Upcoming Overwatch Patch Adds New Character and Buffs
A new hefty patch is coming to Overwatch that enhances the in-game experience by adding significant buffs, nerfs, and changes.
Players on PC are currently able to install and try out all the new changes via the Public Test Region for Overwatch (essentially a beta for upcoming changes and updates).
New Hero: Ana (Support)
After being out of the fight for several years, one of Overwatch’s founding members is returning. Introducing Ana—a battle-scarred veteran who supports her teammates from a distance using a unique and highly specialized collection of weapons.
Ana’s primary weapon is her Biotic Rifle, which fires long-range darts that can restore the health of her allies or deal ongoing damage to her enemies. Meanwhile, her Biotic Grenade is perfect for a close-quarters clash, simultaneously healing teammates and injuring foes caught in its small area of effect. (Affected allies will also receive a temporary increase to all incoming healing, while affected enemies can’t be healed for a few moments.) And if the battle starts to get out of hand, Ana’s sidearm can fire a Sleep Dart, knocking her adversaries unconscious.
Plus, Ana’s ultimate ability, Nano Boost, empowers one of her teammates, granting faster movement, increased damage, and resistance to enemy attacks.
To learn more about Ana, click here.
- If a match goes into Overtime for more than 20 seconds, the fuse will now start to “burn down” more quickly
- Players now respawn more slowly during Overtime (increased spawn time by 2 seconds)
- Competitive Play matches can now only have one of each hero per team. For more info, click here.
- Added Ana as an AI-controlled hero in Practice vs. AI, Play vs. AI, and Custom Game modes
- Timing on Zenyatta’s Rapid Discord achievement is more lenient
- Targeted teammates now respond by saying “I’m with you,” when players use the “Group Up” communication
- Renamed five sprays to avoid duplicate titles
HERO BALANCE UPDATES
- Self-healing abilities now charge ultimate abilities. As a result, some heroes’ ultimate costs have been adjusted (see below).
- Configuration: Tank
– Ultimate cost increased by 10%
- Defense Matrix
– Cooldown decreased from 10 seconds to 1 second
– A new resource meter has been added. This meter will deplete while Defense Matrix is active and then recharge when it’s not in use.
– Defense Matrix takes 10 seconds to reach full charge from empty
– At a full charge, Defense Matrix will last for 4 seconds
– Defense Matrix will now remain active as long as its assigned hotkey is held
– Defense Matrix has been reclassified as an alternate fire and is now bound to RMB (by default)
– An option to “Toggle Defense Matrix” has been added under Options > Controls > D.Va
– Ultimate cost decreased by 15%
– Explosion delay reduced from 4 seconds to 3 seconds
– Explosion no longer damages D.Va (the player who activates it)
Developer Notes: D.Va isn’t being selected as often as our other tanks, and we feel a lot of that stems from the underperformance of her damage absorption abilities. So, we’ve reconfigured her Defensive Matrix, making it more flexible and giving players the ability to use it more often. We’ve also given Self-Destruct a little more oomph, because it felt slightly underwhelming when compared to many of Overwatch’s other ultimate abilities.
- Sound Barrier
– Ultimate cost increased by 10%
– Now maintains full damage at longer distances, but will deal less damage at extreme ranges
Developer Notes: While the game does feel better following the nerf to McCree’s close-range damage in a previous patch, it left him a little too weak. So, we’re increasing his effective distance, making his range similar to Soldier: 76’s. This should hopefully give players another option for dealing with pesky long-range damage dealing heroes like Pharah and Hanzo.
- Caduceus Staff
– Damage Boost
– Bonus damage increased from 30% to 50%
– Effect will no longer stacks with bonus damage provided by another Mercy
– Ultimate charge cost increased by 30%
– Movement is no longer prevented during activation
– Guardian Angel instantly resets upon use
Developer Notes: Mercy’s ultimate is one of the most powerful abilities in the game; however, players would often fly into the fray and die while using it. With this update, Resurrect will now take a bit longer to charge, but Mercy will be a lot safer when activating the ability in the middle of combat. In addition, we always intended Mercy’s Damage Boost beam to be her primary method for dealing damage, but it often felt so weak that you were better off pulling out your blaster. To help address this, we’ve slightly increased its potency.
- Whole Hog
– Ultimate cost increased by 45%
- Heavy Pulse Rifle
– Spread recovery will begin after a short delay (rather than instantly)
- Tactical Visor
– Ultimate cost increased by 10%
- Base shields increased by 50 (now 50 Health/150 Shield)
- Orb of Discord and Orb of Harmony
– Projectile speed has been increased from 30 to 120
– Movement speed is now doubled upon activation
– Healing amount increased from 200 to 300 health per second
Developer Notes: While Zenyatta has never had the healing abilities of Lúcio or Mercy, he made up for it by dealing more damage. However, his lack of mobility and low health has meant he’s struggled to find a place in many games. To increase his effectiveness, we’ve made several changes, the biggest of which is an increased shield pool. This will allow him to go head-to-head with more enemies. The Orb of Harmony and Discord changes are also a quality of life change, helping Zenyatta move his orbs around and apply their effects more quickly. And lastly, we’ve increased Transcendence’s healing throughput. This ultimate was designed to be the most effective against sustained, high-damage fire and least effective against short, high-damage bursts (like D.Va’s or Junkrat’s ultimates). But, due to the amount of healing it provided, there were times when it was possible for even sustained fire to overcome Transcendence’s output. We’ve made the heal powerful and also allowed Zenyatta to move around more quickly while it’s active.
The heavily speculated character Ana Amari, Pharah’s mother, is coming to Overwatch and is currently available to try out via the PTR on PC. We’ll have another article up soon talking about everything you need to know about the character very soon!
Talking about current hero changes though, the most notable changes are those to D.va, Mercy, and Zenyatta. The Overwatch community have made it clear that something needed to be done about these characters and Blizzard’s been listening. Mercy’s change is significant for the fact that multiple Mercy players won’t be able to stack buffs on a single hero, making it so players may not have to waste a character slot to tank objectives. Still, having a Lucio help out as well isn’t too bad of an idea. What stands out the most is the Zenyatta buff though.
Zenyatta was considered to be the worst hero and was the least used character in competitive play. The big projectile speed buff to his Orb of Discord and Orb of Harmony should increase his effectiveness on the battlefield. Only time will tell whether the changes above will make any previous opinions about Zenyatta change. There isn’t a current date for the note but you can click here for more of the patch notes not listed in the article above. For more on Overwatch make sure to stay tuned to JunkieMonkeys.