Overwatch screenshot of Brigitte, Tracer and D.Va dancing

Overwatch's third annual Lunar New Year event has now arrived for PC and consoles, bringing with it a variety of new and old cosmetics to collect, competitive capture-the-flag to help bolster your supply of Competitive Points, as well as some pretty darn impactful balance changes.

You'll find all of the details over at the official website, but if you're just interested in the short version, allow me to share with you the most relevant balance changes. Have a peek, they're quite an interesting bunch:

Armor (in general)

 Damage reduction from armor reduced from -5 to -3

Developer Comments: Before this change, armor reduced all incoming damage by up to 5, maxing at half of the normal amount. This change reduces the damage reduction to 3, while still capping at half. This change will be most noticeable for heroes who fire quickly or in bursts, such as shotguns, and do more than 6 damage per shot. For example, Soldier: 76’s Heavy Pulse Rifle will now do 16 damage per shot to armored opponents, up from 14 (an increase close to 15%).



- Now has a maximum duration of 30 seconds

Developer Comments: Sometimes Rally could cause a snowballing effect, making it too difficult to deal with the increased health of Brigitte’s allies before she built up another one. This change limits how long Rally’s effect lasts after its initial cast, to make it a bit more manageable in those situations.


Defense Matrix

- Cooldown increased from 1 second to 2 seconds

Developer Comments: This change allows D.Va’s enemies to play around her Defense Matrix by increasing its downtime between uses.


The Reaping

- Life steal increased from 30% to 50% of damage dealt

Developer Comments: Reaper’s passive enables him to play aggressively when near enemies. This change allows him to keep the pressure up while he’s dishing damage to his enemies. The added life steal is particularly effective against tanks, as they tend to do less damage than other heroes, and also take more damage from his Hellfire Shotguns due to their larger hit volumes. 

While the Reaper buff might seem gigantic, I highly doubt it'll do much to help him climb out of the hole he's currently stuck in. Reaper's problem has always been getting into the fight without being destroyed by long-range DPS, and simply buffing his sustainability will do little to help in that regard. He's still going to die to McCree, he's still going to get sniped by Ashe and Hanzo, and he's still going to be countered by D.Va and Ana should he ever get too close. The extra healing will help, definitely, but it won't really create him any more opportunities for kills.

Personally, I'd prefer it if Blizzard simply buffed his teleport ability. It's simply too slow and loud to actually help Reaper get in range, and without being able to do just that, I highly doubt Reaper will be the correct hero choice outside of some very specific maps. A real shame too since the past few months have shown that Overwatch is in dire need of a tankbuster!

Whatever the case may be, it's certainly going to be interesting to see what happens with the meta over the next few weeks, and perhaps even months. After all, the second season of the Overwatch League should be starting soon, and that'll certainly bring with it some interesting new compositions!

Good luck with the new skins, and I'll leave you with the recently posted Lunar New Year trailer. Enjoy!