Overwatch screenshot of Viking Torbjorn

After being fairly silent since the Summer Games event, Overwatch developers have now suddenly released a massive PTR update! Besides the usual batch of bug fixes, this update has brought with it a massive Torbjorn rework, a much smaller Pharah rework, as well as some highly anticipated tweaks to heroes like Soldier, McCree, Orisa and Brigitte.

The Torbjorn changes are simply too massive for me to summarize, so if you're curious about what Blizzard has cooked up for our favorite 'totally not a dwarf', you should head on over to the official website. I'll reserve my full judgement for when I actually get to try him in a proper game, but so far the new Torbjorn seems to be exactly what Blizzard intended - a support-ish DPS hero that can actually be run on both offense and defense!

As for the rest of the heroes, their patch notes are nowhere nearly as lengthy or as detailed, which is a good thing since none of them needed any truly major changes. But enough babbling from me, here's what's happening with Pharah, Soldier, McCree, Orisa, Brigitte and Mei:


Updated visuals for all shields and barriers to increase readability


Barrier Shield

- Shield health reduced from 600 to 500

Developer Comments: The health of Brigitte’s barrier was extremely difficult for most heroes to deal with even as she was able to close the distance with her targets. This change still provides Brigitte with substantial survivability but should also be more rewarding for opponents who pressure her.


Combat Roll

- Cooldown reduced from 8 to 6 seconds

Developer Comments: Previously, the cooldown of McCree’s Combat Roll felt too restrictive, which sometimes prohibited players from using it. The new, faster cooldown should allow for more flexibility when choosing between using it for mobility or an instant reload.


Concussive Blast

- Cooldown reduced from 12 to 9 seconds

Rocket Launcher

- Attack speed increased

- Lowered recovery between shots from 0.9 to 0.75

- Damage redistributed between explosion and impact

-- Explosion damage reduced from 80 to 65

-- Impact damage increased from 40 to 55

- Explosion knockback reduced by 20%

- Self-knockback range increased by 25%

Developer Comments: We wanted to increase how responsive Pharah’s Rocket Launcher felt. Having almost a full second of recovery between shots made it feel sluggish. To balance out the improved recovery time, we shifted some of the damage from the rocket's explosion to the direct impact damage. The overall damage potential is now increased when landing direct hits and decreased slightly when only dealing explosive damage. We reduced the amount of knockback each explosion causes, as they made it very difficult to aim at Pharah while rockets came in at a faster pace. The Concussive Blast cooldown reduction should allow the ability to sync up more closely with the Jump Jet cooldown when used for mobility.



- Updated visual effects for all abilities


Fusion Driver

- Maximum spread reduced from 1.5 to 1.2

Developer Comments: Orisa spends a significant amount of time firing her Fusion Driver from a relatively stationary location and the weapon's spread value caused it to feel too random when leading targets at a distance, taking into account the projectiles' travel time. We’ve tightened the spread slightly, which should leave her close- and mid-range damage potential largely unchanged, while making it feel better to try to hit targets at longer ranges.

Soldier: 76

Heavy Pulse Rifle

- Number of shots until max spread increased from 6 to 9

Developer Comments: Soldier: 76’s damage output was a bit low but not too far off from where we feel it should be. Making it take a few more shots to reach max spread smooths out the weapon spread curve and should help his damage be more consistent.

While I'm sure many of you will call me boring, I'm actually the most excited about the Soldier and McCree changes here. There's nothing quite as satisfying as getting continuous 'DINK' sounds as you headshot enemy after enemy, so seeing both of them become just a bit more viable is an amazing step in the right direction. The rest of the changes aren't too shabby either, so if you ask me, this patch is panning out to be a pretty darn good one!

Overwatch screenshot of Soldier 76 bashing the camera

Could this be a return to Soldier's glory days?

Continuing on with that theme, I'm also very glad to tell you that the color blind mode has now finally been updated! You now not only have more combinations to choose from, but you can also personalize enemies and friendlies individually, which should help a lot with readability in the middle of combat. So if you previously quit because you were frustrated with Overwatch's somewhat lackluster color blind options, you might want to check out the new PTR.

On the other hand, if you've never even tried Overwatch but all of these changes are making you think twice about that decision, you might be interested to hear that Overwatch is currently $12 as a part of the Humble Monthly bundle. I'm obviously a bit biased as I've put around 500 hours into Overwatch so far, but if you haven't already given it a try, I'd definitely recommend you pick it up as getting it for $12 is a steal.

And finally, if you're interested in all of the specific changes and bug fixes that arrived alongside this PTR update, you should head on over to the Overwatch forums. And just for good measure, here's the latest Developer Update discussing the PTR tweaks. Enjoy!