General

New Hero on the PTR!

There was very little in the way of hero teasers this time around. On Monday night, an origin story for Baptiste was released, and on Tuesday, the PTR patch with him in it, already rolled out. A Developer Update also introduced the new hero, describing a bit about his back story and abilities.

Baptiste is a support hero who has a grenade launcher that shoots healing grenades. It’s like Ana’s healing bullets but in Junkrat form. They don’t bounce, but they do a significant amount of splash healing when they hit their target. A second heal is a heal over time that hits anyone standing near Baptiste when it’s cast (they can move away once hit by it). It’s also the only way Baptiste can heal himself as he cannot benefit from his own healing grenades.

Baptiste can also reach high up places by holding the couch button for a few seconds, and then pressing the jump button.

For an ultimate, Baptiste places down a small, upright rectangle on the field that doubles the damage of any friendly projectile that travels through it. Melee users don’t bother trying, it’s not for you.

His secondary ability, not his ultimate, is one of his most talked about abilities: Invulnerability Field. Placing a drone that flies in the air a few feet off the ground, an area of energy appears that prevents any ally within it from dying. The lowest health they can be brought down to is 20%, and anyone below 20% is healed up to that point. While quite powerful, the ability can be shut down by destroying the generator that floats just above the height of most heroes. A few channels, including Stylosa and Overwatch Central, did some videos testing how this ability interacts with other heroes.

Baptiste2.jpg

PTR Changes Bring Largest Number of Hero Changes Ever

This week, most of the entire line heroes received some sort of change, along with more armor changes, and adjustments to how damage boosting and knockbacks work.

Beams such as from Zarya and Symmetra do 20% less damage to armor, and armor no longer affects damage over time (dot) effects such as the damage from Ana’s rifle, and fire from Ashe’s Dynamite. Damage boosts now apply to projectiles when they fire instead of when they hit the target, and knockback distance is more consistent and now properly affect heroes who are flying.

I won’t reiterate all of the hero changes, but there are more heroes getting buffs than not with this patch, and many of the heroes who received nerfs are those who help make the 3-3, or GOATS, comp, more effective. This probably doesn’t mean the death of GOATS, but it will be a bit weaker.

There are two separate posts for patch notes: Tuesday and Thursday. Widowmaker’s ultimate, Infra-sight, has been changed so that you can see enemy health bars while it’s active, and the ultimate goes away if she dies before it’s over.

Tuesday’s Hero Change Summary

  • Ana: nerf
  • Doomfist: buff
  • Hanzo: buff
  • Lucio: –
  • McCree: Fan the Hammer nerfed; Deadeye buffed
  • Mei: Primary fire buff; Wall nerfed
  • Moira: heals buffed
  • Orisa: buff
  • Pharah: buff
  • Soldier: buff
  • Sombra: buff
  • Torbjorn: buff
  • Widow: see HP bars with ult; ult lost on death
  • Wrecking Ball: buff

Thursday’s Hero Change Summary

  • Junkrat: Buff
  • Lucio: Speed nerfed, Wall Ride buffed
  • McCree: Buff
  • Reaper: Nerf
  • Symmetra: Buff
  • Zarya: Nerf
  • Zenyatta: Discord nerfed, primary fire buffed

Esports

dragons.jpg Photo credit Sean Castello for Blizzard Entertainment

Shanghai Dragons Win!

Okay so this news is now about a week old, but that’s one of the problems with a once-a-week column. If you haven’t heard yet, the Shanghai Dragons ended their 42 loss streak and defeated the Boston Uprising 3-1 last Friday!

The Dragons play two games this weekend, tonight (Friday) against the Chengdu Hunters, and Saturday against the Dallas Fuel. Will they be able to take another win?

Two-Way Contracts Cause Trouble

Two-Way contracts in the Overwatch League allow players in Contenders to play for an OWL team, with some restrictions. The public rules state that that players who play more than two games during one OWL stage would not be eligible to play in the next season of Contenders. A few players such as Boston’s Fusions and Philadelphia’s Elk have taken advantage of this and have already seen stage time.

Last Friday, the Overwatch League dropped a bombshell on these teams, saying that players under a two-way contract who have already played two games, couldn’t play anymore this stage because they played during Contenders last season. This rule was quietly implemented last autumn, and the teams themselves didn’t seem to know, and the League seemed to have forgotten itself, only remembering last minute and telling Boston that Fusions couldn’t play as he was preparing to go on stage.

Since then, teams and the League have been in talks, and it seems for now that these players are now able to play again. Whew!