Stop freaking out about Overwatch’s latest PTR build – the community’s barely had time to try it

By Brenna Hillier
9 January 2017 01:41 GMT

Overwatch is in an uproar over the latest balance changes. Is it justified?


Overwatch PC players currently have the opportunity to try out a new Overwatch PTR build with changes to Roadhog, D.Va and Ana, among other things.

Since the build rolled out on the test server, there’s been something of a fuss in the Overwatch community, with loud upset over the balance changes.

This is nothing new for balancing changes; some people will always lose it when one of their favourite characters is changed, whether the nerf is justified or excessively harsh. But in this case, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan seems to be getting a bit tired of the shouting – especially when it doesn’t seem to be backed up by a fair assessment of the proposed changes.

“The sky is not falling. 0.26% of Overwatch players have tested these changes on the PTR,” he wrote on the forums.

“To put it another way, 99.74% of the community hasn’t actually played with any of these changes. The average playtime on the PTR (including sitting in menus etc.) this week is 26 minutes.

“I encourage people to log in and try these changes for a few nights – not one anecdotal match – and see how you feel about them by formulating your own opinion.”

Sometimes criticism of gameplay and balance changes is justified, though, and that’s exactly why Blizzard maintains a test server. Maybe D.Va’s current balance will be adjusted before the build goes live, and maybe the Overwatch community will concede Blizzard has made the right decision – but Roadhog will definitely see further changes before launch, because principal designer Geoff Goodman agrees with you that he’s still broken.

“We have a fix for this coming soon onto the PTR,” Goodman wrote in response to forums complaints about how the new Hook interacts with targets in partial cover.

“As well as other fixes (such as being able to throw people behind you if you spin before the hook lands).

“I’m also playing around with the ability for the hook to slow down a player when it impacts them, especially if they are in the air. This should help some of the more extreme cases where a player was strafe jumping and got hooked, but just before they get pulled they traveled a good 3-4 meters before breaking LOS, causing the hook to fail.”

So in other words, please stop threatening to quit playing Overwatch or change mains or hold your breath until you faint just because you read some patch notes and leapt to conclusions. The best way to ensure Overwatch moves further towards an ideal balance is to play a lot, so your data can be harvested by Blizzard, and to highlight bugs and other issues.

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