If you're like me and you've spent the past 24 hours living under a rock, you may have missed a rather large Overwatch patch. It brought with it the long awaited and much teased Sombra, as well as the new Arcade Mode and a variety of rather exciting balance changes. All in all, its one of the most significant balance patches Overwatch has seen to date!
But since Sombra is most definitely the highlight of this entire update, its probably a good idea to start with her abilities and tactics. Rather than simply bore you with descriptions, I'll show you one of Blizzard's preview videos that goes over pretty much all of the basics. Have a look:
Besides Sombra herself, this update has also brought with it the Arcade Mode - a replacement for the rather poorly made Weekly Brawl system. It currently features 1v1, 3v3, no hero-limit, and even random hero modes, as well as all of the previous brawls (except the seasonal ones) packaged up in one playlist. So if you feel like you need to practice your aiming skills, but don't want to disadvantage your allies while doing so, hop onto the Arcade and see what you can do! Best of all, you can currently earn five free Loot Boxes simply by winning a couple of matches, so make sure to give it a try - you might like what you see.
As for the balance changes, let's just say that they have thrown the entirety of Competitive Play into disarray. Torbjorn is no longer a pile of garbage picked only to troll teammates, Soldier 76 is back with a vengeance, Pharah has once again started seeing play, and the once oppressive Nano Boost has been toned down significantly. If you're interested in the entirety of the patch notes you can head over here, but for now allow me to show you all of the hero related ones:
• Dealing damage to things other than players (like Torbjörn's turret or Symmetra's teleporter) no longer charges ultimate abilities
• Ultimate costs have been increased by 25% for all heroes
Developer Comment: Game-changing ultimate abilities were coming up a bit too frequently. This change helps keep them in check while still allowing them to be powerful.
• Nano Boost no longer increases move speed
Developer Comment: The increased speed from Ana’s Nano Boost made the ability feel unstoppable and forced Ana players to select targets that could really take advantage of the speed boost. Removing the speed boost means that Ana has a reason to apply Nano Boost to a larger variety of heroes, and enemies can fend off the attack more easily.
• Ultimate cost has been decreased by 20%
• Mech health increased to 200 (formerly 100). Armor remains at 400
• Movement speed while firing has been increased by 25%
Developer Comment: We reduced the cost of the Call Mech ultimate ability to compensate for the increased ultimate cost across all heroes (detailed above). D.Va players shouldn’t experience a noticeable change. The rest of these changes help D.Va’s withstand attacks, which will allow her to keep pressuring enemies.
• Amp It Up healing per second has been decreased by 10%
Developer Comment: Lúcio’s overall healing output has always been on par with (or even higher) than Overwatch’s other healers, and his other benefits made him an almost mandatory pick.
• Blizzard cost has been increased by 15%
Developer Comment: Mei’s ultimate was recently given a much larger radius. Now it’s coming up too frequently, considering the impact it can have.
• Passive health regeneration now activates when Mercy avoids taking damage for 1 second (formerly 3 seconds)
Developer Comment: This change allows Mercy to survive more easily by evading enemy fire.
• Minimum explosion damage has been increased by 13%
• Minimum explosion knockback has been decreased to 0%
• Jump Jets lift increased by 35%
Developer Comment: These changes will make the explosions from Pharah’s Rocket Launcher more deadly, so hitting multiple targets should feel better. Her Jump Jets are also getting a boost to increase maneuverability while hovering.
• Bullet damage increased from 17 to 20
• Maximum bullet spread increased from 2.2 to 2.4
Developer Comment: Soldier: 76’s damage felt a little low when compared to similar heroes. This increase affects both his normal fire and his ultimate.
• Scrap is now automatically generated over time
• The amount of scrap collected from a fallen enemy has been decreased by 40%
• Forge Hammer swing speed increased by 25%
• Forge Hammer damage decreased by 27%
Developer Comment: Armor Packs have always been a powerful tool in Torbjörn’s arsenal, but it was often difficult to gather enough scrap to give your team a legitimate boost when they needed it. Conversely, if a team held on long enough, the scrap collected from fallen enemies was often able to generate so many armor packs that enemy teams had a difficult time turning the tide. Automatically generating scrap over time helps smooth out these differences and makes Torbjörn more viable. His hammer swing speed was increased to help him construct level 2 turrets more quickly.
• Venom Mine explosion no longer damages the player who placed the mine
• Widow’s Kiss charge rate increased by 20%
Developer Comment: These changes allow Widowmaker to be more flexible and reactive.
• Particle Barrier power gained from barriers decreased by 20%
• Projected Barrier power gained from barriers decreased by 20%
• [Not listed on official patch notes] Zarya's primary fire is now much more consistent
Developer Comment: Considering her potential damage output, Zarya was starting to feel like a mandatory pick in most situations. Rather than reduce her damage output, this change makes achieving her maximum power and damage output slightly more difficult.
If you haven't already, make sure to download the patch and check out all of the new changes. The Competitive meta is currently in utter shambles with pretty much every hero seeing a resurgence, so join in on the madness and see where it takes you. Have fun!