Daron Scott
Daron Scott
Daron is an esports fanatic and Overwatch expert. He is currently a tank coach and player scout. Daron has previously worked as an esports journalist with TheGameHaus. Daron has 13 years of coaching, community management, and business development experience.

Overwatch: Huge Nerfs In Experimental Patch

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GOATS Meta nerfs are finally on Experimental.


We can’t pretend it doesn’t exist anymore, Blizzard attacks power creep.

Monday, August 24 will go down as the day Blizzard officially made changes to the ever-rising power level of Overwatch. Released in May of 2016, heroes were consistently and even aggressively buffed over the esports title’s lifespan. During the GOATS (triple tank and triple support) Meta many of the damage heroes were buffed. This attempt by Blizzard served to make them more statistically valuable than the current composition, which dominated the Overwatch League and Top 500 ladder for over a year.

While Wrecking Ball accompanied by three damage heroes and two supports showed to be potent, it was clear something needed to be done about GOATS. Role Lock eventually fixed a problem that couldn’t be addressed with math. Heroes have been added and buffed since then but across the community, a reversion to the GOATS buffs for damage heroes was in high-order. Before we cover the potential changes, please remember that most of the adjustments below are turning back time on the affected heroes.

Community Manager Molly Fender provides context to scary changes.

General changes

Armor

  • Beam-type damage reduction against Armor health pop

The lethality of beam weapons has decreased with this change. Zarya, Moira, Mei, Symmetra, and Winston are all going to see a drop in their overall power and ultimate charge rates. Echo is unaffected since Focusing Beam sees value at 50 percent or less of her target’s health.

Tinkering with Tanks

Orisa

  • Halt! radius increased from 4 to 5
  • Halt! projectile speed reduced from 30 to 25

Zarya

  • Particle Cannon ammo cost increased from 20 to 25

Breakdown

Orisa’s Halt is similar to Ana’s Biotic Grenade in once way, it’s a cooldown ability that has the same impact as an ultimate ability. Halt functions much like a makeshift Gravtion Surge but the recent change in radius from 7 to 3 made the green orb useless. Reinhardt shrugged it off the quick little ball and environmental kills were off the table. Increasing the radius by one is enough to grant environmental kills again and slowing the projectile speed doesn’t require a galaxy brain to time.

Zarya, on the other hand, was double nerfed in this experiment. Not only was beam damage made less effective against armor, but the Particle Cannon also lost some ammo efficiency. The current meta in ranked consists of tanks that do damage, think Roadhog & Zarya, so how these changes shake things up is yet to be seen.

Depowering the Damage Role

Ashe

  • The Viper max ammo reduced from 15 to 12
  • The Viper aim-down sights damage reduced from 85 to 80

Junkrat

  • Frag Launcher impact damage reduced from 50 to 40 (Total 130 to 120)

McCree

  • Peacekeeper recovery increased from 0.42 to 0.50

Pharah

  • Rocket Launcher recovery increased from 0.75 to 0.85

Symmetra

  • Photon Projector secondary fire max damage reduced from 140 to 120

Widowmaker

  • Widow’s Kiss max ammo increased from 30 to 35
  • Widow’s Kiss scoped ammo cost increased from 3 to 5
  • Widow’s Kiss scoped shots now have up to 50% damage falloff from 60-85 meters

Breakdown

It may look on paper like the Damage category was stripped of its teeth but that’s not true. Ashe was mediocre at best upon her release and received a string of buffs to make her viable.

In the current state of Overwatch, Ashe is the best hitscan hero in the game. Her amazing uptime, damage, and ultimate (B.O.B.) make her the cornerstone for many double shield compositions. McCree’s fire rate increase shocked a lot of people at first, essentially giving the high-nooner a machine gun by comparison to before. Increasing the recovery time adds more value to his shots, forcing the user to develop a better shot rhythm. Flashbang follow-up for many will be a fan the hammer ss the timing for both headshots requires the steadiest of hands.

Pro (OWL and Contender’s) Widow players have been asking Blizzard to nerf the spider for some time. At the highest levels, Overwatch becomes a game of hide-n-seek when the meta favors Widowmaker. The extra bullets in the chamber are only there to facilitate the inflation of her ammo consumption. Expect to only get 7 charged shots, down from 10. The damage drop-off might seem harsh but that only impacts a handful of maps, Widow should become more niche but less oppressive on maps where people ignore her range limits.

Junkrat, Pharah, and Symmetra were all brought in line and for slightly different reasons. Junkrat was doing considerably too much damage when you factor in the multiple nerfs to shielding and tank sustainability in recent months. Pharah had a fire rate increase to handle the clumped up comps of the past but there’s no reason to keep her superpowered if all of her counters have been limited in one way or another. Symmetra, like Pharah, just saw some changes on the last update and Blizzard wasn’t done yet. Her damage is now in parity with Junkrat and Pharah so spam damage has to be placed with more consideration and forethought. These damage changes buff to tanks since moving forward or making a mistake won’t delete you from a match.

Sustain Suffers Setbacks

Ana

  • Biotic Rifle ammo reduced from 14 to 12

Baptiste

  • Biotic Launcher grenade ammo reduced from 12 to 10
  • Regenerative Burst total healing reduced from 150 to 75
  • Baptiste now receives twice as much healing from Regenerative Burst

Moira

  • Biotic Grasp lingering heal reduced from 4 seconds to 2 seconds (Total healing from 65 down to 35)
  • Biotic Grasp healing per second increased from 65 to 70
  • Biotic Grasp healing resource consumption rate increased from 11 to 14 (27%)
  • Biotic Grasp attach angle reduced by 37%
  • Biotic Grasp healing resource gain rate increased by 50%

Breakdown

Ana’s magazine has changed a few times since her inception and 12 is a good spot. She won’t farm nano as quickly and spamming shots down the choke might not be the play for most players. The Overwatch team wants to make Moira more skillful and has tested changes in past experimental patches. Demanding slightly more aim for Biotic Grasp and turning Moira into a better burst healer tilts the scale in that direction. Supports need to manage her resource better and proactively find value in her Biotic Orbs to see success. Baptiste rounds out the main healers in this blow to upkeep. The combat medic mains have to hit their shots and find a better ratio of damage to healing.

If incoming damage gets nerfed then healing does too. The least way to engage damage players is to create truly immortal teams on both sides of a fight. No longer can teams remain healed to maximum endlessly while benefiting from immortality and resurrection. More choice on the part of the player raises the skill ceiling of the entire community. If this patch publishes as-is Overwatch will be better off for it.

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