If you were slowly losing your mind in Quick Play this past week, worry not as Season 4 of Competitive Play has now finally arrived. The update does not bring with it a new hero as many have speculated, but it does bring with it the long-awaited Server Browser, a variety of balance changes, and some much needed fixes to stop the endless stall-outs in the 2CP game mode.
There are a ridiculous amount of changes that came with this update, so if you're interested in all of the details make sure to visit the official blog. On the other hand, if you're just looking for the short version I'll list out all of the important changes, as well as the brief video introduction to the Server Browser. Here's the list, starting with the balance changes:
• New Hero Option: Nano Boost Sensitivity
- Allows players to adjust Nano Boost’s targeting sensitivity
• Configuration: Sentry
- Reconfiguration time decreased from 1.5 seconds to 1.0 second
- Bullet spread increased by 50%
- Bullet spread is always at maximum (it no longer increases as the weapon is fired)
- Magazine size increased from 200 to 300
- No longer deals critical damage
• Configuration: Recon
- Bullet spread decreased by 25%
- Magazine size increased from 20 to 25
- Can now be used while moving
- Now bound to secondary fire (formerly Ability 2)
- No longer interrupted by taking damage
- A new resource meter has been added that depletes while Self-Repair is active and recharges when not in use
• Configuration: Tank
- No longer grants bonus armor
• New Passive Ability: Ironclad
- Bastion takes 35% less damage while in Configuration: Sentry or Tank
Developer Comments: The goal of these changes is to move some of Bastion's power from Configuration: Sentry to Recon, while keeping its sentry mode a strong option, especially versus tanks and barriers. Overall, Bastion should feel stronger and more flexible with these changes.
• Defense Matrix
- Enemy shots no longer need to travel a minimum distance before they can be blocked
Developer Comments: Previously, there was a minimum distance a projectile had to travel before it could be destroyed by Defense Matrix. This made it nearly worthless in situations where an enemy was right next to your teammate, such as when Roadhog hooks your ally. This change removes that restriction so Defense Matrix should now reliably destroy projectiles regardless of how far they have traveled.
- Mei can now be targeted by allies while in Cryo-Freeze
- While performing a resurrection, Mercy now becomes temporarily invulnerable along with the allies being revived
• Caduceus Staff
- Zenyatta can no longer be targeted when Transcendence is active
• New Hero Option: Guardian Angel Sensitivity
- Allows players to adjust Guardian Angel’s targeting sensitivity
• New Hero Option: Beam Sensitivity
- Allows players to adjust targeting sensitivity on Mercy’s Caduceus Staff beams
Developer Comments: Mercy’s Resurrect has always been very powerful, but it often forces her to sacrifice herself to use it well. There have been changes in the past that attempted to help her in this area, but haven’t done enough to solve it. This change means that once she uses the ability, she will always survive long enough to be with her team again.
• Scrap Gun
- Spread decreased by 20%
• Chain Hook
- Targets are now pulled to a location 3.5 meters away, up from 2 meters
- Cooldown increased from 6 to 8
Developer Comments: The Roadhog changes overall reduce the power of his hook a bit, but his gun is now more effective when not using the hook.
• New Hero Option: Hack Sensitivity
- Allows players to adjust the targeting sensitivity on Sombra’s Hack ability
• Sentry Turret
- [CONSOLE] Damage per second increased from 21 to 25.5
Developer Comments: Back in July, the damage per second from Symmetra’s turrets was reduced by 30 percent. We’ve been keeping an eye on her over the past few months and decided to restore about 15 percent of that damage. On PC, her damage is still 30.
• Rivet Gun
- Ammo is now loaded earlier in the reload animation
• Build Turret
- [CONSOLE] Damage increased from 10 to 12
Developer Comments: Like Symmetra, the damage from Torbjörn’s turrets was also reduced by 30 percent in July. After monitoring his effectiveness, we’ve decided to give his turret a small boost, restoring about 15 percent of the damage. By contrast, the damage from Torbjörn’s turret on PC is still 14.
• New Hero Option: Grappling Hook Sensitivity
- Allows players to adjust Grappling Hook’s targeting sensitivity
• Critical hit volume reduced by 15%
Developer Comments: Winston's head hit volume was just abnormally big, making him take more damage than he otherwise should. This change brings it more in line with other heroes.
• New Hero Option: Projected Barrier Sensitivity
- Allows players to adjust Projected Barrier’s targeting sensitivity
• New Hero Option: Harmony Orb Sensitivity
- Allows players to adjust Harmony Orb’s targeting sensitivity
• New Hero Option: Discord Orb Sensitivity
- Allows players to adjust Discord Orb’s targeting sensitivity
MAP BALANCE CHANGES
• Respawn Delay
- When attackers outnumber defenders while taking a control point on Assault, Escort and Assault/Escort maps, the defenders’ respawn time will slowly increase until it hits a maximum value or the defense manages to gain the upper hand.
Developer Comments: Until now, stalling an attack by repeatedly throwing yourself at the point has been a common defensive strategy on Assault, Escort and Assault/Escort maps—even when the attackers have a decisive advantage. Typically, this tactic doesn’t change the outcome of battle; it simply delays the attackers’ progress.
- A second gate no longer closes after the payload passes through the castle doors. Instead, rubble from the damaged doorway partially blocks the entrance.
Developer Comments: Once the offensive team gets through the castle entrance, the map becomes very heavily stacked in the defense’s favor. This change will give the offense more entrance options, which should improve the map’s overall balance.
But wait, there's more! The Overwatch devs have also released a blog detailing all of the changes coming to Season 4 of Competitive Play. You can read the whole thing over at the Overwatch website, but long story short, you now need to play seven games a week in order to prevent rating decay when above Diamond rank, and you need to hold a Top 500 position at the end of the season in order to actually receive the Top 500 rewards. And that's pretty much it for this update. Good luck with your placement matches!