Overwatch Is Getting Some Big Balance Changes

A new patch just went live on Overwatch's public test servers, and it's a doozy. It introduces Ana, the new support sniper/Mum of the Century, but that's just the beginning. The patch notes are quite a journey, but the gist is that a bunch of heroes' ults now take more effort to charge because self-heals now contribute; D.Va, Zenyatta and McCree got buffs; and there's now a one-of-each-hero-per-team limit in competitive mode. Here are some stand out bits:


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%

Defence Matrix

-Cooldown decreased from 10 seconds to 1 second

-A new resource meter has been added. This meter will deplete while Defence Matrix is active and then recharge when it's not in use.

-Defence Matrix takes 10 seconds to reach full charge from empty

-At a full charge, Defence Matrix will last for 4 seconds

-Defence Matrix will now remain active as long as its assigned hotkey is held

-Defence Matrix has been reclassified as an alternate fire and is now bound to RMB (by default)

-An option to "Toggle Defence Matrix" has been added under Options > Controls > D.Va

-Self-Destruct 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)

Blizzard is hoping these changes will up D.Va's damage absorption and make her a more viable tank. McCree, meanwhile, is getting his range increased a little, such that he can now operate a bit more like Soldier 76. Lastly, Zenyatta is receiving a big shield buff, projectile speed improvements and an ult boost.

Many of you will also be happy to hear that competitive mode no longer allows for rampant hero stacking. There's been a lot of debate about whether allowing multiple instances of the same hero on a team adds new strategic layers to the game or cheapens the consequences of decision-making, but the consensus is that it's too easy to cheese. Blizzard explained:

In Quick Play, where things are intended to be more relaxed, this is fine. But in Competitive Play, we feel that hero stacking is becoming detrimental and leading to some not-so-great player experiences. For example, we've seen organised teams on Assault and Hybrid maps use hero stacking to overtake the first point before the defence has a chance to counter.

We've also seen players use specific stacked compositions just to frustrate their opponents or cause indefinite delays in overtime (among other strategies). While this kind of thing is certainly possible in any mode, the higher stakes of Competitive Play means these kinds of tactics were popping up more often than anyone would like.

So that's that. What do you think of these changes?


    Dammit I was gonna take a break from this.
    But no doom stacks! Zenyatta buffs! D'Va buffs! New support!

      ZENYATTA BUFFS! He needs the extra shields because he has no movement abilities. D.Va is my main tank so I'm glad about the buff

        So happy about the zenyatta buffs. I love playing him but his squishyness makes it difficult. +50 shield and an attack speed buff!? Super keen.
        D'Va I've barely played - always just seemed underwhelming compared to other tanks. But the defence matrix changes sound great.

        Also: mercy buffs. Damage boost upped to 50% from 30% and can now move while casting her ulti, tho ulti takes longer to charge. That's cool.

          I'm so sick of being sniper bait as Zen. A lot of tanks forget to shield you. -_-

            Yeah, as a tank player it's hard tho. Can't just sit in front of him all game, I need to be doing other things too. Rein sure but Winston needs to be jumping into the back line, Hog going off and hooking chumps ect.
            Tis why I only really play Zen when we have a Reinhardt.
            But this should help Zen be more self sufficient.

              It's only if there's snipers. Once there's a sniper, there's no point playing Zen as he's too easy to kill. I have a feeling this may still be an issue

                Well it should mean they cannot one shot to the body anymore, which was the big problem.
                He's still slow with a relatively big hitbox but he's not made of paper so snipers at least need to aim or follow up shot.

                  Yeah, i had a widowmaker shoot me 6 times last night. She missed all but the last one. *sigh*

    I'll probably dive back in right after I finish Persona 4 Arena's story mode (gotta be the longest story mode in the history of story modes!)

    It's a good start, especially as I play mostly as a support or tank, and love playing as D.Va. I personally think, however, that the one hero limit should also be extended to quick play. It's simply not fun to come against 4 or more Torbjorn/Bastions defending a point.

      The whole point of quickly though if for casual players to jump in and have a 'quick' go. Imagine how long it would take for players to find a game if everyone is leaving matches because other players have taken the players they like... You say you love playing as D.Va, imagine every game you started, you couldn't play as her or saw someone playing her in a shitty way, you'd get pretty pissed pretty quickly.

      Last edited 13/07/16 10:05 am

      then just play competitive.. its pretty much the same thing.. except more salt.. leave quick play for the quirky setups.

        Fair point. I think my gripe is more with the lack of imagination my fellow overwatchers. If they were actually trying interesting combinations instead of simply stacking a defensive point with Torbjorn's then it would be more fun

          I don't run into stacking tobjorns that often... i remember only losing to them one time.. after that we got over it pretty quick..

          wish they fix matchmaking in competitive though.. being matched vs a team whos average rating is 10-15 above your team kinda sucks and plain unfun.

      Nah, leave quick match untouched. It's the place to try different heroes and compositions. At the moment I prefer to play qm because there are so many people in comp that shouldn't be there. They wouldn't have a clue what team work means, what communication means, what composition means. People that refuse to change heroes - I understand having a 'main' but that doesn't mean that hero is good in every situation - you need to adapt. Then there's the people that are like "we need a tank/healer" yet they select their favourite class.

        Man, quick play is so much more chilled out, now all the 'serious' players are busy whinging in comp. Will be a shame when they realise they're actually shit and return to quick play.

    Man I knew McCree was under powered following the nerf, thank god blizzard ignored all the 'McCree is fine' "Lrn2LMB" "Lrn2Headshot" "Stillusedcompetitively" trolls on the forums.

      He still isnt too bad. A range increase is a good buff though because now that he doesnt hit as hard, if he can play more a mid-range sniper with some defense (flashbang and quick roll) then it seems like a good progression.

      I love the sound of the D.va and Zenyatta buffs. Zen is a cool character but hard to justify playing as in a lot of circumstances.

    They change D.va but not in the way we need.

    Evangelion Unit-02/Asuka skin! C'mon...

    You are all missing the most important change:

    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

    I'm just glad theyre fixing the soldier 76 recoil exploit

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