Dramatic changes to Mercy on PTR

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Mercy received a major rework on the PTR. Her Resurrection ultimate has been turned into an ability with a long cooldown and it may only target one person. Her Guardian Angel ability can target allies from much further away, and her new ultimate, Valkyrie, grants Mercy the ability to fly, turns the beam from her Caduceus Staff into a chain heal/boost, her Caduceus Blaster has infinite ammo and an increased fire rate, and the cooldown on her Resurrection ability is reduced. Principal Designer Geoff Goodman has already stated the Blaster is a bit too strong and as it does a surprising amount of damage.

D.Va received changes as well. The length of time Defensive Matrix can be up was cut in half, she has a new Micro Missile ability that shoots a quick burst of damage, and she may fire her Fusion Cannons and new Micro Missiles while Boosting.

For greater visibility and awareness, Reinhardt players can move their camera while their shield is out, and in Mystery Heroes, players will no longer get a new hero when they kill themselves. Read the full PTR patch notes here.

Gamescom announcements: new map and cinematic

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At gamescom, the world’s second largest gaming convention, Blizzard had two major reveals!

The first, it’s a perfect day for mayhem on a new payload map, themed around the home turf of Junkrat and Roadhog, called Junkertown. This map has the attackers delivering a blinged-out boom trolley to The Queen to “repay” her for kicking the pair out of town. The new map hasn’t appeared on the PTR yet, but it has been playable at gamescom, and there was a great animated short (“Junkertown: The Plan”) to showcase the map and a video highlighting the map itself.

Second, the long-awaited Mei cinematic, “Rise and Shine,” debuted! In it we see Mei’s origin story and what happened at Ecopoint: Antarctica. It’s a tear-jerker so be prepared!

Season 6 changes

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In a developer update this week, Jeff Kaplan revealed a number of changes coming to season 6 of competitive mode. First up, seasons are moving from 3 months to 2 months in length. The reasoning for this is that engagement and competitiveness are better during the beginning of the season. Due to this change, players will also receive more Competitive Points per win.

The number of games required to play weekly for higher ranked players has been reduced from 7 games to 5, and the decay has been halved from 50 SR to 25.

Control maps are moving to a Best of 3 instead of Best of 5. It was felt that games that turned into a full 5 rounds took far too long.

For returning players completing placements, no longer will the game artificially place them about 200SR lower than they were when they ended their previous season. It was felt that the artificial drop would help players feel better about climbing at the beginning, but instead this was making players feel bad about their placements.

Players in Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond will now be moved to lower tiers if they cannot maintain the minimum SR for their tier. If their SR has not climbed above the minimum for their tier (ex: 2000 for Gold) over the past five games, they will drop a rank. Competitive Points granted at the end of the season are still given out based on highest rank achieved.

Higher skilled players will find that they have increased queue times.

Contenders Season 1 begins

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It was a curious weekend of upsets for the first weekend of Contenders Season 1. First up, in North America, EnVision defeated Rogue 3-1. Rogue, fourth place finishers of APEX Season 3, and one of the highest rated teams of Western Overwatch, looked shaky in the match-up and weren’t able to rally when it was most needed.

On the European side, one of the strongest teams right now is eUnited, but Team Gigantti showed that they’ve made significant improvements in the off-season and could be a force to be reckoned with as they won 3-1.

Notable News

  • The Overwatch League announced the roster for the Seoul franchise. The new team is comprised entirely of Lunatic-Hai members, many of which have been on the team during its back-to-back win for APEX Seasons 2 and 3.

  • LW Blue dropped out of APEX Season 4 stating it is related to OWL. Speculation is that many of the players have been acquired by a league franchise. They have forfeit all remaining games in APEX and have received sanctions for the tournament organizers.

  • HuK was named President of Gaming for Overwatch Boston Franchise. HuK is a former Starcraft 2 pro and has played the role of Analyst and Commentator for Overwatch.

  • TakeTV announced a new team, Angry Titans (EU).

  • Former Kongdoo player EVERMORE, the first player to reach 5000SR, won the first PUBG Invitational.

  • LG Evil’s roster are all looking for new homes. All players are still contracted with the organization, but are free to move elsewhere.

Roster Changes

  • baud (support) joined Iceblock (EU).

  • Harbleu (tank) stepped down from the NRG active roster (NA).

  • GamersOrigin picked up Hqrdest (DPS), Leaf (DPS), and PiPou (support) (EU).

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