Overwatch's McCree and Zenyatta

Blizzard has always been a bit shaky when it comes to balance, as any Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, Hearthstone or World of Warcraft player will attest, but even with that considered its still baffling to see how the current McCree went through the Public Test Realms unscathed. To put things into perspective, players thought that McCree was so strong he'd completely overshadow Soldier 76 as the king of ranged damage, but what ended up happening is that McCree completely overshadowed everyone.

Nowhere has this been more apparent than during the recent GosuGamers weekend tournament (both EU and NA versions) given that the almighty McLeftClick has scored a nearly 100% pick rate among the various teams. Most hilarious of all, the 1.24% times he hasn't been picked resulted in the team getting obliterated soon afterwards. You can find the full list of pick rates over at do7RiV's Reddit thread, but I'm afraid to say that it doesn't paint a pretty picture. The question is, how can this be fixed?

As you can probably expect from the title alone, the change needs to start with McCree. A hero with perfect aim, no recoil and high-damage headshots should never, ever be allowed to fire at long range without any penalties as that is the domain of immobile snipers, not duelists. To fix this I would like to see his range buff almost completely reverted and his Fan the Hammer skill improved instead given that its currently so pointless pro players use it about once in a blue moon, if the stars are aligned just right.

However, buffing Fan the Hammer is a big risk given that it can very easily become overpowered again and leave McCree just as annoying as he is right now. How to fix this, I'm not actually sure since it would require a lot of testing, but I'd put my bet towards tightening the spread on Fan the Hammer, or at least making it predictable enough that you could somewhat control it. This combined with even a tiny increase in damage would allow McCree to once again instakill heroes with 200 hp and under if he manages to land a close ranged flashbang, which would go a long way towards making him the scourge of all Genjis and Tracers, exactly what he was designed for.

While I wish I could say these changes would make Overwatch perfectly balanced, there is one more hero that needs to be toned down, and that's Zenyatta with his 93.55% pick rate. Zenyatta was useless for pretty much the entirety of Overwatch's launch, but in classic Blizzard fashion they didn't just buff him in one area and leave him for a few weeks to see how he fares, they instead buffed everything! The biggest issue, however, is not his increased health, faster ulti, or even damage output, but rather the instant application of Discord Orb.

Overwatch's Zenyatta using Transcendence

Blizzard saw that Mercy's 50% damage boost was insane given that it made McCree one-shot half of the cast, but they've somehow ignored the same issue with Zenyatta when they made the orb's travel time so fast it might as well be instant. I personally believe the 50% damage boost on Zenyatta is perfectly fair, but I would like to see the orb's travel speed brought back to old levels because no one should find themselves one-shot due to a debuff they couldn't react to, predict, or really do anything about.

I understand all of this might sound like the pathetic whining of someone unable to cope with a new meta-game, but the unfortunate reality is that the recent tournament had over half the cast played for less than an hour... combined! That should never happen in an asymmetrically balanced game like Overwatch, and I truly do hope this is corrected as soon as possible because nothing sucks more than seeing your favorite heroes invalidated due to the imbalances present within a couple of them.

To end all of this on a positive note, I do believe McCree and Zenyatta are going to be adjusted over the coming weeks once the Overwatch team gathers more data from tournaments and high tier games. They have been incredibly community-centered so far, much to my surprise given Blizzard's usual iron curtain of silence, so chances are high that they're well aware of these issues and are working on some sort of a fix. Hopefully one that won't make McCree or Zenyatta go back to the dumpster, but rather have them remain as proper, balanced members of the cast you that can comfortably pick and equally comfortably replace.

[Update:] McCree has underwent a slight redesign and Ana has received a couple of much needed buffs as a part of the July 26th update. You can read about all of the changes by heading over here.

Overwatch's all heroes artwork