Overwatch close up screenshot of Brigitte's shield

Crowd Control effects, that is to say anything that causes you to lose control of your character, are a bit of a necessary evil in any sort of complex game like Overwatch. On one hand they are incredibly annoying since losing control while enemies mercilessly attack you never feels good, but on the other hand they are immensely important when it comes to balancing fast-moving characters that love to feast on the low-mobility ones.

Striking the right balance between the two isn't exactly easy, as Blizzard has discovered time and time again throughout Overwatch's history. I have to give credit where credit is due, however, as that has thankfully never stopped them from trying again. As such, I am pleased to say they are throwing their hat in the proverbial ring once more with a brand new experimental update, all centered around reducing the power of stuns and freezes.

You can read the full developer update over at the official forums, but for now, allow me to share all of the changes:


Whole Hog knockback increased 20%


 Earthshatter knockdown duration lowered from 3 to 2.5 seconds


- Knockdown duration is now a fixed 0.8 second instead of scaling with distance
- Cast time reduced from 0.75 to 0.65 seconds


 Flashbang stun duration lowered from 0.85 to 0.7 seconds


 Endothermic Blaster freeze stun duration lowered from 1.5 to 1.3 seconds

 Blizzard duration lowered from 5 to 4.25 seconds


 Sleep duration lowered from 6 to 5 seconds


 Shield Bash stun duration lowered from 0.75 to 0.65 seconds

While I do appreciate the reduction in stun times, I am somewhat surprised Blizzard hasn't addressed heroes that directly benefit from this. For example, the only way you can really kill a competent Wrecking Ball is if you layer stun after stun in order to burn through his massive health pool. So now that the stuns are getting weaker, this is just going to make dealing with heroes like Wrecking Ball or Doomfist all the more problematic.

On a bit of a different note, I'm really not a fan of the Roadhog change. He's already the weakest tank in the game, and even though the text might seem positive, the increase in knockback just means that his ultimate is now far less deadly outside of enclosed spaces. And for a tank that relies almost entirely on his killing power to create space, anything that reduces that isn't exactly going to go over well.

Roadhog hooking Zenyatta

Poor ol' Roadhog just hasn't been the same since his initial rework

Still, this is an experimental update, and Blizzard has shown that they are more than willing to take community feedback into account before making any sort of permanent changes, so things can and likely will change in the near future. After all, they've done a great job with the recent Pharah and Ashe focused test, and they even removed Horizon Lunar Colony and Paris from Competitive Play, so odds are this new experiment will yield some useful results as well.

The experimental mode is currently not active as a game-breaking bug was pushed alongside it, but it should be going live fairly soon. Once it does, I encourage you to give it a try and offer Blizzard some much-needed feedback.

Have fun!