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Replays, balance changes come to the Overwatch PTR

Look back on your games from a whole new perspective

Is Tracer OP, or is she just the flavor of the month? Blizzard Entertainment

Replays have been an often requested feature from Overwatch players, especially since Blizzard’s first person shooter relies so heavily on the competitive aspect. It’s easier to improve if you can see your past mistakes, especially if it’s from a third person perspective. Replays have just hit the PTR for PC; the feature is set to come to consoles in a future release.

Replays allow players to watch any one of their last ten matches, and they can take new perspectives — first-person, third-person, bird’s eye, and other players. This is similar to the tools afforded to players with the Command Center that was rolled out during the World Cup, except my games will be far less rewatchable and I die a lot more.

There’s no date that replays are set to release on the console PTR, besides “soon”. The feature is subject to change during its time on the PTR as players submit feedback and thoughts.

There are also a host of balance changes on the PTR, some of which might shake up the metagame.


Biotic Launcher

Increased heal ammo from 10 to 12.

Amplification Matrix

Ultimate duration increased from 8 seconds to 10 seconds.

Developer Comments: Given the dual nature of Baptiste’s weapon, he ends up having to reload often. We’re increasing the amount of ammo he has to work with so he can get more firing time while healing. Similarly, increasing the duration of Amplification Matrix will allow allies more time to get into position to make use of it.

This is a pretty straight forward buff for Baptiste. It’s always worth remembering small buffs can make a big change, like the ammo buff to Ana after her release that helped propel her up the tier list (combined with players learning to master her skills). In addition, his ultimate provides a wider window of opportunity for his allies. That’s metaphorical, relating to the amount of time they have, not the size of the matrix.


Defense Matrix

Reduced length of Defense Matrix from 15 meters to 10 meters.

Developer Comments: Defense Matrix is a very powerful defensive ability and can often feel oppressive from far away. Reducing the range on it will require D.Va to position herself more carefully to take advantage of its effects.

D.Va’s been gobbling up abilities from standard attacks to Graviton Surges on the battlefield. She’s still going to be a potent force for shutting down enemy attacks, but she’ll have to get a little closer to the danger.



Primary fire recovery reduced from 0.5 seconds to 0.4 seconds.

Developer Comments: On average, McCree’s damage output wasn’t quite making up for the relatively low mobility or utility in his kit. Reducing his weapon’s recovery time improves the potential damage output without affecting the number of successful shots to kill an enemy.

McCree will be getting a little bit more damage out, because he can fire a little more often. A fraction of a second isn’t much, but it’s better than nothing — and a strong McCree has proven to be very problematic in the past.


Protective Barrier

Barrier can be deployed without interrupting reload.

Developer Comments: Orisa has one of the longest weapon reloads and interrupting it to deploy a new barrier felt too disruptive to her gameplay. This change allows her to reload as needed while still being able to protect herself and her team.

This is a nice quality of life bonus for Orisa, as she now has something to do while she’s reloading her cannon. That should give a much nicer cadence to her overall gameplay loop.


Rivet Gun

Secondary Fire damage per pellet reduced from 12.5 to 10.5 (105 dmg total per shot).

Developer Comments: The combined damage output of Torbjörn’s secondary fire with his Overload ability was too high given his recently increased survivability.

Meanwhile, it’s harder for Torbjorn to unload on an enemy with an alt-fire. It’s still a powerful ability, but combined with Overload, it made getting near him far too risky.

Assault Game Mode

Time awarded for capturing Point A on all Assault maps has been reduced from 4 minutes to 3 minutes.

Upon losing Point A, any defenders that are dead, or that die shortly thereafter, will have a maximum respawn of 3.5 seconds.

Developer Comments: Assault match lengths are averaging higher than we’re happy with, particularly in Competitive where there are multiple rounds. We’re also concerned with how often Offense fully captures Point A and Point B. Reducing the round time from 8 to 7 minutes should address both these concerns, as less overall time rewards better Defense.

Additionally, sometimes Defenders fight late with good intentions at Point A and end up staggered from their team when A falls, leaving their team with uneven footing to defend a rush to B. In these situations, temporarily lowering the respawn time to get those Defenders back with their team should be a better match experience and doesn’t punish players so harshly for wanting to defend Point A.

These changes are meant to shorten the assault game mode, making these maps a little more balanced. Right now, Assault leads to longer matches and punishes the defending team for going hard on defending point A — a mistake which isn’t well explained by the game itself.

All of these changes are currently available for testing; they are subject to change before hitting live servers. The full patch notes, which include bug fixes, Workshop UI changes, and minor quality of life changes for characters, can be found on Blizzard’s official forums.