Overwatch is a game that’s constantly shifting. The most recent patch added the much anticipated Looking For Group (LFG) System. But it also introduced the world to the massive rework of Symmetra. The hero’s entire kit received a rework. She no longer has a moving projected barrier. She’s down to three turrets, but they can be thrown and are harder to destroy. She has a new ultimate, her main gun no longer locks on, and her secondary fire is completely different. But Symmetra’s rework wasn’t the last major shift to the balance of the game. On top of the new hero, Hammond, the latest update to the Overwatch PTR introduced a ton of major hero changes.
One of the biggest alterations is the buff to ranged characters. Characters such as Soldier 76 and McCree are considered to be medium-range DPS. They function best at midling distance from the action. Too close and accuracy becomes a problem. Too far, however, and they suffer from damage falloff. The latest change reduces that falloff, however, meaning that long-range shots are now only cut down to 50% power, as opposed to the previous 30%. This is a net buff that drastically increases the viability of these characters, especially against the likes of Pharah, who is a dominant force in the metagame, at the moment.
On the projectile heroes, Mei and Hanzo both got some pretty significant changes in opposite directions. Mei received a buff in which her secondary fire no longer deals with falloff damage at all. Previously, she was the only projectile hero in the game who had to deal with falloff at all. Now, however, she’s far more viable at long-range, letting her compete with snipers. Most people forget that Mei’s secondary fire does a fair chunk of damage. Many players likely suffer from night terrors of Mei as she freezes them in place and unloads an icicle into their skull as they helpless watch.
As for Hanzo, his recent rework proved to be a bit too strong for some players. His damage output was, simply put, far too good. So his Storm Arrow ability was nerfed, reducing its up-time and increasing its cooldown. This also has the effect of nerfing his ultimate. Because he’ll now do less damage, his ultimate will be available far less often. Though it isn’t likely to change the current “win button” in the meta of the “Grav-Strike/Space-Dragon” combo, using Hanzo’s ultimate to follow-up on Zarya’s. Hanzo’s current place in the metagame isn’t likely to change much, if at all.
However, the most significant change, by far, was to Sombra. The Overwatch devs have been trying to fine-tune the character since she was released. And her presence in the game has constantly been the point of debate among the pros. Sombra is an incredibly powerful hero when in the right hands and on a team that is coordinating with her. However, she’s terrible when the teams are uncommunicative. She has a very low damage output, but her abilities are massively disruptive (some would argue too disruptive, given her hack’s ability to even shut off all passives except those of life-steal heroes like Moira, Reaper, and Brigitte). Previously they required very acute timing to get the maximum value out of them. Now, however, this may not be the case.
If the current Overwatch PTR patch goes through, Sombra will now have infinite Stealth and Translocator. This comes with a few debuffs to these abilities, however. Stealth can now be detected from farther away and the speed increase was reduced from 75% to 50%, meaning Sombra players do have to be a bit more careful when in stealth. The translocator can also be destroyed now, both by Sombra, herself, and by enemies. Despite this seeming like a buff, however, there are some who dispute this, believing it won’t ultimately change how Sombra is played. But it’s still a major alteration to her kit and one that it will be interesting to see put in action by seasoned pros at the game – especially those who main the character.