Genji, Pharah and Mercy from Overwatch

During the recent developer update Overwatch's Game Director Jeff Kaplan announced a whole bunch of interesting changes coming to Overwatch later this weekend. As you might guess from the title, "later" has now officially arrived and brought with it a rather sizable Season 2 patch to the PTR (Public Test Realm).

If you're looking for all of the details you can find the full patch notes by heading over to the Overwatch Forums, but if you're just interested in what exactly is going to happen with your favorite hero, you will find those changes listed out below. Fair warning to you Genji players out there, this is not going to be pretty:


Ultimates that consume the ultimate meter when activated will now drain the meter more quickly (.25 second instead of 1 second)

Reverted a recent change to reduce size of heroes' projectiles

Developer Comments: Altering the size of projectiles in flight had too many unintended side effects to keep in the game, at least in its current form. We will continue watching this and make additional changes if necessary. 


• Defense Matrix

After being activated, Defense Matrix will begin regenerating following a 1-second delay (formerly .5 seconds)

Developer Comments: Defense Matrix was too efficient when tapped repeatedly, instead of being held. Now, the recovery delay matches the ability cooldown.


Hanzo will now experience a 30% decrease in speed while aiming (formerly 40%)

Maximum projectile speed has been increased by 30%

Developer Comments: Hanzo has the potential to deal a lot of damage, but he can feel really inconsistent, even at a medium distance. By increasing the projectile speed, we’re extending his reliable range, making it easier to land shots without having to perfectly predict enemy movement.



The Blizzard projectile now pierces barriers

Radius has been increased from 8 meters to 10 meters

Developer Comments: Mei has an interesting toolkit, but her ultimate often felt like it was too difficult to use effectively. Consequently, it felt weak compared to many other ultimate abilities. The freeze effect has been piercing barriers for some time now, but the projectile would still be blocked. Now, you can throw it down exactly where you want it, so it’s much easier to utilize the full radius effectively.



Now drains over a .25-second period (instead of displaying a 50% reduction on the ultimate meter when activated and 0% when confirmed)

Developer Comments: If players managed to counter or avoid McCree's ultimate, it would often regenerate very quickly since only half of the ultimate charge was spent. Now, this ultimate works like every other ultimate that has a duration.


Healing Beam

Healing-per-second has been increased by 20%


Resurrected allies will be able to maneuver after 2.25 seconds (reduced from 3 seconds)

Developer Comments: Resurrection now allows teammates to jump back into the fight more quickly, which should help Mercy survive after activating her ultimate. Mercy's healing is also getting a boost to solidify her role as a strong, single-target healer.


Double jump no longer resets when wall climbing

Dash no longer bypasses Junkrat's Steel Trap

Swift Strike

No longer interrupts quick melee attacks


Duration of Genji's ultimate has been reduced from 8 seconds to 6 seconds

Developer Comments: Genji was a little too difficult to pin down, and these changes will balance his speed. Swift Strike no longer cancels the recovery time from a quick melee attack, so players will no longer be able to get a free melee attack before using Swift Strike. Lastly, Dragonblade's duration was long enough that it often felt too difficult to reasonably counter.


Amp It Up

The boosting of movement speed has been decreased by 30% (from a 100% increase to a 70% increase)

Developer Comments: Thanks to Lúcio's speed increase, he was almost a must pick in every lineup.


Chain Hook

If the hooked target isn't in Roadhog's line of sight when retracting the hook, they will be moved back to the position where they were originally hooked

Developer Comments: This change means that hooked targets will be less likely to slide along walls, potentially ending up in an odd place after they've been reeled in.


Orb of Discord

The amount of damage amplified by a target with Orb of Discord has been decreased from 50% to 30%

Orb of Destruction

Damage has been increased from 40 to 46

Developer Comments: Zenyatta is in a far better place since the last update, but the strength of Orb of Discord has turned him into an almost mandatory pick. These changes reduce Orb of Discord's effectiveness, but his damage-dealing potential has been increased. The amount of damage that he delivers should feel largely unaffected by the change.

This patch has me a bit puzzled because Blizzard has shown great restraint when it comes to nerfing and buffing heroes, mostly relying on small tweaks here and there before moving on to something major, but then they absolutely demolished Genji. The Dragon Blade nerf is rightly deserved, there's no doubt about that, but why also nerf the one aspect of the hero that makes him actually fun to play - his mobility? If this goes through I have a feeling Genji is going to join Soldier 76 as a hero that's just kind of OK enough to play and still do well, but drastically inferior to his counterpart (Tracer) once you start going higher up.

However, before we all start foreshadowing doom and gloom its well worth remembering that this is all currently a test, so things may change before release. In other words, if you're in the US and have some free time give the test realms a spin, it should certainly be an interesting experience with the sudden resurgence of Hanzos and Meis.