In the Lunar Year event patch that brought along changes to Doomfist and Reaper, subtle ones intended for Overwatch’s public test realm made their way into the update that brought significant tweaks to Sombra, as principal designer Geoff Goodman broached in the official forums. He also discussed Blizzard’s recent experimentation with new abilities and alterations to Hanzo’s kit. With revelations like these, vice president Jeff Kaplan has taken to an official developer update to disclose what’s in the works for several heroes.
The order of business starts with Mei, who Kaplan has addressed in the official forums recently given fan outcry about her place in the meta. Blizzard is buffing her by increasing freeze time from 1 second to 1.5 seconds and giving her more icicle ammo before needing to reload her Endothermic Blaster. Many of the previously disclosed changes for Sombra are going through, which include no longer generating ultimate charge off of hacked health packs and a 10 percent decrease to her Machine Gun spread. However, the biggest shakeups come with an increase to her hack time and disabling more abilities for characters, with Kaplan providing examples of Genji not being to double jump and Pharah losing her hover jet. Other similar abilities were already detailed by Goodman in his post linked above. Doomfist is getting an additional buff to his Hand Cannon that allows him to recover bullets much faster.
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Hanzo is not receiving any fixes with this PTR update, but big plans are in store for the Shimada bowman. Blizzard has been testing out new abilities and replacements for his often-maligned Scatter Arrow. One such example is “Piercing Arrow,” which would have allowed Hanzo to shoot a fast, deadly bullet that penetrates through barriers, but the ability wasn’t playtesting well. The team also attempted Hanzo only being able to use Scatter Arrow on walls instead of the ground, but found this nerfed it too much. Success has potentially been found with an ability mapped to the reload button that grants Hanzo the chance to shoot three arrows in rapid succession. Another option includes a bounding leap that can be used to swiftly and suddenly surprise or retreat from the enemy team.
No announcements for Symmetra or Torbjörn are ready for the time being, but Kaplan assured players that the team wants to tweak them to bring their playtimes up across the board.
If you’d like to read about even bigger changes that Blizzard could bring to Overwatch, check out our recent feature on ideas for single-player and multiplayer modes. In addition, stay tuned to Andrew Reiner’s series of ongoing interviews with Overwatch League players. His most recent chat is with San Francisco Shock’s “Babybay” which you can read by clicking here.
[Source: Overwatch on Twitter]
I don’t think Mei was necessarily in a bad place, but Sombra and Hanzo were absolute musts for Blizzard to address. Sombra has always felt like a circumstantial hero for dealing with Symmetra because once her teleporter is gone, most players switch. Increasing her weapon accuracy and power of her hacking should make her more viable to deal with other characters like Mercy and Pharah when they prove to be pesky. As for Hanzo … Scatter Arrow has to be nerfed in some way. I think removing its ability to ricochet off floors would be balanced out by a new ability like this jump (which sounds like a lot of fun), but this Piercing Arrow thing is tricky. Anyway, now Blizzard has to gently nerf Junkrat and buff Mercy’s resurrrect again and most of my current gripes will be dealt with.