Most of the time, Overwatch patches are relatively small in size and tend to make minor changes across the board. The latest patch is the absolute opposite: it’s one of the biggest patches released in the game’s history and has a massive effect on about half the hero roster, with some enormous nerfs to Doomfist and Sigma in particular.
The patch, which Blizzard called a “remaster” that would “require a relatively large download for all platforms”, is currently live on the Overwatch test realm for PC. Doomfist is the biggest loser from the changes, with his rocket punch maximum charge taking 1.4 seconds instead of a full second and his shields gained per hit reduced to 30 from 35.
The patch will also be the first one since the introduction of Sigma, and as expected the new tank is in line for some corrections of his own. His gravitic flux doesn’t hold players in the air for quite as long, and his shield will no longer stop Brigitte’s whip or, more devastatingly, Roadhog’s hook. The experimental barrier has an extra cooldown after being recalled, and it doesn’t regenerate as quickly either, which should be fodder for more hitscan barriers that like to whittle Sigma’s shield down as fast as possible. And that comes after Sigma’s base attack was already nerfed across the board.
On the plus side, D.Va players will be happy. The Korean mecha pilot’s getting a lower delay on her Defense Matrix, and its regeneration rate has been boosted from 12.5 percent a second to 16 percent. Roadhog’s gun has an extra shot, which is hugely helpful in a lot of scenarios, and Winston’s portable shield is now a little more durable (but has a significantly longer cooldown, so it might not be that handy).
Here’s the full list of upcoming changes:
Defense Matrix: Regeneration rate increased from 12.5% to 16% per second, Delay before regeneration begins lowered from 1 second to 0.75 seconds
Protective Barrier: Cooldown increased from 9 to 10 seconds
Scrap Gun: Ammunition increased from 5 to 6.
Kinetic Grasp: No longer blocks Chain Hook and Whip Shot
Gravitic Flux: High gravity effect duration reduced from 1.2 to 0.9 seconds
Experimental Barrier: Regeneration rate reduced from 175 to 150 per second, Now has a 1 second cooldown after recalling the barrier, Initial 0.2 second cast time removed
Barrier Projector: Duration increased from 6 to 9 seconds, Health increased from 600 to 700
Immortality Field: Health decreased from 250 to 200
Crossfade: Speed boost’s effect increased from 20% to 25%
Amp It Up: Speed boost’s amplification increased from 50% to 60%
Wall Ride: Speed buff reduced from 40% to 30%
Valkyrie: The extra beams created by Valkyrie now ignore enemy barriers
Biotic Grasp: Self-healing reduced from 30 to 20 health per second
Rocket Punch: Time to reach max charge increased from 1 to 1.4 seconds
The Best Defense: Shield health gained per hit reduced from 35 to 30
Translocator: Cooldown increased from 4 to 6 seconds, Cooldown now begins immediately upon deploying the beacon or if it is killed by an enemy
Photon Barrier: Duration reduced from 15 to 12 seconds, Health reduced from 5000 to 4000
Sentry Turret: Damage per second reduced from 50 to 40
Photon Projector: Players impacted by the primary fire beam should now hear a louder impact sound
Pulse Pistols: Damage falloff now starts at 13 meters, up from 10 meters
Because so many of the changes are so widespread, there’ll be an implicit effect on heroes that weren’t included like Soldier 76, McCree, Ashe, and maybe Reinhardt. The consistent nerfs to Symmetra’s anti-shield abilities will certain make it easier for Reinhardt/Orisa to keep their barriers up a little longer — but on the flipside, Doomfist’s popularity is likely to plummet due to the nerfs, which should help keep squishier characters like the Egyptian scientist on the field a little longer too. He can still one shot 200HP characters against a wall with enough charge-up, though.
The changes around shield tanks and shields in general are good news for McCree, Soldier 76 and Ashe, which received no changes directly but will massively benefit from these smaller tweaks. The impact of that alone is likely to make characters like D.Va and Winston more popular and necessary, which should result in a lot more fragmented and mobile compositions once the patch pans out.
Some smaller tweaks might be fun to witness, too. What happens to the new Symmetra ult when it comes up against a nano’d Roadhog or Bastion turret, not to mention when there’s a Baptiste ult in front? However it pans out, the Overwatch meta is set for a massive shakeup. That’s why Blizzard are calling the game a “remaster”, I suppose, although as long as the game doesn’t get remastered to the point where Symmetra’s original design and the ear-splitting sound of her beam returns, it’s all good.