While it was originally slated for September 6th, Blizzard has decided to throw the community a bone by unleashing Overwatch's Competitive Season 2 onto the live servers a few days in advance. Besides the long-awaited return of Competitive Play, Season 2 brings with it Eichenwalde, a brand new map, as well as a whole slew of balance changes.
If you're interested in the full patch notes you can find them by heading over to the Blizzard forums. On the other hand, if you're just interested in all of the hero changes and balance fixes, you'll find them right below:
• Ultimates that consume the ultimate meter when activated will now drain the meter more quickly (.25 second instead of 1 second)
• Reverted a recent change to reduce size of heroes' projectiles
Developer Comments: Altering the size of projectiles in flight had too many unintended side effects to keep in the game, at least in its current form. We will continue watching this and make additional changes if necessary.
• Defense Matrix
After being activated, Defense Matrix will begin regenerating following a 1-second delay (formerly .5 seconds)
Developer Comments: Defense Matrix was too efficient when tapped repeatedly, instead of being held. Now, the recovery delay matches the ability cooldown.
• Hanzo will now experience a 30% decrease in speed while aiming (formerly 40%)
• Maximum projectile speed has been increased by 30%
• Arrow size has been reduced by 33%
Developer Comments: Hanzo has the potential to deal a lot of damage, but he can feel really inconsistent, even at a medium distance. By increasing the projectile speed, we’re extending his reliable range, making it easier to land shots without having to perfectly predict enemy movement.
The Blizzard projectile now pierces barriers
Radius has been increased from 8 meters to 10 meters
Developer Comments: Mei has an interesting toolkit, but her ultimate often felt like it was too difficult to use effectively. Consequently, it felt weak compared to many other ultimate abilities. The freeze effect has been piercing barriers for some time now, but the projectile would still be blocked. Now, you can throw it down exactly where you want it, so it’s much easier to utilize the full radius effectively.
Now drains over a .25-second period (instead of displaying a 50% reduction on the ultimate meter when activated and 0% when confirmed)
Developer Comments: If players managed to counter or avoid McCree's ultimate, it would often regenerate very quickly since only half of the ultimate charge was spent. Now, this ultimate works like every other ultimate that has a duration.
• Healing Beam
Healing-per-second has been increased by 20%
Resurrected allies will be able to maneuver after 2.25 seconds (reduced from 3 seconds)
Developer Comments: Resurrection now allows teammates to jump back into the fight more quickly, which should help Mercy survive after activating her ultimate. Mercy's healing is also getting a boost to solidify her role as a strong, single-target healer.
• Double jump no longer resets when wall climbing
• Dash no longer bypasses Junkrat's Steel Trap
• Swift Strike
No longer interrupts quick melee attacks
Duration of Genji's ultimate has been reduced from 8 seconds to 6 seconds
Developer Comments: Genji was a little too difficult to pin down, and these changes will balance his speed. Swift Strike no longer cancels the recovery time from a quick melee attack, so players will no longer be able to get a free melee attack before using Swift Strike. Lastly, Dragonblade's duration was long enough that it often felt too difficult to reasonably counter.
• Amp It Up
The boosting of movement speed has been decreased by 30% (from a 100% increase to a 70% increase)
Developer Comments: Thanks to Lúcio's speed increase, he was almost a must pick in every lineup.
• Chain Hook
If the hooked target isn't in Roadhog's line of sight when retracting the hook, they will be moved back to the position where they were originally hooked
Developer Comments: This change means that hooked targets will be less likely to slide along walls, potentially ending up in an odd place after they've been reeled in.
• Heavy Pulse Rifle
Bullet spread now happens more quickly when unloading fully-automatic pulse fire
Significantly Increased bullet spread recovery time
Developer Comments: These changes will make burst-firing feel more reliable and increase his effectiveness at longer ranges.
• Orb of Discord
The amount of damage amplified by a target with Orb of Discord has been decreased from 50% to 30%
• Orb of Destruction
Damage has been increased from 40 to 46
Developer Comments: Zenyatta is in a far better place since the last update, but the strength of Orb of Discord has turned him into an almost mandatory pick. These changes reduce Orb of Discord's effectiveness, but his damage-dealing potential has been increased. The amount of damage that he delivers should feel largely unaffected by the change.
While it might still be too early to say this, Overwatch is currently in the most balanced state it has ever been. There are still some heroes such as Bastion that are almost completely useless, but in the general sense nearly every hero is capable of fulfilling some niche role, and that is about as much as you can ever ask for.
Personally, I can't wait to finally be able to play Hanzo without having my team turn into howling banshees the moment his face appears on the picking screen!