Overwatch Jan 7 update buffs Hanzo, nerfs Sigma & Hammond: patch notes

Blizzard Entertainment

A new Overwatch Experimental patch has gone live on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch versions of the game, bringing in a bunch of changes to a few heroes.

Like all experimental mode patches, these changes are available for testing for about a week before they are either added to the live game or scrapped. In this case, the update will be around until Monday, January 11.

This patch is mostly just nerfs with one exception: a buff to Hanzo who sees his Storm Arrows receive a small change.

Now, the archer Shimada’s recovery time on his shots has been reduced from 0.3 to 0.25 seconds. According to Community Manager Josh Nash, the arrow changes are implemented because they don’t “quite have the impact we’re hoping for at the moment” and want to make the ability more impactful.

Hanzo wields his bowBlizzard Entertainment
Hanzo’s Storm Arrows have been given a bit of a buff.

On the nerf side of things, two troublesome tanks are getting their abilities dialed back a bit. With Sigma, his Experimental Barrier cooldown is being increased by a whopping 1.5 seconds.

According to the devs, this nerf should make the barrier “more of a commitment and open up more opportunities for counterplay.”

Hammond was also hit with a nerf as his Adaptive Shields gained per target are being reduced from 100 to 75.

Hammond piledrives enemy Overwatch heroesBlizzard Entertainment
Wrecking Ball’s shields have been nerfed.

“Wrecking Ball’s survivability is currently a bit too high. The combination of his high mobility and high shield capability has made him a bit too slippery of a target. While the initial 100 shield provided by Adaptive Shield remains unchanged, we’re reducing the amount of shield generated per nearby enemy from 100 to 75,” the devs explained in a forum post.

Finally, Ashe is on the receiving end of some nerfs a well. Her ADS damage is being reduced from 80 to 75, but to compensate, the recovery time is reduced from 0.7 to 0.65 seconds.

“Her capability to eliminate 200 health enemies with a single headshot became too dominant,” the devs stated. “We’re reducing her aim-down-sight (ADS) damage, but also reducing her ADS recovery time, netting similar damage output, but requiring at least two shots to reach the same result.”

Ashe Overwatch groupBlizzard Entertainment
Ashe got some changes to her ADS and recovery time.

It will be interesting to see if all these changes go live to the game or if any are scrapped for being a bit too intense. Until then, be sure to try out all these changes for yourself in the Experimental Mode.

Full patch notes:


The next experiment begins! This time we’re hoping to get your feedback on some balance changes. We’re using the 2-2-2 Role Queue ruleset so that you can get a feel for how these balance changes might affect the live game.



The Viper

  • Aim-down-sights damage reduced from 80 to 75
  • Aim-down-sights recovery time reduced from 0.7 to 0.65 seconds

Developer Comments: Ashe being able to eliminate 200 health enemy heroes with one headshot while assisted by 30% damage boost became too dominant, especially when combined with the other improvements to her weapon. We are lowering the maximum damage but also the shot recovery time to keep her overall damage output relatively the same.


Storm Arrows

  • Shot recovery time reduced from 0.3 to 0.25 seconds

Developer Comments: This rate of fire change improves the feel and effectiveness of the Storm Arrows ability and though small, adds up over the course of firing 5 arrows.


Experimental Barrier

  • Redeploy cooldown increased from 1 to 2.5 seconds

Developer Comments: We’re increasing the cooldown of Sigma’s barrier to require a higher commitment to its placement and open up additional opportunities for counterplay.

Wrecking Ball

Adaptive Shield

  • Shield per target reduced from 100 to 75

Developer Comments: Wrecking Ball’s high mobility and potential for massive shield health have left him a bit too survivable after the overall damage and crowd control in the game have been tuned down. We are reducing the amount of additional shields he generates per target though the base 100 shields from the ability remains unchanged.