Overwatch artwork showing Sigma and Talon

[Update]: Blizzard has now greatly reduced the power of shields on the PTR in order to further weaken the double shield meta.

Overwatch has recently introduced Role Queue and a 2/2/2 lock across all main game modes, and while those were generally positive additions, they have unfortunately caused a bit of a balance problem. As it turns out, buffing Orisa for an entire year has made her significantly stronger than other tanks, which combined with the newly released Sigma has led to the rise of the incredibly tedious double shield compositions. 

In order to break away from this made and make Overwatch a bit more dynamic again, Blizzard has now released a rather hefty PTR update. You can find the full list of changes over at the official update, but for now here are all of the major hero changes:


Defense Matrix

- Regeneration rate increased from 12.5% to 16% per second

- Delay before regeneration begins lowered from 1 second to 0.75 seconds


• Protective Barrier

- Cooldown increased from 9 to 10 seconds


• Scrap Gun

- Ammunition increased from 5 to 6.


• Kinetic Grasp

- No longer blocks Chain Hook and Whip Shot

• Gravitic Flux

- High gravity effect duration reduced from 1.2 to 0.9 seconds

• Experimental Barrier

- Regeneration rate reduced from 175 to 150 per second

- Now has a 1 second cooldown after recalling the barrier

- Initial 0.2 second cast time removed


• Barrier Projector

- Duration increased from 6 to 9 seconds

- Health increased from 600 to 700


• Immortality Field

- Health decreased from 250 to 200


• Crossfade

- Speed boost’s effect increased from 20% to 25%

• Amp It Up

- Speed boost’s amplification increased from 50% to 60%

• Wall Ride

- Speed buff reduced from 40% to 30%


• Valkyrie

- The extra beams created by Valkyrie now ignore enemy barriers


• Biotic Grasp

- Self-healing reduced from 30 to 20 health per second


• Rocket Punch

- Time to reach max charge increased from 1 to 1.4 seconds

• The Best Defense

- Shield health gained per hit reduced from 35 to 30


• Translocator

- Cooldown increased from 4 to 6 seconds

- Cooldown now begins immediately upon deploying the beacon or if it is killed by an enemy


• Photon Barrier

- Duration reduced from 15 to 12 seconds

- Health reduced from 5000 to 4000

• Sentry Turret

- Damage per second reduced from 50 to 40

• Photon Projector

- Players impacted by the primary fire beam should now hear a louder impact sound


• Pulse Pistols

- Damage falloff now starts at 13 meters, up from 10 meters

While these changes will likely result in double shield compositions becoming weaker, I must admit I'm worried about Blizzard buffing heroes like Tracer and Winston. If you remember, the entire reason we're currently in this mess is because Blizzard continuously buffed anti-GOATs (triple tank & triple support) heroes in order to shake up the meta. And when the meta changed and GOATs compositions went away, the heroes that received buff after buff suddenly became the oppressively powerful ones themselves.

As such, I would prefer if Blizzard sorts out the current meta problems by pulling back some of the recent buffs rather than by once again increasing the power level of just about every hero. Otherwise, I have a feeling we'll just be running from one heavily entrenched meta to another, all the while most of the character roster continues to remain underutilized.

Whether my concerns are warranted or not, I suppose we'll see with the next few updates. Until then, you can learn more about this patch over at the Blizzard forums, or simply hop onto the PTR and give it a try for yourself. Have fun!