Lucio has always been a problematic hero in Overwatch. His speed boost is pretty much the most impactful basic ability in the entire game, so you almost always feel obligated to pick him, and yet very few people actually want to play him given his rather boring playstyle. Well, if the latest PTR update is any judge, Blizzard is now working on correcting this little issue by making Lucio less of a speed-bot and more of an actual hero.
The update has also brought with it some much needed changes to Assault (2CP) maps that are going to make draws nearly impossible, as well as a brand new tunnel on the first point of Eichenwalde in order to give the offense more options. Since the patch notes aren't terribly large, here they are in full:
• Details about each hero’s unique backstory, along with information about some of their lore-inspired skins, have been added to the Hero Gallery
• A tracking system has been added to Assault and Assault/Escort Maps that will allow us to break ties based on the progress that was made toward capturing the objective.
• For testing purposes, the Competitive Play map rotation will be limited to Eichenwalde and Hanamura.
Developer Comments: To mitigate draws in Competitive Play, we're implementing a system that tracks each team's progress on the objective. This will work similarly to the system that's already in place for Escort and Assault/Escort maps, which grants a win to the team that pushes the payload the furthest. Now, even if neither team successfully captures the objective, a winner can be determined based on which team captured the largest portion.
Custom Games and Game Browser
• Custom Game settings can now be saved as a preset from the game’s details page
• Access by right-clicking on the map image from the Create Game page or right-clicking a game name from inside the Game Browser
• A new route has been added to Eichenwalde that connects the attacking team's spawn area to the capture point
• Sonic Amplifier Projectile speed increased from 40 to 50
• Alternate fire now considers vertical orientation when knocking targets back
- Song's area-of-effect radius decreased from 30 meters to 10 meters
- A temporary in-game visual has been added to illustrate this radius (it is only visible to Lúcio and his teammates)
• Heal Song Healing-per-second has been increased by 50% (also applies to Lúcio's Amp It Up ability)
• Sound Barrier Radius decreased from 30 meters to 20 meters
• Wall Ride
- Movement speed increased by 30% when wall riding
- Lúcio now receives a burst of speed when leaping off a wall
Developer Comments: 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. The end result is that he should feel stronger with teams that he can stay close to but not as strong when on teams with heroes that are often spread out (such as Pharah, Widow, Genji, etc). 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.
• Fixed a bug preventing achievements from being unlocked during off-season competitive matches
• Fixed an issue that prevented voice lines from being heard during the Play of the Game
• Fixed an issue that prevented voice lines from playing on Control maps
Custom Games and Game Browser
• Fixed an issue that allowed empty player slots to be displayed even when disabled (e.g. in 6v1 games)
• Fixed a bug preventing the pause feature from working properly after the original host has left the match
• Fixed a bug that allowed extremely long team names
• Ana no longer cocks her rifle after throwing a grenade
• The brightness on Bastion's Golden gun has been toned down when the BlizzCon skin is equipped
• Fixed a bug causing Mei's pinky to bend awkwardly in some poses with her Chang'e and Luna skins equipped
• Fixed a bug on Eichenwalde that allowed enemy player outlines to be seen through a pile of dirt at the castle gate
• Fixed an issue on Eichenwalde that allowed players to become trapped in the broken castle doors
• Fixed a bug that allowed Sombra to reach unintended locations on King's Row
• Fixed a bug that allowed players to reach unintended areas on the Capture the Flag version of Lijiang Tower
• Fixed a bug that allowed Symmetra to hide turrets in unintended locations on Oasis
I'm not sure whether these changes to Lucio are going to pan out, but I am incredibly glad to see that Blizzard is at least doing something to address the problem. It might take them a couple of patches in order to get the numbers just right, but having a more active and skill-orientated playstyle for Lucio is worth the temporary upheaval. The same applies to the new Assault map changes, because even if this doesn't end up working out its still going to get us a step closer to making these maps actually enjoyable to play. As such, consider me extremely pleased with the direction Blizzard is taking Overwatch in!