As covered yesterday, Overwatch is getting a new hero in Baptiste, the Haitian combat medic. What I did not get to cover, however, are the rest of the official patch notes that went up onto the PTR with Baptiste. There is a lot to process and analyze here: 14 of the total 30 Overwatch heroes were updated in this patch, with additional updates announced by Geoff Goodman on Wednesday. With Geoff’s additional statement, 19 of the 30 heroes in the game will be patched, not counting Baptiste since this will be his original build. I’m going to go through and analyze all of these updates, one-by-one, looking at how it will affect the current GOATS meta.
One final note: I’m not going to cover the Baptiste notes because I covered him yesterday and doing it here would be redundant. Instead, I’ll just reference him when the specific patch calls for it.
- Beam-type damage is now reduced by 20% when hitting armor
- Damage over time effects are no longer mitigated by armor
“The damage taken by armor from damage over time effects, such as Widowmaker’s Venom Mine, and beam weapons, like Symmetra’s Photon Projector, varied greatly. Now it will be more consistent and predictable.” -Dev Comments
Quick aside: I’m going to reference damage over time as DoT from now on.
As minor as this seems, I feel like this could be something that ends up biting into Brigitte the most because her active healing primarily gives temporary armor and Baptiste’s healing doesn’t use armor.
- Damage boost is now applied when a projectile is fired rather than when it hits a target
“Previously, the effects of damage boosting were only accounted for if the damage-dealing hero was being boosted as they landed a hit. Now, damage is applied to the projectile as it is fired. This means the damage-dealing hero doesn’t need to be boosted when the projectile hits an enemy for the damage boost to be accounted for.” –Dev Comments
This one feels like a no-brainer because it doesn’t even logically make sense. Why should something already fired/activated get additional damage unless it involves the character’s full body a la Reinhardt’s Charge? I honestly don’t see this affecting the meta too much, just the timing of certain moves like Orisa’s Supercharger ult.
- Knockback distance is now more consistent
- Heroes that are flying can now be knocked back and slowed
“Knockbacks are now less affected by how the enemy was moving when they were hit. Instead of having small or large knockbacks that depend on chance, knockbacks will feel similar regardless of the enemy’s movement leading up to the knockback. Allowing flying heroes, like Mercy when using her Valkyrie ability or D.Va using her Booster ability, to be properly knocked back makes for more fluid, realistic gameplay.” –Dev Comments
Not much to say other than that this is a good patch for characters with knockback moves.
- A new sound plays when you land a hit while damage boosted
- A new sound plays when you land a hit, but it doesn’t do any damage
“With the addition of Baptiste, we wanted to be sure that you can tell when your hits were being buffed or nullified, regardless of what hero you’re playing.” –Dev Comments
This is just a quality of life patch to inform players about damage, so it’s not going to affect game strategy or metas.
Most of these general updates seem directed at creating a better sense of consistency among game-wide facets like knockbacks and sound, so while some could make some minor changes to the meta, most outside of the armor patch won’t be that major.
- Nano Boost: Heal reduced from 300 to 250
“Giving Nano Boost an instant heal effect enabled players to survive longer and made Ana’s ultimate valuable. However, it needs to be slightly less effective for refilling large health pools.” –Dev Comments
While this is a slight nerf, the most we can expect is for players to coordinate Ana’s Nano Boost more frequently to squeeze out all the healing they can get from its dosage.
- Rising Uppercut: Cooldown reduced from 7 to 6 seconds
- Seismic Slam: Cooldown reduced from 7 to 6 seconds
“Reducing the downtime of Doomfist’s abilities should make his gameplay feel more fluid.” –Dev Comments
Doomfist does get a slight buff here but seeing as though he is already barely used, this will only be noticed in uncommon occasions. It will make things slightly cleaner for him, but it won’t take the spotlight from this mega-patch.
- Sonic Arrow: Detection radius increased from 7 to 9 meters
“Because of how dense the environment is on some maps, the Sonic Arrow can feel ineffective in some areas. Increasing Sonic Arrow’s detection radius should make it more effective.” –Dev Comments
This won’t change Hanzo’s pick rate or the meta in OWL that much because most teams send out a Sombra to scout ahead (invisibly) to do most reconnaissance. I will say that this is a bit of a recon-friendly patch as we will see with Widowmaker.
- Sonic Amplifier: Soundwave now counts towards Offensive Assists
- Speed Song: Effect lowered from 30% to 20%
- Amp it Up: Speed song amped effect reduced from 70% to 50%
- Wall Ride: Passive movement speed gained while wall riding increased from 20% to 40%.
