With the latest patch live, a new season of ranked play underway, a new map available in quick play and a new rework available with Hanzo, it’s crucial that players understand what’s up with the latest hero balance changes. The latest patch went live on the PTR two weeks ago, and those balance changes have arrived (mostly) untouched.
The first set of Brigitte nerfs is now live.
Cone angle reduced from 90 to 60
Developer Comments: When fighting against Brigitte, it often felt like Shield Bash was able to hit players who felt like they were out of its range and should have dodged it. On the flip side, when playing as Brigitte sometimes players would hit the wrong enemy in the middle of a fight. With the cone being reduced, the ability is more accurate to its visual representation.
This is more of a love-tap than a nerf, but there are more nerfs incoming to Brigitte’s ultimate (from 150 armor to 100 granted to allies) and shield bash cooldown (one second longer cooldown) on the current PTR cycle, so players frustrated at her seemingly over the top strength should rest assured that she’ll be brought further in line if the current changes go through.
Meanwhile, Genji got a nerf to his Deflect, making him a little easier to take out with characters like Pharah or Junkrat.
Hitbox size has been reduced
Developer Comments: The hitbox on Genji’s Deflect was big enough that it would sometimes reflect projectiles that were pretty far away from him. We’ve tightened up the hitbox, which should solve this problem while still fully protecting him from projectiles that would hit him from the front.
Speaking of Junkrat, he’s going to be having a rough time since he got hit with two nerfs.
Projectile size decreased from 0.3 to 0.2
Tire movement speed decreased from 13 to 12
Developer Comments: These changes are aimed at lowering some of the most frustrating parts about playing against Junkrat. Decreasing the Frag Launcher’s projectile size means he will have to aim a bit more carefully to land powerful direct hits and slowing the RIP-Tire’s movement speed gives his opponents slightly more time to destroy it before it detonates.
This should stop Junkrat from being able to essentially spam damage with very little drawback and require him to put some more thought into both aiming and setting up RIP-Tires. Overall, these are pretty forgiving nerfs, so we wouldn’t expect to see Junkrat fall entirely out of vogue. However, this should open the field up for other consistent DPS to pump out damage with slightly less risk.
The only DPS who doesn’t benefit from a slightly less strong Junkrat is Tracer, as she’s now less of a tank killer.
Max damage decreased from 400 to 300
Developer Comments: Pulse Bomb was too good at killing tanks, who can be easy to stick due to their size. This damage reduction makes it less powerful as a tank-destroyer, while keeping it lethal against most other heroes.
This should leave Tracer a pretty sizable threat against McCrees and Reapers, but she won’t be able to remove a D.Va or Reinhardt from play quite so easily.
Meanwhile, everyone’s very favorite cinnamon roll Battle DJ got some pretty significant changes to his Wall Ride, and a buff to his boop.
Wall riding is less likely to be interrupted along a single surface
Can now go around corners (both outside corners, and inside corners) without having to leave the wall
Can now land back on the same wall after leaping away, provided his leap takes him far enough away from the original jumping off point
No longer costs ammo
Developer Comments: Wall Ride has been significantly overhauled to allow it to function more smoothly across more areas of every map. Lúcio players should instantly notice a huge improvement in where and how Wall Ride can be used. In addition, Sonic Amplifier’s Soundwave ability was unnecessarily controlled by both a cooldown and an ammo cost, so we’re removing the ammo cost.
These changes are pretty significant buffs to Lucio, although there have been debates as to whether they lower his skill ceiling and take away from the mastery of experienced Lucio players. They also make him much more accessible, so we will likely see a new generation of Lucio players emerge. This should also help him compete with the current healing trifecta of Mercy, Moira, and Zenyatta by emphasizing his strengths of mobility and peel.
The most recent patch went live on May 3rd, and as always, there will be a buffer before it hits the Overwatch League and affects pro play.