The newest Overwatch PTR patch went up last night, and it has a few fun goodies, including an update to Ashe’s golden weapon unlock that makes BOB solid gold as well. There are also a multitude of bug fixes and an audio change, but the most interesting part of the PTR update is definitely the balance changes Blizzard has made across a few heroes. None of these changes will be enough to seriously upend the meta, but we may see a few picks sneaking up in viability, and a few heroes being a little weaker across the board. Let’s take a look at what the PTR has in store.
Ammo increased from 25 to 35
Weapon spread decreased by up to 33% while firing
Developer Comments: Bastion could use a little bit of an offensive boost to balance out how vulnerable Configuration: Recon’s bulky size and Sentry’s stationary nature make it. To address this, we increased the ammo he receives in Recon mode and gave Bastion a lower spread in Sentry mode to make it more effective at farther ranges than it was previously.
Bastion is already capable of chewing through targets at close range, but this change to his weapon spread should make him a little more of a long range turret. It won’t protect him from everything, and careful positioning will still allow heroes to eliminate him, but he should have a slightly easier time with holding longer stretches around chokepoints.
No longer can travel or stun targets through barriers
Developer Comments: Brigitte’s Shield Bash is a strong ability that often feels difficult to counter. This change will offer new options for counter play, enabling shield tanks to better protect themselves and their teammates.
This change is nice and simple, but should be pretty effective in allowing Tracers and Genjis to flourish in a world where Brigitte exists. Reinhardt’s stock is also going to rise pretty significantly, thanks to his control in being able to move and set up barriers. Tanks like Roadhog and Wrecking Ball will have less luck, but that will help define the strengths and weaknesses of the class.
Loss of air control duration lowered to 0.6 seconds from 3 seconds
Maximum range reduced from 20 meters to 15 meters
Developer Comments: Doomfist’s high mobility allows him to engage and disengage from extremely long ranges. Decreasing the range of his targeted aerial version of Seismic Slam requires him to get closer before engaging an enemy and makes it slightly harder for him to escape from combat. The loss of air control on Rising Uppercut was a frustrating mechanic for players, but it allowed Doomfist to set up combos. We’ve found a decent middle ground by limiting the time Doomfist has to line up his next move.
These changes are focused around making Doomfist less of a hero who can get in and one-hit KO someone. He still maintains his charged punch, which is a brutal tool, but it also gets him into enemy lines and opens him to counter attack. Rising Uppercut and Seismic Slam have been nerfed a little to ensure that Doomfist players need to make a few more choices once they’re in the fray and aren’t able to mop up as efficiently.
Alternate fire damage increased from 45 to 55
Developer Comments: McCree’s Fan the Hammer wasn’t as reliable of an option against higher health heroes as it should be. Increasing its damage will make it more potent in close-range engagements where it is intended to be most effective.
Blizzard has nerfed Fan the Hammer before because it chewed through tanks and one-shot most of the cast. Now they’re pushing its damage back up and restoring some of that lost power so he’s a little more capable of going toe to toe with other heroes.
No longer makes Helix Rockets auto-target enemies
Developer Comments: The intent of Tactical Visor is to make Soldier: 76 unable to miss during its duration. However, Helix Rockets have travel time, so if they were fired directly at an enemy they would often miss a moving target at further ranges. This change allows players to freely aim Helix Rockets while still auto-aiming his primary fire.
This is one of those little quality of life tweaks that won’t drastically change Soldier 76’s strength, but will make him less frustrating to play. Players are no longer at the mercy of the lock-on when it comes to aiming their Helix Rockets!
Damage increased from 130 to 160 per second
Developer Comments: While the Molten Core damage pools were intended to provide players with tools for area denial, they weren’t proving threatening enough to deter enemies for a significant amount of time because their damage was too low.
Molten Core should be a bright, neon sign saying “get out of here,” and it chews through armor. Molten Core should be more than just a counter to a Brigitte armored team; it needs to have some power of its own. Now it’ll chew through health a little faster, reminding players to stay out of the fire.
These changes are not final, and are set to be tested on the PTR for some time before hitting live servers.