The Public Test Realm currently hosts some changes to everyone’s favorite undead wraith, Reaper. His current passive, The Reaping, allows him to collect Soul Globes that heal him for 50 health off the bodies of fallen enemies. The problem is, unfortunately, Reaper has a hard time staying alive while waiting for someone to die. The current changes on the PTR address this.
The Reaping (Passive)
Removed health orbs
Now regains 20% of all damage done to heroes as health
Developer Comment: Reaper’s old healing passive was useful if you could kill a bunch of enemies in a row. But since enemies needed to be dead for it to work, it wasn’t very helpful unless the situation was already in your favor. His new passive lets him get immediate benefit from it, especially when fighting Tank heroes, which tend to be larger targets that deal lower damage.
This is Reaper’s second buff, coming after a change that allowed his wraith form to automatically reload his shotguns. Reaper has always had a niche as an anti-tank DPS, but he’s been struggling to show up in any Overwatch games. He currently has a .80% pick rate at Master, and he’s struggled to consistently appear in pro play.
A Reaper who can constantly sustain is a more attractive choice to players of all skill levels, and he may end up seeing some play as a result, especially as a counter to Winston.
Unfortunately, he’s losing his Soul Globes in the process. While Soul Globes are tactically inferior to getting your healing straight from the source, they’re fitting to Reaper’s aesthetic - which is to say, over the top and completely absurd. Fans are hoping that Blizzard manages to pay tribute to these fallen orbs in the form of an emote or victory pose.
Of course, all balance changes on the PTR are subject to change, so we’ll have to wait and see whether Reaper’s changes survive this round of testing and balance.
UPDATE: These changes are now live with the release of Patch 188.8.131.52 on June 20th, 2017.