The latest tank hero, Sigma, was revealed and added to the PTR this week. Sigma is another barrier-based tank with the ability to “throw” his shield in front of him. It travels as far away as he wants, or until it hits a wall, whichever comes first.

His other abilities are loosely based on gravity themes.

Sigma’s main attack comes from two orbs he throws that explode on contact, bouncing off up to one surface on their way to a target. His Accretion ability forms a rock that he can lob that causes a knockback and a very short stun. The Kinetic Grasp ability allows him to absorb the damage from enemy abilities that hit him, and turn them into personal, temporary shields. It will eat some ultimates, such as Defense Matrix, and he has special voice lines when he eats some enemy ultimates.

Yes, he does karaoke as well.

Jeff said in the Sigma Developer Update that the plan is to have Sigma on the live servers by the beginning of Season 18 on September 1. Blizzard rarely provides dates, but with how development goes, take this date as as a “likely” and not “guarantee.”


PTR Patch Notes

Along with Sigma, a handful of changes have come to the PTR that are in addition to the balance changes made last week.

Tuesday’s patch; Wednesday’s patch; Thursday’s patch.

  • D.Va Pilot’s ultimate to get her mech back was reduced by 12%, putting it back to where it was before last week’s PTR change of increasing all ultimate costs by at least 12%.

  • Moira’s Fade change was reverted to what it is on live servers, and is no longer usable while stunned.

  • Symmetra’s teleporter cooldown and re-use time was reverted to what they are on the live servers: 12 seconds for the cooldown, down from 15, and 1 second to re-use the teleporter, down from 1.5.

  • Wrecking Ball’s Minefield projectile speed is now 12 instead of 13, but is still more than the 10 that it is on the live servers.

Overwatch League

Playoffs Primer

Before Stage 4 games began on Thursday, the Overwatch League posted details about when we’d see the pros have access to both Sigma and the current PTR watch. This will happen once the post-season begins on August 30.

The play-in tournament, a chance for the 7th through 12th seed teams to make it into the season playoffs, takes place on Saturday, August 30 and Sunday, August 31.

The double-elimination tournament for the Grand Finals takes place over the next few weekends, and then after a two-week break the top two teams head to Philadelphia for the Grand Finals.

Player Impact Rating

Not fully happy with how X per 10 minutes stats tracked how well a player was doing over time or during important moments like team fights, former Overbuff writer CaptainPlanet helped devise a new system called the Player Impact Rating (PIR).

With the assumption that team fights were the most important of any match, this new method measures a player’s contribution to a team fight using some stats such as final blows, damage, healing, eating ultimates, and so on. A second calculation tries to take account for that different heroes have different strengths on different patches, and tries to “even” things out.

Again, it’s a bit vague, and intentionally so that only the League has it, but it does feel like a reasonable way to really drive home who is doing how well on a team.

Here is an example of NYXL having some trouble at the end of season 1 with this new system.


League Picks

The League Picks beta launched this week, allowing viewers to earn extra OWL tokens by correctly voting on map and match outcomes.

During the OWL stream, a pop-up will appear asking for votes on the outcomes of maps, and answers that turn out correct will award points towards goals that all award more OWL tokens. There is more info on the link above about how this works both on desktop and mobile platforms.

The system was supposed to launch on the first night of Stage 4, but difficulty with the login system forced the Overwatch League to turn it off for the night. Before it was taken offline we were able to take some pictures of what it looks like.

Spark punish Krystal after a no-show

The Hangzhou Spark announced on Thursday that their DPS player, Krystal, hadn’t come back to LA after his personal leave was over on July 15. For this he has received a formal warning and a fine. 18 year-old Krystal said in response that he had trouble getting his visa and didn’t know that he had to ask for more time.

That Spark even announced this, and provided as many details as they did, has led to discussions on if it was the “right” thing to do so or not. Caster Monte says yes, and it brings the OWL in line with other sports, but Uprising Coach Gunba says no and that this hurts his career.

In the end though, we don’t know how much due diligence was done by either party.

Shilong -Krystal- Cai-Robert Paul.jpg Photo by Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Roster and Staff Changes between Stage 3 and 4

  • Leave joins Chengdu Hunters but won’t be able to play until 2020 due to being underage. (link)
  • Munchkin has left Seoul Dynasty and is looking for a new team. (link)
  • shu stepped down as Analyst for San Francisco Shock. (link)
  • Curryshot joins Guangzhou Charge as Strategic Head Coach. (link)
  • Coach815 leaves London Spitfire. (link)
  • Opti joins Toronto Defiant as Head Coach. (link)
  • Izayaki joins Shanghai Dragons from LA Valiant. (link)

This Week on Overbuff

If you haven’t read it yet, I (@Sabriality) interviewed Shanghai Dragons Head Coach BlueHaS. We talked Stage 3 playoffs and what’s to come in Stage 4 in part 1, and coming on Monday is part 2 where we talked about his coaching.