Screenshot of Ashe and B.O.B. from Overwatch

This shouldn't come as too much of a shock given that Blizzard wasn't exactly being subtle with her release date, but Overwatch 29th hero Ashe has now made her way to the live servers alongside her trusty Omnic sidekick B.O.B. What might come as quite a surprise, however, is that this update has also brought in some much-needed performance improvements for both PC and consoles!

As an additional little bonus, the update has also added in some much needed buffs to my boy Roadhog, as well as to Reaper, Mercy and Symmetra. You'll find all of the details over at the official website, but for now, allow me to share with you all of the most important hero balance changes:

Roadhog

Chain Hook

- Decreased the delay before pulling a hooked target from 0.5 seconds to 0.3 seconds

- Now greatly reduces the target’s momentum upon being hooked

- Cooldown now begins immediately, instead of after the target has been pulled

• Scrap Gun

- Spread pattern adjusted for both primary and secondary fire

- Spread randomization reduced by 50%

Whole Hog

- Knockback maximum velocity increased by 25% (from 8 to 10 meters per second)

- Horizontal recoil decreased slightly

Developer Comments: Roadhog is receiving several large changes to make his abilities more consistent. His Chain Hook had issues with breaking when enemy targets jumped or fell behind environment collision. It will now slow them down in the air more when the hook lands, and wait less time before it starts reeling them in. Since Chain Hook’s cooldown now begins immediately upon use, it no longer varies based on Roadhog’s distance to the hook target.

We’ve also moved some of the projectiles closer to the center of the spread pattern on his Scrap Gun, which gives him a more consistent damage output for its primary and alternate fire. Previously, there was a long-standing bug that caused close-range targets to fly much further than expected. After this bug was fixed, we still wanted to keep some of the knockback burst it provided, so we’ve increased the overall velocity cap to maintain some of that functionality.

Reaper

Hellfire Shotguns

- Spread randomization reduced by 50%

- Spread pattern adjusted

The Reaping

- Life steal increased from 20% to 30% of damage dealt

Developer Comments: Reaper's specialty is fighting at a very close range. The more consistent spread pattern and increase in healing from his passive ability will make him more capable of standing toe-to-toe with his enemies.

Mercy

Valkyrie

- Ultimate cost reduced 15%

- Healing per second increased from 50 to 60

Developer Comments: Mercy's ultimate was charging a bit too slowly after her base healing was reduced in a previous update. These changes should restore some of her ultimate’s strength and let it build up more quickly.

Symmetra

Photon Projector

- Primary fire beam charges up 20% faster

Developer Comments: It's still difficult to use Symmetra's Photon Projector beam effectively, even after its range was increased. By speeding up the primary fire charge rate, it takes less time to ramp up to its full damage potential and will be a stronger option when she’s presented with targets to charge up on.

As for the performance improvements, Blizzard has worked on improving load times, optimizing memory usage, reducing the amount of required hard drive space, as well as fixing all sorts of nasty bugs. Personally, I've only noticed minor improvements to my loading times and FPS, but many people are reporting greatly enhanced performance after the update, so I suppose your mileage will vary with this one.

And just for good measure, allow me to leave you with Ashe's Hero Overview trailer. Besides having pretty awesome music, the video should also give you a rather solid idea of what Ashe has to offer, what her abilities do, as well as what sort of playstyle she's going to fit into. Have fun, and do remember, you can blow yourself up with dynamite so watch how you aim!

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