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.
New Hero: Baptiste
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:
New Hero: Baptiste (Support)
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.
- Beam-type damage is now reduced by 20% when hitting armor
- Mei: Primary Fire
- Moira: Alternate Fire, Coalescence
- Symmetra: Primary Fire, Sentry Turret
- Winston: Primary Fire
- Zarya: Primary Fire
- Damage over time effects are no longer mitigated by armor
- Ana: Primary Fire
- Ashe: Dynamite
- Hanzo: Dragonstrike
- Mei: Blizzard
- Moira: Biotic Orb
- Widowmaker: Venom Mine
- Zarya: Graviton Surge
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.
- Damage boost is now applied when a projectile is fired rather than when it hits a target
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.
- Knockback distance is now more consistent
- Heroes that are flying can now be knocked back and slowed
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.
- A new sound plays when you land a hit while damage boosted
- A new sound plays when you land a hit, but it doesn’t do any damage
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.
- Nano Boost
- Heal reduced from 300 to 250
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.
- Rising Uppercut
- Cooldown reduced from 7 to 6 seconds
- Seismic Slam
- Cooldown reduced from 7 to 6 seconds
Developer Comments: Reducing the downtime of Doomfist’s abilities will give him some power back and make his gameplay feel more fluid.
- Sonic Arrow
- Detection radius increased from 7 to 9 meters
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.
- Frag Launcher
- Impact damage increased from 40 to 50
- Cost increased by 10%
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.
- Amp It Up
- Speed Boost’s amplification reduced from 70% to 50%
- Speed Boost’s effect reduced from 30% to 20%
- Sonic Amplifier
- Soundwave now counts towards Offensive Assists
- Wall Ride
- Speed buff increased from 20% to 40%
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.
- Fan the Hammer
- Damage reduced from 55 to 50
- Damage per second increased from 275 to 550 after locking onto targets for 1.5 seconds
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.
- Endothermic Blaster
- Primary fire damage increased from 2.25 to 2.75 (45 to 55 damage per second)
- Ice Wall
- Health reduced from 500 to 400
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.
- Biotic Grasp
- Heal over time duration increased from 3 to 4 seconds
- Total healing increased from 50 to 65
Developer Comments: These minor changes make Moira’s passive healing effect on Biotic Grasp slightly more effective when topping off an ally’s health.
- Fusion Driver
- Movement speed penalty while firing reduced from 50% to 30%
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.
- Rocket Launcher
- Minimum explosion damage increased from 16.25 to 20
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.
- The Reaping
- Healing received from dealing damage reduced from 50% to 40%
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.
- Pulse Rifle
- Damage increased from 19 to 20
- Delay before you can fire the weapon after using Sprint reduced from .5 to .3 seconds
- Tactical Visor
- Can target RIP-Tire and Immortality Field
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.
- Cooldown is reduced by half when hacking a health pack
- Changed the visual appearance to more clearly indicate when something has been hacked
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.
- Photon Projector
- Primary Fire’s damage ramps up 20% faster
Developer Comments: This will allow Symmetra to more consistently reach peak damage output from her Photon Projector.
- Base health increased by 50 armor (250 maximum health)
- Armor gain reduced from 150 to 100
Developer Comments: Torbjörn’s survivability was a bit low, so we’ve shifted some power from his Overload ability to his base health.
- Reveals enemy health bars
- Now canceled on death
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.
- Adaptive Shield
- No longer cancels Roll mode
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.
- Particle Cannon
- Alternative Fire’s explosion radius changed to 2 meters, regardless of energy level
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.
- Orb of Destruction
- Damage increased from 46 to 48
- Orb of Discord
- Effect reduced from 30% to 25%
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.
- Fixed a bug where the “Need Healing” callout wouldn’t display in chat if the hero you targeted didn’t have healing abilities
- Fixed a bug where, when playing certain heroes, the camera would clip into the hero when looking straight upwards
Career Stats Menu
- Fixed a bug where the season labels for Competitive CTF and Competitive 6v6 Elimination didn’t display
- Fixed a bug where damage boost stat tracking was incorrect in some circumstances
- Fixed a bug where, if switching between Junkrat Skins, one of the bombs on his vest would spin
- Fixed a bug where Ana’s clothes would clip into her hip pouch while doing the Yut Nori emote
- Fixed a bug that prevented audio feedback from playing to indicate ammo was low on Ashe’s rifle if it had three or fewer bullets
- Fixed a bug where Seismic Slam didn’t pull in enemies as intended
- Fixed a bug that made D.Va very difficult to knock back while she was firing her Fusion Cannons
- Fixed a bug that caused Genji’s Dragonblade to end before the deflect duration was complete
- Fixed a bug where Genji would be knocked back unusually far when using Swift Strike to hit Doomfist’s Rocket Punch
- Fixed a bug where Hanzo’s leg would visibly move while he was in his Meditate pose
- Fixed a bug where Mercy’s left knee would bend unnaturally when stunned by McCree’s Flashbang
- Fixed a bug that made Orisa very difficult to knock back while she was firing her Fusion Driver
- Fixed a bug where a button on the shoulder of Reaper’s Lu Bu skin appeared to be floating
- Fixed a bug where a piece on Reinhardt’s back displayed incorrectly while using the Guan Yu skin in the Hammer Down highlight intro
- Fixed an issue that allowed Reinhardt’s Earthshatter to hit people further off the ground than intended in specific circumstances
- Fixed a bug where Sombra’s stealth exiting sound effect wouldn’t play if an emote was used to exit stealth mode
- Fixed a bug where Sombra couldn’t quick melee while using her Hack ability
- Fixed a bug where Symmetra would gain ultimate charge while casting Photon Barrier
- Fixed a bug that prevented Torbjörn from using Molten Core in custom games if Ability 2 was disabled
- Fixed a bug that prevented Widowmaker’s Venom Mine from damaging a hero if they triggered it at the edge of its trigger radius
- Fixed a bug where the winning team’s hero lineup wouldn’t display correctly
- Horizon Lunar Colony
- Fixed a bug that caused the hanging tires near the first point to rotate a Self Destructing D.Va mech
- Fixed a bug where the sounds coming from the Nous vous surveillons apartment weren’t playing
Overwatch League Skins
- Fixed issues with the colors of skins for new Overwatch League teams