Overwatch screenshot of casual Hanzo

[Update #2]: Blizzard has now announced significantly faster balance changes and weekly hero bans in order to keep Overwatch fresh and interesting for years to come.

[Update]: In a rare departure from their usually slow balance cycle, Blizzard has now released another PTR update aimed at toning down the rampant power creep!

While Overwatch's switch to Role Queue with enforced 2/2/2 compositions was a great idea, it unfortunately brought with it quite a few balance problems. Blizzard tried to address this with the somewhat recent rebalance of shield health, but since that patch didn't target all of the problematic heroes, the resulting meta ended up being rather similar to the one before.

Thankfully, the newly released beta update is already looking like it will shake things up quite significantly! Baptiste and his immortality field are getting a much-deserved nerf, while the ever-present DPS heroes like Hanzo and Mei are being toned down so the rest of the cast has a chance to actually compete.

You can find the full list of changes over at the Overwatch website, but for now allow me to share with you the most interesting part - the hero balance changes:


Immortality Field

- Maximum duration reduced from 8 to 5 seconds

- Cooldown increased from 20 to 25 seconds

 Amplification Matrix

- Amplification Matrix ultimate cost increased by 20%


 Endothermic Blaster (Primary Fire)

- Slowing effect now reduces enemy movement speed from 20-70%, down from 30-90%

- Slowing effect duration reduced from 1.5 to 1.0 second



- Cooldown decreased from 5 to 3 seconds



- Damage reduction reduced from 50% to 40%


 Storm Arrow (Primary Fire)

- Maximum projectile speed reduced from 125 to 110

Developer Comment: The way Hanzo arrows work is there is a base speed of 25 and it adds another bonus speed determined by how long the shot was charged up. Last patch this was 25+100 x Charge for a total maximum speed of 125. The PTR value is now 25+85 x Charge so the max speed is now 110, the same value as it was before the Hanzo rework.


 Rising Uppercut

- Uppercut recovery time increased from 0.2 to 0.5 seconds

While I'm not exactly sure if the D.Va buff was necessary given that they could've simply reverted some of her GOATs-based nerfs, I am happy that Blizzard is finally looking to tone down the rampant power creep. There's a lot of heroes that are currently almost useless simply because their competitors are ridiculously strong, so by toning them down even slightly Overwatch's meta could become significantly more diverse and interesting to play around with.

Whether that will happen with this patch in specific, I'm not exactly sure as there's still a few heroes I'd like to see nerfed, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. Once Blizzard releases more changes, or the patch itself goes live, I'll make sure to let you know. Until then, I wish you the best of luck on ladder!