Overwatch Team Will Roll Back Bastion’s Unpopular Buff

Overwatch Team Will Roll Back Bastion’s Unpopular Buff

Earlier this week, Overwatch‘s Bastion buff went live and, as usual, the sky fell. Players were so devastated about the changes, and so vocal, that the game’s director Jeff Kaplan just said he’d roll them back, a little consolingly. But two days post-patch, did players really have enough time to develop workable strategies to counter the apparent monster?

Bastion received a huge boost on Tuesday after a few weeks of testing on the PTR. It’s formidable now, finally a respectable defence hero who requires coordination to counter. In recon mode, Bastion can heal on the go, although his bullet spread is more narrow, his magazine size is larger. Switching to sentry mode takes less time, and in that mode, Bastion’s magazine size is larger, with a larger bullet spread. Also, Bastion is now “ironclad,” taking 35% less damage in sentry or tank mode.

Essentially, Bastion has become more flexible, durable and deadly.

With the boost, Bastion can survive powerful ultimate attacks by healing through them or moving quickly out of the way. It can mow down Reinhardt’s shield in a matter of seconds. And, more damning, a Mercy-Reinhardt-Bastion triad is a fierce adversary. Bastion’s become a near-necessary pick in the days after the buff, something Overwatch players attribute to its apparent irreverence for balance.

Overwatch players swore they’d quit unless Bastion is nerfed. The Bastion tag on Twitter has players calling the boost “OP,” “beyond broken,” “unkillable.” The buff is “the worst thing ever done to Overwatch.”

But two days post-buff, an entire player base isn’t going to magically know the best way to deal with an overhauled, powerful hero. That’s normal. Kaplan said as much in his recent post:

“Balance changes can be very difficult to make when emotions run so high in the community. There is outrage if a hero does not get played a lot (like with Bastion or Symmetra). We make changes to make those heroes more viable which means they will get played more. The result is, people need to adjust to playing against Symmetra and Bastion more… and they are more powerful. We cannot just magically make Bastion get picked more so the stats look pretty and not make changes to make him more viable at the same time. . . Bastion isn’t the ‘I Win button’ and he can be focused and countered. When a team is coordinated, he is far scarier than when a team is just playing a pick-up/deathmatch style of play — and I’ve witnessed both over the past few nights.”

Kaplan added that he’d had an experience he’d considered unfair last night while taking Bastion out for a spin. A skilled Tracer player focused him. He leaned on his self-heal and ended up besting that Tracer in recon mode, despite her being a better player, in his opinion. That convinced him that some players’ complaints were valid, and to make some changes.

With that said, Kaplan explains, “I do think there is a high amount of hyperbole around this particular situation.”

Overwatch players tend to react strongly to buffs. When Dva was nerfed, the sky was falling. Now, players have become more savvy using her shield. When Roadhog’s Hook 2.0 was released, the sky was falling. Now, even after his recent nerf, players have learned to be more judicious about their hook attacks. Even the release of Ana was met with fear and panic.

It’s no news that Overwatch players are precious about the game’s balance — as they should be, because it’s asymmetric. But adaptability is key for a live, online game.

Bastion’s buff could be an exciting opportunity to adapt to the new meta, not the end of the world. Can’t go after Bastion on your own anymore? Bring a tank with you. Hit Bastion with a Discord Orb and send Sombra in. There are ways to counter it, and they will take coordination, Overwatch‘s greatest asset, to discern. I suffered some gnarly deaths-by-Bastion in competitive mode last night, especially on the Anubis map. It forced my team to think more strategically.

I trust Kaplan’s assessments on Overwatch‘s balance. With that said, players should scale back the impulse to immediately burn a new, developing meta to the ground. Time spent complaining about Bastion’s changes on social media could be spent forging new strategies. I was really excited to see how teams would overcome it.


  • At the end of the day, contrary to what Blizzard was trying for, everyone has picked their mains and rages when they no longer control the meta as much as they did.

    • That is exactly right, as soon as their “main” falls out of the “meta”, suddenly the sky is falling.

      The worst thing about the meta is that people at all ranks think you need to pick it exactly every time to win…

      • Agreed.

        If people are worried about countering a decent Bastion setup … a single Sombra will wreck Bastion’s day. Start choosing classes to counter it. Or if you can’t beat ’em … join them. A Bastion counter is definitely, another Bastion (tested this one myself last night). Teamwork will always beat a Bastion turtle set up. Just stop treating a team game as a bunch of solo players lumped together.

  • Why they do all this during a season i’ll never understand.
    “Over the past few nights I’ve played with, as and against Bastion. My perception is that he is a little too powerful right now” – Kaplan
    Why wasn’t that picked up in the PTR? i know it’s mostly for bug testing, but 2 days after release into the wild and into competitive, and he decides it’s too much? Over the past few nights… did he play PTR at all? It was all anyone spoke about.

    People have had to play with this, mess up or artificially inflate their SR (with team mates, Rein/Mercy), and now it changes again.

    I think any changes should push through to quickplay, and once things are stable there, then take it to competitive. Since PTR isn’t picking these things up.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of Kaplan, he’s great, but constantly changing the goal posts during a season will piss off the players. Seasons should be set in stone from launch to close.

  • Sounds like the self-heal while on move was the tipping point. Perhaps slow down movement and firing a lot while healing? Makes sense.

    But the main thing that they messed up and makes no sense is that turret mode tracking is full speed. That’s insanely stupid. You have this large machine gun mount and it tracks at the speed of a human, totally breaking physics (inb4 “its a game bro”). Further, the defence characteristics of Bastion are used IRL – a machine gun is used to make a ‘wall’ so that enemies can’t move in that area, forcing them into other places. Making tracking slower doesn’t stop this ability, but definitely stops the bullshit “I’m a super-tanky machine gun with god-like reflexes and here to fuck you up”.

    If they tweaked the heal-while-move aspect and made turret mode track slower, they’d finally get an actual defence hero.

  • Imo the biggest proof of him being overpowered is that Genji, his hard counter, can no longer kill him. n top of that, Tracer cannot kill him at all if he’s in turret mode. Torb’s level 2 turrets literally cannot kill him as he can just outheal them.

    I don’t agree with the whining 99% of the time, but when you remove all the hard counters from a hero and they *cannot* be killed by a single player, you need to rethink the changes you’ve made to the game.

    • I agree the healing could be reduced a little, but his counters have changed. As @spruppet noted, Bastion is much more vulnerable to ranged attacks now because his bullet scatter goes to shit past medium range and he doesn’t score headshots any more.

  • So Symetra still dominating ‘no-limits’ mode. Every second game I try ends up ether 6 Symetra or almost 6v6 Syemteras.

  • So they’re not rolling back the update to Bastion at all as the article title claims, but instead are going to make further changes.

    Perhaps change the article to more accurately reflect what is actually happening rather than confuse the issue by claiming something that’s not happening?

    • Then again winston dps is only useful against supports when the team doesn’t want to group together. Which admittedly is almost all the the time :S

  • News websites are talking about overwatch again at the start of the new season and ahead of their new hero reveal. Mission accomplished Blizzard.

  • They are not “rolling back the changes”. They’re nerfing one stat. The iron clad damage reduction is being lowered from 35% to 20%. That’s far from rolling back Bastion to pre-patch.

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