A new Experimental Overwatch patch has just gone live on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch with changes to only one hero, but they’re absolutely massive. Soldier 76 is being buffed significantly.
Soldier 76 has been in a bit of a poor spot lately, with the traditional FPS hero being outmatched by the likes of McCree and Ashe at medium range and Widowmaker at long range. Now, the devs are upping his lethality.
The Experimental Mode changes make his Heavy Pulse Rifle far more threatening with its bullet spread remove and ammo capacity increased from 25 to 30.
In order to compensate for these buffs, constant recoil has been added, so players will need to adjust to that when playing as him.
Community Manager Molly Fender elaborated on the chances in a forum post saying: “Compared to other hitscan Damage heroes, Soldier: 76 has been perceived as one of the weaker choices in heroes, so we want to test some adjustments to change this. Rather than making some numbers adjustments, we’d like to test out an overhaul to his shooting mechanics.”
Improving the shooting mechanics of 76 may prove to be a more balanced way to make the character better as opposed to simply increasing his damage. Though, the ammo increase may already prove to have an effect.
“In this Experimental mode, we’re shifting the weapon to instead be centered around recoil and weapon control,” she added. “While the change list may be short, we’re hoping that this will breathe new life into Soldier: 76’s playstyle.”
Previously, 76 players have had to fire in short bursts to avoid the insane spread that comes with holding down the trigger and going full auto. Now, the ever-popular character may be able to output significant damage at a far faster rate – something that should really worry opponents.
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It will be interesting to see how much of an effect these changes have on the hero and if his pick rate sees an increase.
The next experiment begins! This time we’re hoping to get your feedback on some changes to Solider: 76’s Heavy Pulse Rifle. 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.
HERO UPDATES (ONLY IN EXPERIMENTAL)
Heavy Pulse Rifle
- Bullet spread removed
- Constant recoil added
- Ammo increased from 25 to 30
Developer Comments: We’re testing some changes with Soldier: 76’s Heavy Pulse Rifle that make the weapon more controlled by recoil, rather than bullet spread. Overall, this will make him better when firing in full auto, rather than controlled bursts. While recoil exists with other heroes’ weapons, these changes are intended to be impactful to gameplay, rather than establishing the “feel” of the weapon.