“The knockback on Lúcio’s Soundwave is a great tool for pushing enemies into situations that get them killed, so they should be rewarded an offensive assist for doing so.” –Dev Comments
Simple: expect to see Lucio’s icon in more assist pictures on the kill feed. Moving o–GEOFF! Ok, nevermind, more updates for Lucio (albeit the last three updates don’t come with comments so forgive me if the comments above seem incomplete).
Team-wise, this is going to force players to go slower overall, but faster in short bursts. Fortunately for Lucio mains, his wall-riding will become more viable, so players will be able to wall climb faster than they have in the past.
- Fan the Hammer: Damage reduced from 55 to 50 [per bullet].
- Deadeye: Damage per second increased from 275 to 550 after locking onto targets for 2.5 seconds
- Bonus damage ramp from the previous 1.34 change will now begin after 1.5s, down from 2.5.
“After reducing armor’s effectiveness for all heroes, Fan the Hammer doesn’t need to deal quite as much damage. Increasing Deadeye’s damage after being locked on for a bit makes it more effective when attacking high health, static targets (like barriers) and heroes with over 600 health. It will not impact how dangerous this is for heroes under 600 health.” –Dev Comments
Given that Fan the Hammer is primarily used on tanks/stunned players, does a huge chunk of damage already, and armor damage is getting patched, this will be negligible in the long run. Deadeye, however, is going to be the bane of shields. Brigitte’s and Winston’s shields will be completely gone, Reinhardt’s will take at least a quarter of its health in damage on a full powered Deadeye, and teams will most likely boost it when possible, so this could be one of the biggest meta counters.
Also, thanks to the late additions to this patch, shields are dead faster now. A full second less, to be exact. Deadeye is the most improved ultimate in the game since the original, day one version of Overwatch as a game.
- Endothermic Blaster: Primary fire damage increased from 2.25 to 2.75 (45 to 55 damage per second)
- Ice Wall: Health reduced from 500 to 400
“Increasing the damage of Mei’s primary fire should make her Freeze and Icicle move combination more potent. Making the pillars on Mei’s Ice Wall easier to destroy means less waiting for the wall to disappear on its own and more opportunities to counter it.” –Dev Comments
This offensive-minded change could lead to more Mei gameplay in future matches in efforts to slow speedy characters like Wrecking Ball, but it also means that she is not going to be the same staller she was. 100 health less per pillar is going to rob Mei’s team a precious second or so of regrouping time when she does come out, so teams are going to have to be quicker when regrouping behind her wall now.
- Biotic Grasp: Heal over time duration increased from 3 to 4 seconds
- Total healing increased from 50 to 65
“These minor changes make Moira’s passive healing effect on Biotic Grasp slightly more effective when topping off an ally’s health.” –Dev Comments
Giving Moira a bit more healing to compensate for stretching the time for it out a bit isn’t too big of a change, but it will make her a slightly better pick for GOATS support staff (boo me all you want, you know there’s at least a chuckle in you).
- Fusion Driver: Movement speed penalty while firing reduced from 50% to 30%
“As a defensive tank, Orisa can have trouble pushing forward with the team. Allowing Orisa to move faster while firing should make it easier to apply pressure on the enemy team and use her barrier in proactive ways.” –Dev Comments
Numbani’s protector is going to start being GOATS lead attacker more often with this buff. If teams will stick together when attacking a point, then Orisa could be leading the charge over Reinhardt in the given scenario: Orisa can throw down her Protective Barrier a couple of feet ahead of her, start firing away with the Fusion Driver while going a bit faster, forcing her opponents to either step up and fight or back off. Expect to see a lot of that.
- Rocket Launcher: Minimum explosion damage increased from 16.25 to 20
“This change sets the Rocket Launcher’s minimum damage to where it was before we rebalanced its direct impact and explosive damage in a recent patch.” –Dev Comments
If this was a wider-spread buff then I would say it could have long-reaching impacts on the meta and potentially bring back the popularity of the Phar-Mercy meta, but this is just to the minimum damage. Therefore, the least she can do what it was before they reworked her damage which is still something, just not enough to change the meta.
