Overwatch close up screenshot of Reinhardt

[Update #2:] Overwatch's massive shield rebalance and accompanying Winter Wonderland event have now arrived in full!

[Update]: Patch 1.43, as well as its accompanying Winter Wonderland event, will be coming next week. No release date has been given just yet, but December 10th is a pretty safe bet as most updates come out on Tuesday.

Ever since the introduction of Role Queue and 2/2/2 matchmaking, the meta in Overwatch has become rather boring. Instead of battles being about who can outmaneuver their opponents or use ultimates better, the optimal composition is all about standing behind multiple layers of shields and simply throwing damage around until something finally dies.

In order to correct this little problem, as well as make tanks a bit more attractive to play, Blizzard has now released a brand new PTR update that nerfs shields across the board while also buffing the individual survivability of tank heroes. Here's what all of these changes look like in terms of numbers:


• Armor damage reduction increased from 3 to 5



- Base armor increased from 200 to 250

• Fusion Driver

- Movement speed penalty reduced from 30% to 20%

• Protective Barrier

- Health reduced from 900 to 600

• Fortify

- Cooldown decreased from 10 seconds to 8 seconds


• Experimental Barrier

- Health reduced from 1500 to 900
- Barrier health regeneration rate reduced from 150 to 120 health per second

• Kinetic Grasp

- Cooldown reduced from 13 seconds to 10 seconds
- Damage-to-shield gain ratio increased from 40% to 60%


• Barrier Field

- Health reduced from 2000 to 1600
- Movement speed penalty reduced from 50% to 25%

• Steadfast (Passive)

- Knockback resistance increased from 30% to 50%

Developer Comment: The above changes to armor, Orisa, Sigma, and Reinhardt are aimed at decreasing the overall amount time players spend damaging barriers while improving the individual heroes in other areas. This is a significant change to the pace of the game and we’ll be monitoring these heroes closely to ensure they retain impactful gameplay in the tank role.


• Biotic Grasp

- Healing reduced from 4 to 3.25 (80 HP/s to 65 HP/s)

Developer Comment: Moira’s primary heal has proven to be too potent, largely due to its ability to heal multiple targets.


• Defense Matrix

- Cooldown decreased from 2 seconds to 1.5 seconds

Developer Comment: With role locks in place there is some room to improve D.Va’s impact as a tank, so we’re partially reverting a previous change which increased Defense Matrix’s cooldown.


• Grappling Hook

- Cooldown increased from 10 to 12 seconds

Developer Comment: With barriers having less uptime, Widowmaker will be even more effective at locking down long sight lines. This change weakens her mobility so she can still be reasonably countered.


• Overload

- Cooldown decreased from 12 to 10 seconds

Developer Comment: Torbjörn has difficulty in extended team fights once his turret is eliminated and Overload has been used. This change allows Torbjörn to be able to rely on his Overload more often.


• Shuriken

- Ammo increased from 24 to 30

Developer Comment: As average hero survivability has gone up over time, Genji can sometimes have difficulty finishing off his targets. Loosening his ammunition constraints will help give him a small boost.


• Particle Cannon (Secondary Fire)

- Explosion radius increased from 2 to 2.5 meters
- Ammo cost decreased from 25 to 20

Developer Comment: Zarya’s overall damage output is in a good spot but the secondary fire was left feeling a little too weak after the last set of changes.

Personally, this is something I was hoping Blizzard would do for well over a year now. Sitting behind shields and spamming damage towards the enemy just isn't all that fun, especially when compared to the lovely chaos that erupts when tanks actually clash over a point and have to make aggressive plays.

While all of that is well and good, there is one thing that worries me greatly, and that is snipers. Both Widow and Hanzo have received multiple buffs throughout the years, and without the protection of shields or the power of ancient dive compositions, I'm not exactly sure if there is much to limit their killing potential. As such, I hope Blizzard will keep a close eye on the balance once this update goes live.

Whatever the case may be, this update is definitely a step in the right direction, and I look forward to seeing it in action!