wanted and specifically targeted Zenyatta, Echo and even Tracer with some big changes.

The big loser this patch has to be the Omnic monk Zenyatta. Once more, his Orb of Discord is being nerfed down from 30% to 25%. This should give tanks a bit of an easier time surviving against its damage amplification effects.

Aztech Zenyatta skin
Zenyatta has lost a lot of his power.

That’s not all, though. His Discord and Harmony Orb projectile speeds have been reduced. This means that it will take just a bit longer to get the orbs onto enemies or teammates – the latter of which will result in a bit less healing.

Overall, these changes will also mean that Zenyatta’s Transcendence Ultimate will be up less often as he will no longer be doing the same levels of damage or healing as before.

Next, Echo has also been hit with nerfs in two big areas. Her Tri-Shot ammo capacity has been reduced from 15 to 12, which should force her to reload more often, thereby lowing her damage output.

Tracer flips in Overwatch
Tracer’s damage falloff has been hit with a nerf.

Focusing Beam has also been nerfed, with its duration now going from 2.5 seconds to just 2. Now, players should be prepared to make sure they can confirm a kill with the ability when a target is below half health.

Finally, Tracer’s range got hit with some nerfs. Pulse Pistols damage falloff has been rescaled from 13-23 meters down to 12-20 meters. This should make the speedy DPS hero less of a threat at medium range.

Full patch notes:




  • Ammo reduced from 15 to 12

Focusing Beam

  • Duration reduced from 2.5 seconds to 2 seconds

Developer Comments: Echo’s kit is designed around mobility and burst damage but she was performing too well against high health targets, such as tanks. Reducing the maximum firing duration of her primary weapon and Focusing Beam will lower her sustained damage output without impacting her burst damage potential against squishier targets.


Pulse Pistols

  • Min-Max damage falloff rescaled from 13-23 meters down to 12-20 meters

Developer Comments: This new falloff range causes the damage to scale down faster when targets are outside of Tracer’s optimal distance, making her less threatening at mid-range.


Orb of Harmony

  • Projectile speed reduced from 120 to 90

Orb of Discord

  • Projectile speed reduced from 120 to 90
  • Damage amplification reduced from 30% to 25%

Developer Comments: Zenyatta has been a bit too effective at enabling team-wide damage output lately so we’re taking some power out of the Orb of Discord by reducing both its total damage amplification as well as the speed at which it can be applied over long distances. The new projectile speed now matches that of his primary fire, Orb of Destruction.

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About The Author

Michael Gwilliam is a senior writer at Dexerto based in Ontario, Canada. He specializes in Overwatch, Smash, influencers, and Twitch culture. Gwilliam has written for sites across Canada including the Toronto Sun. You can contact him at michael.gwilliam@dexerto.com or on Twitter @TheGwilliam