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A buffet of balance changes and “Avoid as Teammate” hit the Overwatch PTR

These PTR changes could make Reaper and Mei much stronger heroes

Blizzard Entertainment

We’ve been due for a larger patch for quite some time now, and Blizzard seem to be delivering if their latest Public Test Realm update is any indication. The March 24 PTR build is full of goodies that will affect the way the live game is played.

There’s a lot in this patch, but it’s worth remembering that the PTR is a test environment, and it’s not confirmed that all of this content will make it all the way to the finish line. Manage your expectations accordingly as we dive in and take a look at what this new patch may have to offer.

First of all, Blizzard World got tweaked to be a little more fair as a competitive experience. This isn’t the first time Blizzard World’s been shifted, but this latest change looks to make Point A a little more fair for both teams.


Blizzard World

Moved the first payload checkpoint (Pylon Terrace) back 10 meters

Developer Comments: We moved the checkpoint back for two reasons. The original location swung the map’s balance too far in one direction (favoring the defenders). Also, once the payload reached the checkpoint, defenders returning from spawn could get pinned in this area, usually resulting in their death.



Players can choose to “Avoid as Teammate” with a dropdown menu in the Career Profile

Developer Comments: The addition of the “Avoid as Teammate” option gives players the ability to craft their online gameplay experience. Up to two players can be selected with this feature. If you use the “Avoid as Teammate” option on a player, the matchmaker will no longer place you on a team with the avoided player for one week. To learn more about this feature, click here.

Report Menu

The “Poor Teamwork” dropdown menu option has been removed

The “Griefing” dropdown menu option has been renamed “Gameplay Sabotage”

Developer Comments: Due to player confusion about the most appropriate category to report players for poor or toxic gameplay, we are removing the Poor Teamwork option from the reporting system. Players should instead use the Gameplay Sabotage option when players actively harass or disrupt their own team with game mechanics or their actions. Players should not be reported simply for performing poorly, since everyone occasionally has a bad game.

We’re seeing more work put into Blizzard’s Play Nice, Play Fair initiative with these changes. Avoid as Teammate will be incredibly useful for those dreadful days where you want to sit down and spam competitive, but there’s one person doing the same thing who is—and I believe this is the scientific term—an absolute garbage pile of a human being. Jeff Kaplan went further into detail on “Avoid as Teammate” in this Developer Update:

There are some more small changes: Sombra’s end-of-round “Enemies Hacked” card will show her offensive assists, Mercy’s back to her original “Heroes Never Die!” ult line (thank goodness for that one), and Brigitte’s golden weapon now comes with a nice golden shield as well. What’s really interesting are the following Hero Updates, which tweak a whole lot of heroes.

D.Va is getting a slight hit on her Micro Missiles, bringing their damage down by about 22%. D.Va’s one of the strongest tanks in the game right now, so she shouldn’t be too badly hit by this update.

Mei can now spread her endothermic blaster around, making her way more terrifying in close quarters. This is a pretty strong qualify of life buff that means grouping up against Mei is going to be tricky and dangerous—but she’ll still maintain a lot of her weaknesses of high cooldowns and low mobility.

Oh no no no oh no not the freeze NOT THE FREEZE
Blizzard Entertainment

Reaper got buffed across the board. His primary fire now auto-reloads after ult, his Wraith Form is faster, and you can now cancel out of it early to get back to dealing damage. This is a really powerful change, and you can expect Reaper to have relatively low downtime thanks to two auto-reloads and a very flexible escape tool in Wraith form.

Finally, Zenyatta’s charged orbs now have a lower rate of fire, so he’s still capable of one-shoting but it’s a touch more difficult now.

The full notes on hero updates are available below. You can check out the original source if you want the full patch notes, including a bevy of bug fixes.



Micro Missiles

Explosive damage reduced from 6 to 4

Developer Comments: D.Va’s burst potential is a bit too high, and her Micro Missiles are a major part of that. Currently each missile deals 3 impact damage and 6 explosive damage. We’re reducing explosive damage from 6 to 4 but leaving the impact damage the same, the net result being 22% damage reduction.


Endothermic Blaster

Now pierces through enemies

Developer Comments: This change helps Mei combat multiple targets that are clumped up and also makes it easier to keep her freezing a specific target if another enemy gets in the way. In addition, this change helps her ultimate more consistently be able to freeze more targets, especially if they are near each other. Note: While her shots now pierce enemies, they still do not pierce barriers such as Reinhardt’s shield.


Death Blossom

Reloads Hellfire Shotguns after use

Wraith Form

Move speed bonus increased from 25% to 50%

You can now cancel the ability by pressing the Shift or Primary Fire hotkey

Developer Comments: These changes help Reaper use Wraith Form more consistently as an escape, but they also open up new options, such as chasing down key targets.


Biotic Grasp

Transparency increased the closer you are to a target


Now becomes more transparent the closer its visual effects are to a player’s camera


Transparency increased the closer you are to a target

Developer Comments: Due to issues with visibility, we have made most of Moira’s visual effects fade away the closer they are to the camera. We have also made modifications to Coalescence to greatly increase the ability for foes and allies alike to see through it when facing it.


Orb of Destruction

Secondary fire rate of fire reduced by 15%

Developer Comments: Zenyatta is meant to be able to deal a lot of damage, especially for a support, but his alternate fire burst damage was a bit too high. This change keeps the overall damage the same but lowers the DPS slightly and makes it harder to hit multiple shots at very long ranges.