Overwatch screenshot of Ashe from up close

[Update #2]: Overwatch's August balance patch has beefed up Genji, Soldier 76, Roadhog and Moira

[Update]: Overwatch Summer Games 2021 event has arrived with fancy new cosmetics and a remixed Lucioball.

In an effort to bring Overwatch's power level down to allow for more strategic gameplay, Blizzard has been dishing out a fair few nerfs over the past year. The last couple of updates toned down mostly tank and support heroes, while this newly launched set of changes is all about reducing the power of long range heroes like McCree and Ashe.

To be more specific, the update has made it so hitscan heroes lose upwards of 70% of their damage when shooting outside of their optimal range, up from the previous 50% penalty. While this might be hard to notice in-game, it is a serious nerf to the amount of pressure they can apply at range, as well as a rather chunky buff to flying heroes like Pharah!

Since not all hitscan heroes are created equally, the update has also brought in small buffs to Bastion, Widowmaker and Soldier 76. Here's the full list of changes, as well as the developer commentary for each one:


Configuration: Recon

- Weapon spread reduced from 1.5 to 1.2

Developer Comments: We’re making Bastion’s Configuration: Recon weapon more reliable to help strengthen his run-and-gun gameplay when moving between spots he wants to post up with Configuration: Sentry.


 Call Mech

- Damage area reduced from 3 to 2.5 meters
- No longer builds ultimate charge while using Self Destruct until after her mech detonates

Developer Comments: No longer building ultimate charge in the window of time between using Self Destruct and when it detonates is targeted at Echo’s Duplicate ability when copying D.Va. Echo’s accelerated ultimate charge enabled her to have Call Mech available before the Self Destruct explosion went off, making it very difficult for enemies to find a safe place to hide.

Soldier: 76

 Heavy Pulse Rifle

- Damage falloff is disabled while Tactical Visor is active

Developer Comments: This will make Tactical Visor effective for more than just the aim assist, which slightly loses some value as player aim improves.


 Widow’s Kiss

- Damage falloff range increased from 60-85 to 70-100 meters

Developer Comments: We’re adjusting Widowmaker’s optimal range to be slightly further out to account for some map locations where counter-sniping was common but just barely outside of the effective range with the damage falloff. For Widowmaker, the sniping damage falloff is mainly in place to restrict the lethality of mid-air grapple shots at the extreme distances possible on some maps.

While I'm always in favor of reducing the overall power level in Overwatch, I'm not sure if this was the correct move. Nerfing Ashe and McCree is perfectly fine, but I can't help but feel like this puts poor Soldier 76 in an even worse position. As such, I can only hope Blizzard will keep a close eye on him and dish out some buffs if things end up looking far too dire.

Once the next update arrives, regardless of what it may bring, I'll make sure to let you know. Until then, enjoy the meta shake-up!