Blizzard Entertainment rolled out a new patch to the Overwatch Public Test Region Tuesday evening to give players a chance to test it out before wider release. The new patch also gives PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC users a preview of what is coming to the hero shooter, such as more tweaks to Competitive Mode, buffs and nerfs to select characters, and the all-new just revealed character.
Competitive Mode continues to see changes as Blizzard Entertainment reacts to player tactics that may make the mode less fun and competitive than envisioned. One such tactic is loading a team up with the same character (aka hero stacking) to gain an advantage or cause delays during overtime. The fix for this is obvious, and the developer will prevent teams from having repeat heroes in the fight at the same time.
“We’ve seen organized teams on Assault and Hybrid maps use hero stacking to overtake the first point before the defense 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,” Game Director Jeff Kaplan explained in a Battle.net forum post.
“Today’s PTR includes a mechanic that limits the number of each hero in a Competitive Play match to one per team. If the change addresses the problems like we’re hoping it does, we’ll roll it into the upcoming PC, PS4, and XB1 patches once our public testing is complete. If not, we’ll hold off and explore other possible solutions.”
Some of the potential issues with preventing duplicate heroes in Competitive Mode revolve around character switching. This is a fundamental concept during Overwatch matches to allow changes to a team based on the flow of a match. Preventing repeat heroes while allowing players to switch characters mid-match will need to be thoroughly hammered out before deployment.
On the hero balancing side of the update, D.Va received the most attention. The developers felt like the mech-riding teen wasn’t getting enough attention compared to the tanks because of her comparatively poor damage absorption and “slightly underwhelming” ultimate ability.
D.Va’s Defense Matrix ability has been moved to an alternate fire ability by default with an option to change the key binding as necessary. The ability now has a resource meter that will deplete when active and recharge when inactive. The Defense Matrix will last for four seconds while at full charge and will remain active for as long as the assigned key is held. Meanwhile, her Self-Destruct ultimate costs 15 percent less with the explosion delayed by one second less and now no damage to D.Va herself.
Overwatch‘s robotic monk, Zenyatta, receives a buff too. His base shields have been increased by 50 points to 150, while his movement speed has been doubled and healing increased to 300 health per second when the Transcendence ability is activated. Additionally, the speed of his orb projectiles has been increased by 400 percent.
Other hero changes include a range increase to McCree’s Peacemaker and ultimate cost increases for Soldier 76, Roadhog, Lucio, and Bastion.
Interestingly, Blizzard also added support for Overwatch PC players with 21:9 ultra-widescreen monitors. Unfortunately, users of those monitors discovered the developer’s solution was to chop off part of the top and bottom of the 16:9 picture to get it to fit the wider frame, as shared in the Battle.net forums. Kaplan responded by explaining that the studio has no plans to increase the max field of view (FOV) beyond 103.
“I know this is not the answer our 21:9 players want to hear. But we feel like it would be unfair to 16:10 and 16:9 players if 21:9 gave a substantial FOV advantage,” the Overwatch Game Director wrote.
Finally, Ana is now playable in the Overwatch Public Test Region. The new character was revealed yesterday and fills the Support Sniper role. You can read her full details here.
What do you think of these upcoming changes to Overwatch? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image via Blizzard Entertainment]