Overwatch's support sniper Ana

Ever since "Fan the Hammer" got nerfed McCree has been on a bit of a slump, so in order to bring the cowboy back into the competitive scene Blizzard issued McCree a buff last week, but unfortunately they decided to buff the one aspect of him that was already scary enough - his revolver. As many have predicted back in the Test Realms, this change skyrocketed McCree from the very bottom to the very top... and then straight through the roof! Things finally culminated during the recent GosuGamers tournament where McCree saw an absurd 99% pick rate among the pros, clearly indicating that the cowboy may have been overtuned ever so slightly.

Thankfully, the Blizzard team that handles Overwatch has been paying close attention to community criticism on not just McCree's absurd damage, but also on Ana's under-performance as a healer, and have quickly issued a brand new patch to bring them both into line. Since the update is fairly small, here are the full patch notes:


* Biotic Rifle

- Rate of fire increased by 20%

- Magazine size increased from 8 to 10

Developer Comments: While Ana has been very well received, she was showing to be a little bit weaker overall. In addition to helping her feel better to play, these changes should also increase her healing and damage output.


* Peacemaker Primary Fire

- Damage falloff range decreased by 10 meters

- Damage falloff amount is unchanged

Developer Comments: As a result, even with this change, McCree’s effective range is still higher than it was at launch

* Alternate Fire

- Rate of fire increased by 15%

* Flashbang

- Recovery time (i.e. the amount of time before McCree can fire again) decreased from 0.5 seconds to 0.35 seconds 

Developer Comments: McCree’s latest range increase helped him quite a bit, but it was a bit too much in the right hands. This change weakens his long range damage somewhat, but still keeps it stronger than it has been in the recent past. The other changes combine to allow him to land more alternate fire shots on targets that he has hit with Flashbang.


* Targets of Ana’s Sleep Dart will no longer instantly recover when damaged (recovery time is now 0.5 seconds)

User Interface

* Fixed UI compatibility issues for ATI cards

* Fixed a bug that would sometimes cause Lúcio, Mei, and other models to only partially render (or disappear) 

While I'm not sure if McCree is going to see a noticeable decrease in usage given that Soldier 76 got nerfed, its still a most welcome set of changes as they makes him less ridiculous at long ranges and more effective against those pesky flankers, heroes he was specifically designed to counter.

As for Ana, the increased healing/damage output, and best of all, a more reliable Seep Dart might just be enough to make her an exceptionally good support for offensive pushes. Her ultimate already charged up incredibly quickly, and now that she can attack/heal faster and more often, it might just become downright silly how often she can give Reinhardts a chance at the glory they so desperately desire.

Outside of rebalancing the entire Defense archetype that just doesn't work in high level games (they were almost never picked in the recent tournament), the only change Overwatch needs right now is a slight nerf to Zenyatta's Discord Orb given that you can find yourself dead before you can even react to it. Either slowing down the travel speed of the orb or adding a cooldown would be more than enough to help tanky characters not melt the moment they meet the "peaceful" monk, and with Discord spam out of the picture Mercy might once again start seeing the light of day, so its two birds with one stone.

These couple of issues aside, I have to commend Blizzard for their balance work on Overwatch. Even though they've occasionally messed up and created a monster, they've also consistently pushed towards making more and more characters viable in high level play, and the results speak for themselves. The entirety of the Tank, Assault and Support roster are completely valid picks at high level play and even though some of them might rotate out due to a particular metagame, they are bound to resurface eventually. Here's to hoping they manage to bring the Defense heroes into this kind of state as well.

Overwatch's cast of characters