Junkrat from Overwatch laughing maniacally

During the most recent Summer Games Update Blizzard announced that the next wave of changes will be hitting the PTR in the near future. As expected, the now released patch brought with it significant buffs to Junkrat and Roadhog, as well as some much needed changes to Widowmaker and Orisa. What wasn't expected at all, however, was the introduction of Deathmatch game modes!

In time-honored FPS tradition these modes are Free-for-All Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, with the rules being pretty much exactly what you might imagine. Since most of the current maps are not designed with 1v1 brawls in mind the Deathmatch game modes will take place in specifically chosen sections, as well as on a brand new map: Chateau Guillard! That's pretty much the long and short of it, but if you're looking for a few more details about the Deathmatch game modes you'll find the most recent Developer Update video right below:


As for the update itself, you can find the full patch notes by heading over to the Overwatch website. If you're just interested in the important bits, by which I mean the hero changes, you'll find them right below:


Concussion Mine

- Junkrat can now hold two mines


- Tire’s movement speed has been increased by 30%

- There is no longer a time limit when wall climbing

Developer Comments: Giving the Junkrat the ability to store two concussion mines adds some much-needed flexibility and versatility to his kit, particularly when using the mines for mobility. RIP-Tire’s damage has always been very good, but it was often difficult to steer the tire into position before it was destroyed. Increasing its speed will allow players to effectively detonate the tire more often and decrease the amount of time that Junkrat is vulnerable while controlling it.


Fusion Driver

- Projectile speed increased by 20%

Protective Barrier

- Barrier size increase by 20%

- Barrier shape has been changed to allow for more coverage from enemies that are below the barrier

Developer Comments: The projectile speed increase helps Orisa’s consistency, especially at medium ranges (or further). Her barrier size has been increased to better protect her team, and the new shape makes the shield more effective when it’s used on slopes or on top of objects (such as a payload).


Take a Breather

- Can now be used while moving

- Damage taken while healing has been reduced by 50%

Developer Comments: These changes help Roadhog be much more aggressive when looking for hook targets or blocking for his team. The combination of these effects significantly increases Roadhog’s sustainability and survivability.


Grappling Hook

- Cooldown has been reduced from 12 seconds to 8

Venom Mine

- Affected targets are now visible through walls (to you as Widowmaker only)

Developer Comments: Widowmaker is extremely powerful in the right hands, but her abilities often felt a little weak. The Grappling Hook cooldown reduction means she is more likely to have it available when she needs to escape. Venom Mine is intended to be an early warning system, uncovering enemies that are attempting to flank her or her team. With this change, she can see enemies when they trigger the mine, even if they’re on the other side of a wall.

Judging balance changes based on PTR gameplay is mostly pointless due to the fact that you can have Top 500 and Bronze players in the same game, so take that into consideration as I give you my thoughts after a few hours of messing around. First and foremost, I am fairly certain the new Junkrat is beyond broken. With two mines at his disposal he is pretty much always able to win a duel in close quarters without even being required to aim, which as you might imagine is not exactly healthy for the game. I do love the idea of two mines, however, I just wish they did a bit less damage overall - enough to "one-shot" people with a grenade + mine combo, but not enough to just spam wildly and get kills. 

In addition to Junkrat's mines being incredibly powerful, his ultimate is now essentially unstoppable if you know how to play Lucio. Its not only capable of reaching ridiculous speeds that give you barely a second to react, but due to its climbing buff its also capable of attacking from angles you simply cannot cover until its too late. I don't know what needs changing in specific, but Blizzard should definitely look into toning it down.

Roadhog from Overwatch hooking Zenyatta

I wish I could say the same about the Roadhog buff

The Orisa and Widowmaker changes are about as good as you might imagine, though I must admit I'm not sure if either hero actually needed them. Whatever the case may be, I certainly won't complain about underused heroes getting slightly stronger, though I do hope this doesn't usher us into the dark ages of Widow dominance once more.

Finally we have Roadhog, whose change is most definitely a buff, though I'm certain its the one he needs. It will make him stronger, there's no doubt about that, but he still doesn't fulfill his role as a tank - he just lives slightly longer. Maybe I'll be proven wrong, and I truly hope I will, but even with this change I simply don't see a reason to run him over D.Va or Zarya as they are both capable of dishing out tons of damage, while also protecting their team from pretty much anything the enemy can throw at them.

Long story short, the patch still needs a bit of work before its ready for release, but so far I'm pretty damn happy with how its shaping up. Deathmatch alone is going to be such a massive boon to the community as its going to make Quick Play a bit less of a random... well, deathmatch! Maybe we'll even see the occasional tank in there as well!