Overwatch screenshot of Roadhog hooking Zenyatta

Ever since Overwatch first launched Blizzard has quite firmly stated that spectating and replays are something they would like to add in the future. A few years and an entire season of the Overwatch League have passed since then, but thankfully the long wait will soon be over as the next update will bring in a beta version of both systems.

Spectating, replays and all of the goodies associated with them will initially only be available on the PC version and only for the upcoming Overwatch World Cup. Once all of the bugs and potential problems have been fixed, the system will also be implemented for 'standard' matches on both PC and consoles. As for when exactly this fully-featured version will arrive, I'm afraid Blizzard hasn't specified just yet.

What they did specify, however, is some pretty damn good buffs for Roadhog and Reaper, as well as some minor improvements for Mercy and Symmetra. You can find all of the details over at the official website, but since the hero changes aren't exactly large, here they are in full:

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, so 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%

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."

Overwatch screenshot of Dragon Symmetra

I have a feeling alt-fire is still going to be the stronger (and safer) option

From my testing so far the Roadhog changes are an absolute delight to play around with. Not only is the new Roadhog's damage now a lot more consistent against thin characters such as Ana or Genji, but the hook is also significantly less likely to break for no reason. This might be too early to say, but I do believe these changes will make it so Roadhog finally rides again!

As for Reaper, I've heard some conflicting reports. Some people are saying that you can now do headshot damage more easily due to the new pattern, while others are saying that the new circular spread is a net DPS loss at anything besides point blank range. If the latter is indeed the case, I wouldn't worry too much as Blizzard is likely to change it in the near future given that the shotgun buffs are a key part of this update.

[Update]: Reaper's new spread pattern has indeed turned out to be a nerf. Thankfully, according to Jeff Kaplan's recent post, it will soon be getting changed.

Should anything get tweaked I'll make sure to let you know, but until then I would recommend you go and check out the new Torbjorn now that he's available in competitive play. Just don't try and force him into situations where he just doesn't fit - your team and your sanity will thank you for it!

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