‘Overwatch’: Blizzard Testing Big Changes For Lucio, Competitive Play

Overwatch has several healing characters, with Lucio perhaps the most popular among them. But the Brazilian DJ’s effectiveness could be about to get a big change, with developer Blizzard toying with alterations to the hero in its Public Test Realm (PTR).

A new build of the Overwatch PTR has gone live, and in the developer comments, Blizzard noted that Lucio seemed like an essential choice for many teams.

“Lucio has often felt like a must-pick due to his raw healing output and the versatility of providing a speed bonus to your entire team. The goal of these changes is to keep those elements feeling strong, but making them harder to apply to everyone on your team at all times.”

Lucio’s Crossfade ability has had the biggest change in the latest Overwatch PTR build. The range of effectiveness has been reduced from 30 meters to 10 meters, as Game Informer notes, with a temporary visual aid added in the game to help Lucio and his teammates see exactly the radius where his healing and speed boost songs are effective.

But there’s a tradeoff for the smaller radius: Blizzard has increased the healing-per-second effectiveness of Heal Song by 50 percent in both regular and Amp It Up modes. These are changes Blizzard has added to the PTR Lucio to make the Overwatch hero more balanced.

“Much of Lucio’s character power was tied up in his large passive auras, which caused other elements of his kit to be weakened over time in an attempt to balance him. Now that his auras are more focused it will allow them to be much stronger and allow Lucio to be more active in his role.”

To that effect, there’s a change to Lucio’s ultimate as well. Sound Barrier’s radius has been brought down from 30 meters to 20 meters. But, again, in search of balance, Blizzard has adjusted Lucio’s mobility to make it easier for him to get closer to his Overwatch teammates. His movement speed has been boosted by 30 percent when he’s wallriding, and he gets a little speed burst when jumping from a wall.

In addition, the Overwatch developer is modifying Lucio’s Sonic Amplifier weapon. The projectile speed is now 50 instead of 40 in the PTR. The alternate fire of the weapon, Soundwave, now takes into account vertical orientation when knocking back his enemies — meaning a crouching Lucio might find it easier to send enemies into a pit or off a cliff when he uses the “boop” — and it’s now even effective on Bastion while he’s in Sentry mode.

Blizzard said the end result here is that Lucio should prove stronger when in a team that stays close together, but less effective when teammates are spread out. If there’s an Overwatch team full of heroes like Widowmaker, Genji, Pharah, and Hanzo, Lucio might prove a less popular option now.

Yet, while some might feel that Lucio has been “nerfed” or weakened with his changes in the Overwatch PTR, particularly mobile Lucio players — especially those who wallride often — might feel he’s been “buffed” or strengthened.

Meanwhile, Blizzard is attempting to reduce draws in Overwatch Competitive Play by testing changes to Assault and Hybrid maps in the PTR. Blizzard has added a tracking system to those maps that will consider how close a team was to capturing an objective.

Much like the system that’s in place for Escort and Assault/Escort maps, where Overwatch determines a winner based on which team movers the payload the farthest, Blizzard now accounts for which team has taken the largest portion of the objective and establishes a winner that way.

Lastly in the latest Overwatch PTR build, Blizzard has changed the Eichenwalde map to give the attacking team a new route from the spawn area to the payload capture point.

As ever, these changes might not make it into the live, full version of the game. Yet, whatever the case, Lucio appears to be in for big changes when the next official Overwatch update lands.

[Featured Image by Blizzard]