Two Patches This Week

It’s rare but two balance patches hit the live servers this week and also introduced a new hero challenge.

Symmetra’s Restoration Challenge

Winning 9 games of Overwatch between now and November 30 will reward you with a new player icon, new spray, and new skin. Watching any Overwatch stream this week for 2, 4, and 6 hours will reward you with a bunch of new sprays. All of these are themed on the new Symmetra short story, “Stone by Stone,” where Symm learns some valuable lessons from Zenyatta. The story is written by Senior Writer at Blizzard and novelist, Christie Golden.

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Live Patch Changes

No Hero Limits Competitive Season 1 (Arcade)

A new version of Competitive mode was added to the Arcade for the next 3 weeks, “No Limits.” This harkens back to the first half of Season 1 in 2016 where Overwatch had no hero limits. In fact, using multiples of the same hero was one of the intended ways to play!

I’ve only done 2 placements in this arcade season so far and oof. I do not miss those days.

Hero Balance Changes

  • Baptiste - Amplification Maxtrix ultimate width increased from 5 meters to 9 meters.
  • Brigitte - Base health has been reduced to 150, down from 175. (This reverts the health increase she gained a few weeks ago.)
  • Moira - The resource consumption for her main heal has been slightly reduced, allowing her to heal for 1 extra second if she were to hold down the button from full resources to none.

Quality of Live Hero Changes

  • Ana - Biotic Grenade will now go through allies with full health. (FINALLY!)
  • Hanzo - Storm Arrows can be manually canceled.
  • Lucio - (optional setting) By default Lucio will now automatically gain a speed boost when jumping off walls instead of requiring players to press the Jump button immediately after. This can be turned off in the options. When this setting is on, Lucio can press Crouch to immediately drop to the ground.
  • Mei - Ice Wall may now be manually destroyed while dead.
  • Symmetra - Teleporter may now be manually destroyed while dead.
  • Torbjorn - Turret may now be manually destroyed while dead.
  • Wrecking Ball - Targeting for the Grappling Claw is now more consistent.

Patch Notes for Tuesday, November 17. Patch Notes for Thursday, November 19.

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Priority Passes Come to PTR

A priority system for faster queues is coming to Overwatch soon.

Described by Game Director Jeff Kaplan in a Developer Update on Monday, the Priority Pass system will give passes to players who queue in the new “Flex” role for either Quick Play or Competitive instead of selecting a specific role. The Flex role will put the player into any role that’s needed at the time matchmaker finds a match for them.

Once earned, the next time a player queues, they can use a pass to essentially cut in line when queuing for a specific role, reducing wait times. In most cases this would mean DPS queue.

Players can store up to 40 passes, and while win or lose players will earn passes just for using the Flex queue, winning will earn more. When using Priority Passes in groups, each player in the selected role (again, probably DPS) in your group will need to use a pass. This means if only one of your group is queuing for DPS, only that player needs to use the pass.

As for how well the system will work, Blizzard admits that they won’t really know until it hits the live servers. All the internal testing in the world only means so much with a small population. The PTR isn’t much help in that regard either, so expect potential changes once the service has been live for a few weeks. In reality, this is the same for all changes to the game but once in a while Blizzard stresses it again on new game systems.

Other PTR Goodness

The Replay Viewer is also getting an upgrade, allowing for more customization of the viewing experience. This includes a load of new display and audio options, particularly built for content creators but made for everyone.

A few of the improvements include new playback speeds (0.75x and 1.75x), displaying the Kill Feed, Player Names, Health Bars, customizing the information diplayed on-screen in first-person mode, and more. The full list can be seen in the patch notes.

Miscellaneous

  • Dante (Houston Outlaws) released a video: “The ULTIMATE Echo Guide.” (video)
  • Soe wins Top Host of the Year from The GameHERs Awards. (source)
  • Quote Tweeting Call of Duty player Scrump, former OWL player mentioned that previously OWL tried to force players to sign away the rights to their streams and criticize the game. (source)
  • Streamer Fran announced that all donations to her stream until December 7 will go towards her next Fran’s Overwatch Community Cup (FOCC) prize pool. (source)