Blizzard released a massive patch to their Overwatch Public Test Realm yesterday, and it has made me very excited for the future of the title.
Within this update, many of the games trouble spots were addressed, and we finally got a full glimpse as to whom the next playable hero to join the Overwatch community will be.
New Hero: Ana
I am going to address the elephant in the room first as I think it is the primary reason why many of you will be reading this article. While many people had rumored Sombra would be the next addition, Blizzard decided to switch it up and add Ana, a founding member of Overwatch and mother to Pharah. Anna is a support hero yet has a unique play style compared to the existing characters due to her weaponry and abilities.
Weapon of Choice: Biotic Rifle
Ana’s rifle shoots darts that can restore health to her allies or deal ongoing damage to her enemies. She can use the rifle’s scope to zoom in on targets and make highly accurate shots.
Ability #1: Sleep Dart
Ana fires a dart from her sidearm, rendering an enemy unconscious (though any damage will rouse them).
Ability #2: Biotic Grenade
Ana tosses a biotic bomb that deals damage to enemies and heals allies in a small area of effect. Affected allies briefly receive increased healing from all sources, while enemies caught in the blast cannot be healed for a few moments.
Ultimate Ability: Nano Boost
After Ana hits one of her allies with a combat boost, they temporarily move faster, deal more damage, and take less damage from enemies’ attacks.
General Patch Updates
- If a match goes into Overtime for more than 20 seconds, the fuse will now start to “burn down” more quickly
- Players now respawn more slowly during Overtime (increased spawn time by 2 seconds)
- Competitive Play matches can now only have one of each hero per team. For more info, click here.
- Added Ana as an AI-controlled hero in Practice vs. AI, Play vs. AI, and Custom Game modes
- Timing on Zenyatta's Rapid Discord achievement is more lenient
- Targeted teammates now respond by saying “I'm with you,” when players use the “Group Up” communication
- Renamed five sprays to avoid duplicate titles
Hero Balance Changes
- Self-healing abilities now charge ultimate abilities. As a result, some heroes’ ultimate costs have been adjusted (see below).
- Configuration: Tank
- Ultimate cost increased by 10%
- Defense Matrix
- Cooldown decreased from 10 seconds to 1 second
- A new resource meter has been added. This meter will deplete while Defense Matrix is active and then recharge when it’s not in use.
- Defense Matrix takes 10 seconds to reach full charge from empty
- At a full charge, Defense Matrix will last for 4 seconds
- Defense Matrix will now remain active as long as its assigned hotkey is held
- Defense Matrix has been reclassified as an alternate fire and is now bound to RMB (by default)
- An option to “Toggle Defense Matrix” has been added under Options > Controls > D.Va
- Ultimate cost decreased by 15%
- Explosion delay reduced from 4 seconds to 3 seconds
- Explosion no longer damages D.Va (the player who activates it)
Developer Notes: D.Va isn't being selected as often as our other tanks, and we feel a lot of that stems from the underperformance of her damage absorption abilities. So, we've reconfigured her Defensive Matrix, making it more flexible and giving players the ability to use it more often. We’ve also given Self-Destruct a little more oomph, because it felt slightly underwhelming when compared to many of Overwatch's other ultimate abilities.
- Sound Barrier
- Ultimate cost increased by 10%
- Now maintains full damage at longer distances, but will deal less damage at extreme ranges
Developer Notes: While the game does feel better following the nerf to McCree’s close-range damage in a previous patch, it left him a little too weak. So, we're increasing his effective distance, making his range similar to Soldier: 76’s. This should hopefully give players another option for dealing with pesky long-range damage dealing heroes like Pharah and Hanzo.