- Pulse Rifle: [Maximum] Damage increased from 19 to 20
- Sprint: Delay before you can fire the weapon after using Sprint reduced from .5 to .3 seconds
- Tactical Visor: Can target RIP-Tire and Immortality Field
“This change should potentially allow Soldier: 76 to kill an enemy hero one shot sooner. Reducing the time between when you use Sprint and when you can fire should make the ability more fluid and responsive. Giving Tactical Visor the ability to target Junkrat’s RIP-Tire and Baptiste’s Immortality Field drone is a quality of life improvement, since these are both critical targets.” –Dev Comments
Glad to see the devs recognize that 76 needed something to not be left behind by Baptiste. 76’s max damage originally was 20 before a previous patch brought him down to 19, so this can be seen as a remorseful call. Next, the sprint patch is only a slight boost but a boost nonetheless.
Then we get to Tactical Visor, and see that it got a huge buff. Targeting an ult and the Immortality Field are going to be super handy, especially in a GOATS meta (and because of another patch down the line).
- Hack: Cooldown is reduced by half when hacking a health pack
“The cooldown on Hack often made it feel less effective to target health packs instead of players. This will make both health packs and players viable targets for hacking.” –Dev Comments
For a character who can target both players and health packs with a move, this could lead to some interesting 3-2-1 comps where Sombra would be a better complement to other healers.
- Base health increased by 50 armor (250 maximum health)
- Overload: Armor gain reduced from 150 to 100
“Torbjörn’s survivability was a bit low, so we’ve shifted some power from his Overload ability to his base health.” –Dev Comments
Don’t get me wrong, I love my Swedish chef (see below sticker), but the reason why Dafran’s Torb pick earlier this season was so notable was that Torb is a troll pick if anything in OWL. This won’t change anything about that.
- Infra-Sight: Reveals enemy health bars & now canceled on death.
“Infra-Sight had no counter to its effect, so it now ends when Widowmaker dies. To balance out its higher risk of use, Infra-Sight now reveals enemy health bars to Widowmaker’s team.” –Dev Comments
An extra tactical advantage in exchange for needing to protect your Widows? That could work. Seeing your opponent’s health will help teams prioritize targets in team fights while also making teams prioritize protecting and healing their Widowmakers during uptime.
- Adaptive Shield: No longer cancels Roll mode
“This will make Adaptive Shields a more powerful survival tool, since being forced out of Roll mode left Wrecking Ball more susceptible to fire.” –Dev Comments
Holy hell, this is a lot bigger than the sentence to describe it. Wrecking Ball can effectively roll through a group of teammates getting beat up, simultaneously shield them, and then keep rolling into enemy players. This will be huge for GOATS, and pairing it with Orisa’s increased capabilities will lead to a more fluid GOATS meta. I mean, what else is there to cover now?
…right, the extra patches. Ok, outside of Lucio and McCree who have already been covered in their entirety, below are all the new character patches Geoff announced on Wednesday night without any dev notes. Total, 19 heroes will be updated after this patch, which is nearly two-thirds of the entire roster. As the title says, this isn’t your average, everyday patch, it’s…an advanced patch.
- Frag Launcher: Impact damage increased from 40 to 60
This is huge. A direct hit to squishier characters can take out up to over three-quarters of their health, and a full magazine can take down a tank even faster than before. Junkrat is back in a big way, and he is going to be showing up a lot to counter the GOATS.
- Passive: Healing amount reduced from 50% to 40%
Not a major nerf to the biggest tankbuster on the roster, but 10% less health is enough to be taken advantage of in a bad spot. Reaper can still absolutely feed off of a lot of tanks, but tanks will stand a better chance of at least scarring Reaper before he falls.
- Photon Projector: Primary fire damage ramp speed increased by 20%
Even though there has been a pleasant bit of Symmetra in OWL, this won’t affect her pick rate for similar reasons to Torb. To be fair, her teleporter does help team navigation, as the San Francisco Shock showed in Week One, but that was still one of the rare times she will appear in the league.
- Particle Cannon: Alternate fire radius reduced from 2-3 to 1-2 (based on energy level)
This won’t really affect Zarya’s pick rate, but it will force teams to be more precise with their Particle Bombs to maximize damage.
- Orb of Discord: Effect reduced from 30% to 25%
- Orb of Destruction: Damage increased from 46 to 48
Last but not least, Zenyatta himself will only feel the change when attacking non-discorded players, and even then it’s by 10 damage. However, his team will it to a degree because they will have to focus a little bit more on discorded enemies than before this patch.
This is a huge patch, and as such, deserves a behemoth-sized article to cover it all. I know this was a long read, but Stage Two is going to be radically different from Stage One this season because so much is changing from the current version of Overwatch to this version.