Mercy Recall Challenge

The Mercy Recall Challenge launched this week in conjunction with a new story that pushes the Overwatch story ahead a few more hours.

For the next two and a half weeks, win 9 games in either Quick Play, Competitive, or in the Arcade, and you’ll be able to earn a Mercy player icon, two Mercy sprays, and the new Dr. Zeigler skin. The new skin is the most “casual” Mercy skin we’ve had yet, with her in civilian clothes under her long coat.

Extra sprays may be earned by watching any streamer who is playing Overwatch during the event.

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The story, “Valkyrie,” takes place shortly after Ana’s “Bastet” from earlier this year. Angela discovers that Jack and Ana are still alive, but she’s less concerned with that as she’s still trying to figure out her place in the world after the fall of Overwatch years ago. She reminisces about her joining the organization, and the events of this story lead to her rejoining by the time Overwatch 2 comes out.

Direct link to the PDF of the story: “Valkyrie” by Michael Chu

PTR Patch brings HUGE changes to how Overwatch plays

A patch arrived on the PTR that seems to be a direct response to how the change to 2-2-2 had pushed Overwatch gameplay into heavy use of barriers.

The first change is that the effectiveness of armor has increased back to blocking 5 damage for each shot taken, up from 3. This means that Bastion, Brigitte, D.Va, Orisa, Reinhardt, Torbjorn, Winston, and Wrecking Ball all have a very small increase in survivability because they all naturally have armor.

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Orisa, Reinhardt, and Sigma barriers each had a health reduction, with Sigma’s being cut almost in half. Each of these three tanks themselves became more “tanky” in that they have staying alive power with more armor, faster movement, or in the case of Sigma, who converts more damage into his personal shield.

Moira’s healing output has been reduced. In this meta she had become incredibly strong. At a 12.39% pickrate overall, she was seen in almost every game.

A number of DPS characters saw changes as well, with Genji getting a bit more ammo, Torbjorn’s Overload ability getting a shorter cooldown, and Widomaker’s Grappling Hook cooldown was increased.

A new option to join Deathmatch, Skirmishes, the Training Room, or custom game modes have been added to modes where one has to wait in queue for a game.

Rundown of changes:

  • D.Va - Defense Matrix cooldown reduced to 1.5 seconds, down from 2.

  • Genji - Primary fire ammo increased to 30, up from 24.

  • Moira - Healing output from her primary fire reduced from 80 healing per second to 65 healing per second.

  • Orisa - 50 HP increase in the form of armor, moves faster while firing, Fortify cooldown reduced, barrier health reduced from 900 HP to 600 HP.

  • Reinhardt - Moves faster while holding his barrier out, knockbacks against him have their effectiveness reduced by 50%, up from 30%.

  • Sigma - Barrier health reduced from 1500 HP to 900 HP, the regeneration rate for the barrier reduced, converts 60% of damage sucked up by Kinetic Grasp into shields, up from 40%, and its cooldown was reduced.

  • Torbjörn - Overload cooldown reduced to 10 seconds, down from 12.

  • Widowmaker - Grappling Hook cooldown returned to 12 seconds, up from 10. Interesting note, at least to me: it was 12 seconds when Overwatch launched, dropped to 8 seconds in mid-2017, increased to 10 in mid-2018, and will now be back to 12.

  • Zarya - Secondary fire explosion radius increased to 2.5 meters, up from 2, and the amount of ammo her secondary fire uses is now 20, reduced from 25. Meaning, when full, she gets 5 uses instead of 4.

Full PTR Patch Notes: PTR - November 13, 2019

Miscellaneous

  • Houston Outlaws finally have an owner after Immortals, the team who owns the LA Valiant, bought Houston’s parent company earlier this year. One group is not allowed to own two teams (in most situations) per OWL rules. This summer someone else had tried to buy the team, and tweeted celebrities in hopes that they would help finance the purchase. ESPN

  • Today is the final day for Overwatch League teams to have a minimum 8-person roster for next season. As of this writing, Atlanta, Boston, Florida, LA Gladiators, London, and New York all have fewer than 8 announced players. Note that teams are not required to announce their players publicly so not officially having the minimum does not mean they do not have them. Reddit thread

  • Jeff Kaplan, who is not only the Game Director for Overwatch, but the Vice President of Blizzard, said to the Washington Post that he was relieved when blitzchung’s suspension was reduced, and feels that it should be shorter still or removed entirely. Washington Post

  • Houston Outlaws General Manager Flame revealed that there was supposed to be a team tour in China during OWL Season 1, and an Australia and New Zealand tour during Season 2, all in hopes of increasing the Outlaws fanbase in those parts of the world. Flame’s Twitter

  • NYXL put its Contenders team, XL2 Academy, on hiatus. They join the Shock, Mayhem, and Paris who all did so previously. Guangzhou had done it at one point, but then acquired Contenders team T1w. XL2 Twitter