Balance Changes on PTR

Six heroes received balance changes in a PTR patch that rolled out this week.

Baptiste - The time between firing bursts of his primary fire was slightly increased, and the heal from his secondary fire has been reduced to 50, down from 60.

Hanzo - The damage from each arrow with his Storm Arrow ability has been reduced from 70 damage to 60.

McCree - His health was increased from 200 to 250, his primary fire speed was made a little slower, and he’s now able to turn much faster while using his ultimate. More on this ultimate change below.

Orisa - The damage from her primary fire has been reduced from 11 to 9, the cooldown for Fortify has increased from 8 seconds to 10, and the length of the snare from Halt! (her secondary attack) has dropped from 1 second to 0.65 seconds.

Reaper - The self-healing Reaper receives from damaging others has been reduced from 40% to 30%.

Sigma - The range of his primary fire was reduced from 22 meters to 20, the damage from his Accretion ability was reduced from 60 to 40 damage, the slow effect from slamming into the ground after being hit by his ultimate has been reduced to 0.6 seconds, down from 0.9 seconds, and now the ultimate can be interrupted if stopped before targets slam to the ground.

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McCree Ultimate Change

McCree’s ultimate change will be huge for fast-acting players. With the current version of Deadeye, McCree is mostly stuck facing the direction he’s looking at when activated. Anyone who runs far enough to the side is safe from the attack. The new version allows him to turn without restriction and he will stay locked-on to targets that go outside of his field of vision. The trick is that he will still only fire at targets he can see when pressing Fire.

KarQ has an example of the new Deadeye.

Ideally, the new way to use the ultimate is to scan around and lock onto as many enemies as possible, then quickly pick the angle that allows you to hit the most locked-on targets. Not too different from now, but gives McCree players more options and hopefully more successful results.

Patch Number Significance

Blizzard Software Manager Zach Metcalf pointed out to some Discord users that this PTR patch has the same patch number as the update that hit servers last week, 1.44. This strongly implies that these changes will be used by Overwatch League teams at the start of the season.

More OWL Talent News

Instead of leavers, this week we received updates on a few people who are staying with the Overwatch League for the 2020 season.

Soe sang a little song to announce that she will be hosting this year. Cat lovers will want to watch because the second half is full of clips of her cats disrupting her recording.

Caster Jaws, who has casted Contenders for years and the World Cup in 2019, will be casting with Hex. I will never not upvote good Back to the Future references like the one used for the announcement.

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Kaplan Puts Kibosh on Hero Bans

Jeff Kaplan took to the forums this week to tell the community that no, hero bans are not coming. As with all ideas, hero bans are not out of the picture entirely, but at present the team has no inclination to add them.

This was in response to the community convincing itself over the past few days that a rumor about hero bans coming was true. The only thing that was true up to that moment was that a Developer Update was coming before the end of the month.

In the post, Kaplan discussed a few of the main talking points around the feature: 1) people feel hero bans would shake-up the meta more often; 2) people want to ban heroes they feel are unbalanced; 3) people want to ban heroes they don’t like playing against.

Even though metas mostly affect high-level players, the community perceives a stagnate meta is bad for everyone. The team agrees and they are going to be implementing changes soon to help it shift more frequently, with more details coming in the Developer Update next week.

He went on to say that games that have hero bans often wind up having a “ban meta” which cause the same frustrations that metas do in a game.

Regarding bans for balance reasons, part of the new system coming next week is to allow for more frequent balance changes and we will get more in-depth information soon.

As for trying to ban heroes because one doesn’t like playing against a particular hero, Jeff got a bit more firm saying, “…it’s a PvP game. You don’t get to pick what the enemy team does.” Maybe not intentional, but I walked away feeling he meant, “Tough. Deal with it.”

My above recap is an oversimplification of what he said, so I highly encourage reading the entire post.