Overwatch screenshot of Sombra with her SMG pointing at the camera

During the recent Overwatch update we got a brief glimpse at some of the future balance changes. Most notably, some of Mei and Sombra's abilities were tweaked in minor yet still significant ways. The buffs have since then been pulled from the live servers due to a wide array of bugs, but worry not as they have now not only reappeared on the PTR, but they have brought some reinforcements as well!

If all of the changes go through Mei will have a much easier time freezing highly mobile heroes, Doomfist will 'reload' his shotgun slightly quicker, and Sombra will be an absolute terror to deal with. She is losing the ability to generate ult charge from health packs, but in return the spread of her weapon is being reduced, the speed of her hack increased, and perhaps most interestingly of all, she is being given the ability to see enemy health bars if they are at less than 100% health!

You can find all of the details, as well as some developer commentary and reasoning behind the changes, in the most recent Developer Update down below. On the other hand, if you just want the short version, I'll include the patch notes as well. Have a look:



Hand Cannon

- Ammo recovery rate increased from 0.8 seconds to 0.65 seconds per bullet 

Developer Comment: This change will help Doomfist more consistently be able to use his weapon as part of his combos. 


Endothermic Blaster

- Freeze (slow) duration increased from 1 second to 1.5 seconds

- Weapon alternate fire ammo cost reduced from 25 to 20 

Developer Comment: Increasing Mei’s slow duration helps her freeze targets that are particularly elusive such as Genji or Lúcio. Lowering her alternate fire ammo cost allows her to more safely use it without costing her the ability to freeze enemies. 



- No longer blocked by small objects (e.g. sign posts)


- No longer gains ultimate charge from health pack healing

- Cast time reduced from 0.8 seconds to 0.65 seconds

- Now disables the following abilities:


Hanzo—Wall Climb

Pharah—Hover Jets

Lúcio—Healing Boost and Speed Boost (turns off current song entirely), Wall Ride

Mercy—Angelic Descent

Machine Pistol

- Machine Pistol spread reduced from 3 to 2.7


- Now activates when enemies’ health bars are at less than 100%, up from 50% health


- Duration increased from 15 seconds to 20 seconds 

Developer Comment: The goal of these changes for Sombra is to remove the necessity for her teammates to take damage and heal themselves with her hacked heath packs to try to get her ultimate charged up quickly. Her ultimate will now come up less often, but there are more abilities that are disabled by Hack so it is more effective when used. Previously, Opportunist would only activate when an enemy’s health bar dipped below 50% but now the passive will reveal all damaged enemies which should help Sombra identify targets to pick off. Overall these changes should make her more effective and less reliant on her ultimate.

The final thing worth mentioning is that the progress on Hanzo's rework is going quite well! In the developer-exclusive test servers he currently has a horizontal leap that lets him disengage from opponents such as Winston, as well as a secondary ability that replaces scatter and lets you shoot 5 weaker arrows at a much faster rate of fire. In other words, Hanzo will actually be able to defend himself against dive tanks such as Winston and D.Va (provided he can aim anyway), while also being much more fair to fight against since he won't be able to one-shot you without a proper headshot. 

When exactly these changes will come to the PTR, nobody really knows, but it sure does seem like the much-needed Hanzo rework is reaching its final stages. Until it comes, however, make sure to give the current PTR a try and see if all of the buffs will help Mei, Sombra, and Doomfist finally establish themselves in the meta. Have fun!