Patch 1.44 has just been deployed across Overwatch’s Public Test Region (PTR) and a number of key characters have been massively adjusted in an attempt to offset the current meta.
Since the introduction Sigma in August of 2019, the aptly titled ‘double-shield’ meta has been prominent throughout competitive Overwatch as the tanky character is accompanied into battle by the likes of Orisa, Mei, and Baptiste among others.
Following numerous teases of adjustments to the controversial loadout of Baptiste, and even buffs to the once prominent D.Va, Blizzard has released the full notes for Update 1.44 and the set of significant changes it's introducing.
Publicized on January 9, PTR patch 1.44 includes a new setting for hosts of custom games around the world. Referred to as the ‘Data Centre Preference’ option, this new tool will allow hosts to pick and choose which server they would prefer to connect to in order to best host their exclusive lobbies.
As professional teams often practice against competitors in other regions, this new feature will allow the host of the lobby to comb through many different data centers and pick one that will result in the least network latency.
While this addition will certainly come in handy, it was far from the only change outlined in the latest patch notes. A total of six heroes have been adjusted in patch 1.44’s balance updates and although some are receiving minor tweaks, others are being met with drastic alterations.
Having teased changes were on the way for Baptiste’s controversial Immortality Field ability, Blizzard has followed through and adjusted the impact of his unique invulnerability effect.
Reducing the overall duration from eight seconds down to five, the cooldown has also been tweaked, meaning Baptiste will now have to wait 25 seconds between uses, as opposed to the current 20 seconds on the Live servers.
Additionally, the impact of Mei’s freezing effects have been reduced slightly in the latest patch. Her Endothermic Blaster will now reduce enemy movement speed by 20-70% as opposed to the current 30-90%. On top of this, the slowed mobility will only last for a second now, down from the 1.5 seconds players have grown used to.
Two Tanks and two further Damage-based heroes have also been adjusted as D.Va, Orisa, Hanzo, and Doomfist have all received small tweaks to various abilities.
There’s no telling quite when this latest update will be implemented across the Live servers, however PTR patches are often observed for a number of weeks before being applied across the board. So players can expect to see the large majority of these adjustments take effect on the competitive ladder in the very near future.
Will the balance updates be enough to offset the current meta or will an over-reliance on shields continue to pervade the hero shooter? These questions will shortly be answered as players around the world get their hands on patch 1.44.
The full list of adjustments implemented with patch 1.44 are as follows:
Custom Game Options
- The Lobby section of Custom Game Settings has a new option “Data Center Preference”. This option provides the game creator with more control over where the game will be hosted. The default “Best Available” choice automatically provides the creator with the best quality connection available to them. We only suggest choosing a specific datacenter if no single datacenter can simultaneously provide the best connection to all players. This is usually only the case when the players participating in the custom game are located in different geographic regions of the world.
- Immortality Field maximum duration reduced from 8 to 5 seconds>
- Immortality Field cooldown increased from 20 to 25 seconds
- Amplification Matrix ultimate cost increased by 20%
- Endothermic Blaster slowing effect now reduces enemy movement speed from 20-70%, down from 30-90%
- Slowing effect duration reduced from 1.5 to 1.0 second
- Boosters cooldown decreased from 5 to 3 seconds
- Fortify damage reduction reduced from 50% to 40%
- Primary fire maximum projectile speed reduced from 125 to 110
- Uppercut recovery time increased from 0.2 to 0.5 seconds