Blizzard is at it again. In the recent surprise Overwatch developer update, it wasn’t just BlizzCon that Jeff Kaplan talked about. Another subject also came up and that was the PTR. A series of new buff were mentioned, though Kaplan didn’t go into full detail. That’s all right, however, because the updates are now on the PTR to test. They include tweaks to Reaper, Mercy, Symmetra, and – most notably – Roadhog. So what did they decide to change? Well, the patch notes dropped along with the update and, as is the way of things, several Overwatch content creators took to YouTube to show what they’d done.
The last venture into Overwatch’s PTR introduced a huge number of tweaks to various characters. This included the new Torbjorn rework, as well as the rework of Pharah’s damage distribution. Opinions surrounding Torbjorn’s new kit have been largely positive. Many consider him to be one of the better anti-tank picks, now. And perhaps that was deliberate, seeing as the meta’s seen a rise in GOATS (3 Tank – 3 Support) comps, with massive amounts of HP and AoE healing. It looks, now, like Blizzard aims to shift the meta for Overwatch, yet again. Though it’s also likely the inevitable Hero 29 was also taken into consideration. Whoever it is, they’ll almost certainly be revealed at BlizzCon.
These new buffs are interesting. The Mercy tweak makes her Valkyrie ultimate more powerful, if only slightly. Valkyrie has never been a bad ability, even after Mercy was nerfed to oblivion. Though its value was arguably not as great as most of the other support ultimates in the game, really only edging out Moira’s. But whether this makes Mercy more viable, overall, is another question. Symmetra’s tweak likely exists to incentivize the use of her primary fire. Ever since her rework came through, her secondary fire was the favorable option.
The Reaper tweaks are perhaps the most puzzling. At higher ranks, Reaper seldom shows up outside of Assault maps and the occasional Control scenario. This is largely because nearly every hero required to counter him is high-skill. So the Reaper buff makes him more dangerous by tightening his damage up close. Meaning he could appear in lower ranks even more than he already does. Reaper thrives as an anti-tank hero, which makes for even more proof that Blizzard is trying to quash GOATS comps. But time will tell whether or not it was ultimately necessary. Even the newest tank, Wreckingball, is afraid of him.
The biggest change to Overwatch comes from Roadhog, however. At a glance, these tweaks aren’t much. Roadhog recently went through some bug fixes that arguably nerfed him in a big way. What’s more, Roadhog isn’t a conventional tank. He doesn’t have a real protective ability. He’s all-in on damage and punish. Making his hook more reliable without turning it back into the “Hook through time and space” from 1.0 is good. But the real boon was to his damage. Tightening his weapon spread and reducing his Ultimate’s recoil makes Roadhog far more devastating. Especially to squishy flanker targets like Tracer. But will this be enough to return Roadhog to a reasonably good place? With threats like Brigitte and this new Reaper buff, only time will tell.
What are your thoughts on these Overwatch hero changes? Let us know in the comments below!