UPDATE: Geoff Goodman has explained, in detail, how these changes will work for airborne characters and general movement:
There were two persistent issues with movement on inclines that we wanted to clean up.
First, while moving diagonally on inclines you would end up being slightly strafed left or right even if you were only attempting to move forward. This can be a subtle source of aiming issues for many people, and now the player will properly move forward in this situation.
Second, movement up and down inclines had inconsistent speed as compared to the ground. Running both up and down an incline would be faster than walking on flat ground. However faster movement (e.g. McCree’s Combat Roll) would be slower when going up and down inclines. Having consistent character movement speed is important for many reasons, the biggest of which is it allows you to be able to reliably know how to aim your hitscan shots or lead your projectile fire.
The characters in Overwatch have a fixed acceleration (how fast they can change their movement velocity) depending on if they are in the air or on the ground. Previously, this amount would get reduced if you were attempting to change your direction by 90 degrees or less, and was more pronounced if you were going faster than normal (e.g. Winston’s Jump Pack or Doomfist’s Rocket Punch). One of the consequences of this was that if you were in the air travelling forward and wanted to move directly right, you could reach full speed to the right faster if you accelerated backwards to a full stop and then moved to the right, as opposed to simply pressing to the right. Having to do a non-intuitive movement to reach your desired direction as fast as possible is less than ideal, so we made a change to allow you to more consistently use the air acceleration you already had to reach the direction you’d like to be moving in.
The new acceleration can feel like momentum is no longer conserved like before, but the forward velocity is just more efficiently being converted into sideways velocity. The direction is changing faster but your overall speed isn’t being slowed down.
If you’re flying as Pharah, you can now just press forward and you will properly accelerate moving forward, instead of having to counter accelerate to stop sideways drift.
If you’re leaping as Winston, you can more effectively redirect your velocity around corners. Prior to this rework it was possible to achieve similar mid-air turns by always facing your current velocity while strafing, but this was also unintuitive.
You can now press forward and right directional inputs after a Winston leap and you will actually move some to the right, whereas previously you would have to only hold right if you wanted to get any acceleration to the right.
It does mean getting used to the new strafing power. No longer do you have to hold strafe for a long time to get a small adjustment to your movement, you can simply short hold or tap it as needed, and pressing forward with a left or right command will do smaller adjustments than if pressing left or right alone.
This does not substantially affect movement when trying to change movement direction by >90 degrees.
Additionally, left and right strafing on the ground and air will be the same along with attempting to accelerate against a knockback will be the same.
The Blizzard developers on Overwatch have been meticulously combing through a long list of minor bugs and inconsistencies on characters like Doomfist and Moira. One thing that bugged characters had in common were their movement, especially around inclines. While fixing these bugs, the devs have also made some changes to the way movement works in general.
Jeff Kaplan explained the current change that hit the PTR yesterday:
This was originally done to fix bugs on a couple heroes, but the changes are systemic and affect all Heroes.
Specifically, movement on the ground is much more consistent. Going up/down inclines will no longer affect the Hero’s speed. Previously, inclines could either make you move slightly faster or slightly slower, depending on the circumstances. Inclines will also no longer cause a small amount of strafing movement when moving diagonally on them. A side effect of these changes is characters will now have slightly better air control. For example, Winston previously was not able to easily make small adjustments to his flight path during his Jump Pack leap, but now he should be able to do that, and it is also noticeable on many of the other Heroes that are often in the air.
In short, ground battles should feel a little more consistent, and when you’re fighting on Chateau Guillard in Deathmatch, you should be able to move more consistently in the map’s catacombs and ramps. Characters like Doomfist should also see abilities like Rocket Punch react a little better with uneven ground.
The real bonus here is that Winston and Pharah, as well as other airborne heroes like Junkrat and Mercy, have much better control in the air. Pharah’s boost could often feel a little slow, but she now has more finesse in the air. Winston is now capable of adjusting his leap mid jump, allowing him to land in a better location and cause more havoc as a dive tank. Characters who take to the skies are going to be thrilled with these changes.
Needless to say, a PTR change isn’t guaranteed to make live. However, this tweak can be tested through your Blizzard client, and its minor enough to not require a patch. Hopefully, we’ll see more nimble Pharahs and less buggy Doomfists in the next major patch to hit live.