On March 19 a huge Overwatch update went live for PC, Xbox and PS4, and along with a brand new hero, Baptiste, the new patch also contains changes for the majority of the game’s heroes.
Baptiste was introduced on February 25, and made his to Overwatch’s PTR the same day, along with a number of hero updates in the following week.
In total, 24 heroes will be getting some kind of update or rework to their abilities and kit, and several game mechanics have been adjusted as well.
Baptiste is Overwatch’s newest support hero and the highlight of the upcoming patch for many, including console players, who didn’t get the chance to try him out on the PTR.
His ultimate ability, ‘Amplification Matrix’ has already gone through several iterations on the PTR, so it will be interesting to see whether or not it gets changed again after release.
Even though Baptiste has been released to the main game, he still won’t be available in Competitive play for two weeks.
A lot of players have hoped and speculated that the massive update could be a big refresher to Overwatch, which is closely approaching its third Anniversary event.
The changes should also be live for Overwatch League Stage Two, after the League said they intend to have teams playing on the same patch as is in the game.
The official patch notes for March 19 are listed below:
Baptiste is battle-hardened combat medic who wields an assortment of experimental devices and weaponry to keep allies alive and eliminate his enemies. Baptiste’s Biotic Launcher fires a three-round-burst that rewards accuracy and recoil control with significant damage output. His alternate fire lobs grenades that heal allies near the point of impact. With Regenerative Burst, Baptiste activates an intense surge that heals himself and nearby allies over time. When danger is near, Baptiste can toss out his Immortality Field to prevent allies from dying. Baptiste moves around the battlefield with Exo Boots, jumping over obstacles and clearing distances that would stop other heroes. Baptiste deploys his Amplification Matrix as his ultimate, which doubles the damage and healing effects of friendly projectiles.
Developer Comments: The damage taken by armor from damage over time effects, such as Widowmaker’s Venom Mine, and beam weapons, like Symmetra’s Photon Projector, varied greatly. Now it will be more consistent and predictable.
Developer Comments: Previously, the effects of damage boosting were only accounted for if the damage-dealing hero was being boosted as they landed a hit. Now, damage is applied to the projectile as it is fired. This means the damage-dealing hero doesn’t need to be boosted when the projectile hits an enemy for the damage boost to be accounted for.
Developer Comments: Knockbacks are now less affected by how the enemy was moving when they were hit. Instead of having small or large knockbacks that depend on chance, knockbacks will feel similar regardless of the enemy’s movement leading up to the knockback. Allowing flying heroes, like Mercy when using her Valkyrie ability or D.Va using her Booster ability, to be properly knocked back makes for more fluid, realistic gameplay.
Developer Comments: With the addition of Baptiste, we wanted to be sure that you can tell when your hits were being buffed or nullified, regardless of what hero you’re playing.
Developer Comments: Giving Nano Boost an instant heal effect enabled players to survive longer and made Ana’s ultimate valuable. However, it was a bit too strong when healing heroes with large health pools.
Developer Comments: Reducing the downtime of Doomfist’s abilities will give him some power back and make his gameplay feel more fluid.
Developer Comments: Because of how dense the environment is on some maps, the Sonic Arrow can feel ineffective in some areas. Increasing Sonic Arrow’s detection radius should make it more effective.
Developer Comments: Junkrat is one of the best barrier and tank busters in the game, and this change will help solidify this role. This doesn’t change the Frag Launcher’s explosive damage, which remains at 80. The total damage for direct impact is now 130, up from 120. Since we increased Frag Launcher’s damage output, Junkrat builds his ultimate too quickly. We’re increasing the cost of his ultimate to balance this change with his increased damage-dealing capabilities.
Developer Comments: The knockback on Lúcio's Soundwave is a great tool for pushing enemies into situations that get them killed, so they should be rewarded an offensive assist for doing so. Lúcio’s ability to increase his teammate’s speed was too strong, especially when used on high health/low range heroes. We’re decreasing the overall power of Lúcio's Speed Boost but increasing the speed bonus he gets from using Wall Ride so his mobility isn’t impacted too much.
Developer Comments: After reducing armor’s effectiveness for all heroes, Fan the Hammer doesn’t need to deal quite as much damage. Increasing Deadeye’s damage after being locked on for a bit makes it more effective when attacking high health, static targets (like barriers) and heroes with over 250 health. It will not impact how dangerous this is for heroes under 250 health.
Developer Comments: Increasing the damage of Mei’s primary fire should make her Freeze and Icicle move combination more potent. Making the pillars on Mei’s Ice Wall easier to destroy means less waiting for the wall to disappear on its own and more opportunities to counter it.
Developer Comments: These minor changes make Moira’s passive healing effect on Biotic Grasp slightly more effective when topping off an ally’s health.
Developer Comments: As a defensive tank, Orisa can have trouble pushing forward with the team. Allowing Orisa to move faster while firing should make it easier to apply pressure on the enemy team and use her barrier in proactive ways.
Developer Comments: This change sets the Rocket Launcher’s minimum damage to where it was before we rebalanced its direct impact and explosive damage in a recent patch.
Developer Comments: A recent change that increased Reaper’s healing while he dealt damage was a bit too strong, sometimes making opponents feel like Reaper was unstoppable.
Developer Comments: This change should potentially allow Soldier: 76 to kill an enemy hero one shot sooner. Reducing the time between when you use Sprint and when you can fire should make the ability more fluid and responsive. Giving Tactical Visor the ability to target Junkrat’s RIP-Tire and Baptiste’s Immortality Field drone is a quality of life improvement, since these are both critical targets.
Developer Comments: The cooldown on Hack often made it feel less effective to target health packs instead of players. This will make both health packs and players viable targets for hacking.
Developer Comments: This will allow Symmetra to more consistently reach peak damage output from her Photon Projector.
Developer Comments: Torbjörn’s survivability was a bit low, so we’ve shifted some power from his Overload ability to his base health.
Developer Comments: Infra-Sight had no counter to its effect, so it now ends when Widowmaker dies. To balance out its higher risk of use, Infra-Sight now reveals enemy health bars to Widowmaker’s team.
Developer Comments: This will make Adaptive Shield a more powerful survival tool, since being forced out of Roll mode left Wrecking Ball more susceptible to fire.
Developer Comments: Zarya’s damage greatly increases when at high energy, while also gaining increased beam size and a larger explosion radius. This often allowed Zarya to deal too much damage and made the explosions from the Alternate Fire on her Particle Cannon nearly impossible to avoid. This change will still allow Zarya to deal a lot of damage, but makes it more difficult to actually apply the damage.
Developer Comments: Zenyatta’s Orb of Discord makes him a nearly irreplaceable support hero on your team. We’re reducing its impact for Zenyatta’s team, but increasing the potency of the Orb of Destruction to compensate for its lesser effect.
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