August 18th, 2017 UPDATE: The proposed changes have hit the most recent PTR, and read as follows:
Take a Breather: Can now be used while moving. Damage taken while healing has been reduced by 50%
Developer Comments: These changes help Roadhog be much more aggressive when looking for hook targets or blocking for his team. The combination of these effects significantly increases Roadhog’s sustainability and survivability.
Roadhog has been one of Overwatch’s most changed, buffed, and nerfed characters. Whether the developers are hitting his hook or giving him a little less one-shot power, he’s consistently been a problematic character. The recent round of nerfs went too far, pushing him out of the meta entirely. It seems unlikely that Roadhog will ever get his one-hit combo back, but the developers are looking to give him some love.
In a reply to Roadhog feedback on the official forums, Principal Designer Geoff Goodman shared some of their upcoming plans for the next Roadhog changes to hit the PTR.
A player named SoulBurn suggested some balance changes to make Roadhog more of a tank and less of a free ult charge for enemy units:
The Overwatch team said they are looking into buffing RoadHog's defensive abilities as balance to his damage nerf.
Many posters are reasonably fearful that this will make him even a bigger ult battery than he currently is. I believe it depends on *how* the defensive buff applies.
My recommendation is having a 20-30% damage reduction on hog while he is inhaling, like sentry mode Bastion. This will increase his survivability without giving more ult charge to enemies attacking him.
If you want to make him a more team oriented hero, a small damage reduction can apply to nearby heroes during this action. This will allow Hog's big body to be used as meat shield and defend teammates, without costing too much in terms of ult charge.
Another option is covering his head hitbox while inhaling, which again will reduce effective damage, without costing in ult charge for the enemy team.
Goodman replied to this feedback, confirming that SoulBurn was on the right track with his suggestions.
We're actually testing this exact thing right now internally. Currently we have been play testing Roadhog with -50% damage taken while using Take a Breather, and also allowing him to move at full speed while inhaling. These two changes combined certainly make him significantly more difficult to kill, while also allowing Roadhog players to be much more aggressive when trying to find a hook target, knowing they can survive a lot more easily.
We plan on throwing this up on the PTR asap (along with some other hero changes) so you guys can play with it as well. Its possible its actually too strong right now but we'll have time to iterate on it.
None of these changes in set in stone, but they do suggest that Blizzard are moving past Roadhog’s identity as a beefy, offense oriented tank who can one shot targets and thinking of the Junker as more of a sustained damage and control tank.
This will not be Roadhog’s first rodeo with serious changes; it remains to be seen whether this round of buffs will bring him back into the spotlight, or whether he’ll need to head back into the shop.