Overwatch patch adds map, introduces Season 2 changes, rebalances Zenyatta, Genji and more

By Brenna Hillier, Friday, 2 September 2016 04:08 GMT

Overwatch has been updated. Here’s what you need to know.

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A new Overwatch patch has rolled out on PC and Xbox One.

There’s no word yet on when the patch will come to PS4, but we’re not sure if that’s related to Overwatch going free on PS4 next weekend or perhaps to the PSN having some troubles earlier today.

Many of the balance and general changes in this patch were previously rolled out on the Overwatch PTR server for PC, so it might feel a little familiar, but the real bulk is all about preparing for the second season of Overwatch’s Competitive Mode.

As previously reported, Blizzard is making big changes to Overwatch’s skill ranking system, which is now spread over 5,000 and divided into tiers, and getting rid of Sudden Death, among other changes.

Even if you’re not into ranked Overwatch play there’s a pretty big change – the addition of the Eichenwalde map.

And then of course there’s the hero balance changes – the buffs and nerfs. All Overwatchheroes have been affected by the rollback of a previous change to projectile sizes, and ultimates will now interrupt quick melee attacks – but other abilities won’t.

As for individual Overwatch heroes, here’s what Blizzard had to say:

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

Hanzo: 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. To compensate for the increased projectile speed, we’ve decreased the size of his arrows, meaning his shots now require a bit more accuracy.

Genji: 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.

Lucio: Thanks to Lúcio’s speed increase, he was almost a must pick in every lineup.

McCree: 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.

Mei: 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.

Mercy: 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.

Roadhog: 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.

Soldier 76: These changes will make burst-firing feel more reliable and increase his effectiveness at longer ranges.

Zenyatta: 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.

You can read the general updates and hero changes below the image break; visit the Overwatch forums for user interface updates and bug fixes.

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General Overwatch updates

  • When activating the “Ultimate Status” communication, Symmetra now reports the number of charges left on her teleporter
  • When activating the “Needs healing” communication while targeting a teammate, Ana, Lúcio, Mercy, and Zenyatta will now tell allies to group up to receive healing. A marker will also appear above the player’s head, allowing teammates to locate the healer more quickly
  • Added Torbjörn as an AI-controlled hero in Practice vs. AI, Play vs. AI, and Custom Game modes
  • Sit and laugh emotes are now unlockable for all heroes
  • New Legendary skins have been added for Reinhardt

Overwatch Competitive Play changes

  • Skill rating is now measured on a 1-5000 scale instead of the former 1-100 scale
  • Skill Rating Tiers
    • Players will now be assigned to a tier, depending on their skill rating
    • In Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond tiers, a player will not drop out of their tier even if their skill rating falls below the cutoff
    • In Master and Grandmaster tiers, a player whose skill rating falls below the tier’s minimum will be moved to a lower tier
    • Players that have reached the Master and Grandmaster tiers must be within 500 Skill Rating of their groupmates
    • Players that are Diamond-tier and below must be within 1000 Skill Rating of their groupmates
  • Skill Rating Decay
    • Players in Diamond, Master, and Grandmaster tiers that haven’t participated in a competitive match for 7 days will lose skill rating
    • Players with a skill rating above 3000 (Diamond tier or higher) will lose 50 rating points every 24 hours, but their rating will not fall below 3000
    • Competing in a single match will halt skill rating decay
    • Players that haven’t participated in a competitive match for 7 days will immediately drop out of the top 500
  • Map Changes
    • Several refinements have been made to the time bank system for Hanamura, Temple of Anubis, and Volskaya Industries
    • The time bank system has been added to Dorado, Hollywood, King’s Row, Numbani, Route 66, and Watchpoint: Gibraltar
    • Time granted for taking objectives on Dorado, Hanamura, Hollywood, King’s Row, Numbani, Route 66, Temple of Anubis, Volskaya Industries, and Watchpoint: Gibraltar has been reduced from 5 minutes to 4
  • Competitive Points
    • Existing competitive points saved from Season 1 will be multiplied by 10
    • After winning a competitive match, players will now receive 10 competitive points (instead of 1)
    • Players will now receive 3 competitive points for a draw
    • The cost of golden weapons has also been multiplied by 10 – from 300 to 3000
    • A soft cap is being placed on the number of competitive points that can be saved
      – Players with more than 6000 points at the start of season 2 will no longer accrue points by playing competitive matches
      – End-of-season rewards will still be granted to players at the soft cap
    • Instead of going into Sudden Death, tied competitive matches will now result in a draw
    • Players must now win at least 50 competitive matches to be eligible for a spot in the top 500
    • Players must now complete more matches to clear their penalty status for leaving a competitive match early

Overwatch hero balance changes

    General

  • 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 that reduced the size of heroes’ projectiles
  • Most hero abilities will no longer interrupt quick melee attacks
  • Ultimate abilities will now interrupt quick melee attacks
    D.Va

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

  • Hanzo will now experience a 30% decrease in speed while aiming (formerly 40%)
  • Maximum projectile speed has been increased by 30%
  • Arrow size has been reduced by 33%
    Genji

  • Double jump no longer resets when wall climbing
  • Swift Strike
    • No longer deals damage to traps like Widowmaker’s Venom Mine or Junkrat’s Steel Trap
    • No longer bypasses Junkrat’s Steel Trap
    • No longer interrupts quick melee attacks
  • Dragonblade
    • Duration of Genji’s ultimate has been reduced from 8 seconds to 6 seconds
    Lúcio

  • Amp It Up
    • The boosting of movement speed has been decreased by 30% (from a 100% increase to a 70% increase)
    McCree

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

  • Blizzard
    • Projectile now pierces barriers
    • Radius has been increased from 8 meters to 10 meters
    Mercy

  • Caduceus Staff
    • Healing Beam healing-per-second has been increased by 20%
  • Resurrect
    • Resurrected allies will be able to maneuver after 2.25 seconds (reduced from 3 seconds)
    Roadhog

  • 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
    Soldier: 76

  • Heavy Pulse Rifle
    • Bullet spread now happens more quickly when unloading fully-automatic pulse fire
    • Significantly Increased bullet spread recovery time
    Zenyatta

  • 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

Overwatch map balance changes

    Watchpoint: Gibraltar

  • Watchpoint: Gibraltar’s first checkpoint has been removed. The balance changes that were implemented in previous patches have eliminated the need for Watchpoint: Gibraltar to have an extra checkpoint.

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