- Caduceus Staff
- Damage Boost
- Bonus damage increased from 30% to 50%
- Effect will no longer stacks with bonus damage provided by another Mercy
- Damage Boost
- Ultimate charge cost increased by 30%
- Movement is no longer prevented during activation
- Guardian Angel instantly resets upon use
Developer Notes: Mercy's ultimate is one of the most powerful abilities in the game; however, players would often fly into the fray and die while using it. With this update, Resurrect will now take a bit longer to charge, but Mercy will be a lot safer when activating the ability in the middle of combat. In addition, we always intended Mercy’s Damage Boost beam to be her primary method for dealing damage, but it often felt so weak that you were better off pulling out your blaster. To help address this, we've slightly increased its potency.
- Whole Hog
- Ultimate cost increased by 45%
- Heavy Pulse Rifle
- Spread recovery will begin after a short delay (rather than instantly)
- Tactical Visor
- Ultimate cost increased by 10%
- Base shields increased by 50 (now 50 Health/150 Shield)
- Orb of Discord and Orb of Harmony
- Projectile speed has been increased from 30 to 120
- Movement speed is now doubled upon activation
- Healing amount increased from 200 to 300 health per second
Developer Notes: While Zenyatta has never had the healing abilities of Lúcio or Mercy, he made up for it by dealing more damage. However, his lack of mobility and low health has meant he’s struggled to find a place in many games. To increase his effectiveness, we've made several changes, the biggest of which is an increased shield pool. This will allow him to go head-to-head with more enemies. The Orb of Harmony and Discord changes are also a quality of life change, helping Zenyatta move his orbs around and apply their effects more quickly. And lastly, we’ve increased Transcendence’s healing throughput. This ultimate was designed to be the most effective against sustained, high-damage fire and least effective against short, high-damage bursts (like D.Va’s or Junkrat's ultimates). But, due to the amount of healing it provided, there were times when it was possible for even sustained fire to overcome Transcendence’s output. We’ve made the heal powerful and also allowed Zenyatta to move around more quickly while it’s active.
- Players can now enter numerical values for any option that also has slider (e.g. FoV, volume, sensitivity, etc.)
- Mouse sensitivity can now be adjusted out to two decimals
- Mid-match tips can now be toggled on or off (this will enable/disable tips that pop up after a player dies)
- Friend Request toasts can now be toggled on or off
- Friend notifications can now be toggled on or off
- Whispers can now be toggled on or off
- Added 21:9 aspect ratio support
- Players can now enable a real-world clock by toggling the “Display System Clock” setting
- Certain commendations will now appear less frequently during end-of-round voting (e.g. Zenyatta’s Transcendence Healing and Zarya’s Projected Barriers Applied)
- The Hero Gallery now remembers the last hero you were looking at and will properly highlight that hero whenever returning to the gallery
- Fixed a bug that caused the “payload is nearing its final destination” music to continue playing even after the match was over
- Fixed a bug that caused the UI to disappear whenever the game was forced into windowed mode by an external application
- Fixed a bug that would sometimes cause visual healing effects to appear on the wrong hero whenever multiple players attempted to up a Health Pack
- Fixed a bug that would sometimes cause different heroes’ victory poses to clip into each other
- Fixed several lighting issues with the killcam
- The payload on King’s Row will no longer retreat back inside its starting location if the attacking team fails to push it
- Adjusted the Hero Select screen volume for the attacking team on Watchpoint: Gibraltar
- Added Spectator camera collision to most maps
- Fixed issues with player collision across multiple maps
- Fixed issues with ambient lighting and shadows across multiple maps
- Fixed a bug that caused D.Va to sometimes ignore player collision when summoning her mech
- Fixed a bug where Mei’s Ice Wall would persist in the game world even after the player switched heroes or left the game
- Fixed even more bugs that allowed Reaper to Shadow Step to unintended locations
- Fixed a bug that sometimes caused Reinhardt’s Barrier Field to get stuck in the “on” position if the player used the “Toggle Barrier” setting
- Fixed a bug that sometimes caused Roadhog to accidentally Chain Hook targets standing behind him
- Fixed a bug that caused Winston’s Barrier Projector shield to ignore the “Sound Effects Volume” setting