Overwatch Test Patch Nerfs Genji, Buffs Mei And Mercy 

Overwatch's competitive season two patch just hit the public test servers, and it's a doozy. Nerfs, buffs, laughter, tears of delicious, delicious salt — it's all here.

The centrepiece of this PTR patch is, of course, competitive season two. The skill rating system has been overhauled and divided up into tiers, and sudden death is dead, unloved and unmourned. You can read more about that here.

Balance changes, however, are the real order of the day, and some of them stand to have craterous impacts. Here are the biggies:

-The Blizzard projectile now pierces barriers
-Radius has been increased from 8 meters to 10 meters
Developer Comments: Mei has an interesting toolkit, but her ultimate often felt like it was too difficult to use effectively. Consequently, it felt weak compared to many other ultimate abilities. The freeze effect has been piercing barriers for some time now, but the projectile would still be blocked. Now, you can throw it down exactly where you want it, so it's much easier to utilise the full radius effectively.
Caduceus Staff
-Healing Beam
-Healing-per-second has been increased by 20%
-Resurrected allies will be able to manoeuvre after 2.25 seconds (reduced from 3 seconds)
Developer Comments: Resurrection now allows teammates to jump back into the fight more quickly, which should help Mercy survive after activating her ultimate. Mercy's healing is also getting a boost to solidify her role as a strong, single-target healer.
Double jump no longer resets when wall climbing
-No longer deals damage to traps like Widowmaker's Venom Mine or Junkrat's Steel Trap
-No longer bypasses Junkrat's Steel Trap
Swift Strike
-No longer interrupts quick melee attacks
-Duration of Genji's ultimate has been reduced from 8 seconds to 6 seconds
Developer Comments: Genji was a little too difficult to pin down, and these changes will balance his speed. Swift Strike no longer cancels the recovery time from a quick melee attack, so players will no longer be able to get a free melee attack before using Swift Strike. Lastly, Dragonblade's duration was long enough that it often felt too difficult to reasonably counter.
Orb of Discord
-The amount of damage amplified by a target with Orb of Discord has been decreased from 50% to 30%
Orb of Destruction
-Damage has been increased from 40 to 46
Developer Comments: Zenyatta is in a far better place since the last update, but the strength of Orb of Discord has turned him into an almost mandatory pick. These changes reduce Orb of Discord's effectiveness, but his damage-dealing potential has been increased. The amount of damage that he delivers should feel largely unaffected by the change.

D.Va, Hanzo, McCree, Lucio, and Roadhog also received tweaks, albeit less massive ones.

Basically, though, Mei is now significantly more powerful and tactically versatile, Mercy is a goddamn single target healing machine (I wouldn't be surprised to see this buff reduced a bit before the patch goes live on the main servers), Genji is grounded because he's been a bad, bad boy (and players couldn't figure out how to counter him), and Zenyatta's Orb of Discord isn't quite as ridiculous as it used to be. I'm mostly glad about these changes — Mei and Mercy have needed buffs for ages — but I worry that the Genji nerf might be going overboard. We'll see.

Other important changes:

  • There's now an option for all characters to see allies' health bars. THANK GOODNESS.

  • Blizzard says they "reverted a recent change to reduce size of heroes' projectiles," which might mean hitboxes are uncomfortably large again. I haven't gotten a chance to measure this change, but I'm curious/worried. In the meantime, Blizzard explained, "Altering the size of projectiles in flight had too many unintended side effects to keep in the game, at least in its current form. We will continue watching this and make additional changes if necessary."

  • Watchpoint: Gibraltar's first checkpoint has been removed. Guess it's not necessary after some other balance passes. That will take some getting used to!

  • Lucio goes less fast now. I understand why (he was basically a mandatory pick), but I'm sad.

Now for the usual disclaimer: Blizzard is only testing these elements of the game, and they're all subject to change. Right now Blizzard's planning to launch the second season of competitive mode on September 6, but even that's not set in stone. Regardless, it looks like we've got some interesting times ahead. What do you think?


    The mercy changes are interesting. Don't know if she need's the healing buff though (i main supports). I mean it'll be nice, but i never noticed her healing to be lacking

    When are they going to undo the Torbjorn nerf on consoles so that when someone picks him it doesn't automatically turn the game into a 5v7 match with the 7th player giving the other team good ult resources from their constantly dying turret?

    As much as I hate good Genji players, I think that's a bit too much.

      Too much? Hardly man. Look at the effectiveness of his ultimate compared to his closest counterpart Tracer. A semi decent Genji is easily the biggest team carrier available at the moment. This is Blizzard though its on PTR for a reason, so things could change and if not you know they will continually be re-evaluating as the game continues to evolve. Balance changes are a good thing anyway to change up the meta bit over the default lucio/zen combo at the moment.

      sidenote: personally I would much rather have to deal with a Genji than a bloody Pharah especially when paired up with Mercy.

    Bye bye Double Lucio dash of awesome in places like Voskia, Temple & any other cap the area map.

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