Hero Stacking Nixed in Latest Overwatch PTR

Overwatch has a new patch up on the PTR, and though Ana is easily the highlight, there are plenty of other interesting changes coming as well.

Perhaps the biggest change (other than the addition of a new hero) is the fact that now in competitive play, teams will be limited to one hero. For basically the entire life of Overwatch, Blizzard has been saying that hero stacking was part of the core design of the game. But now that the game has been in the hands of players for the last month and a half, stacking proved to be too disruptive at certain times. So I guess it had to go.

Overtime is also being adjusted – finally. The mechanic has been so easy to exploit for so long (partly due to hero stacking). Three tracers can keep a point contested for an undue amount of time. Now, though, the Overtime timer will start to expire much faster after twenty seconds, and while the game is stuck in Overtime, players will respawn 2 seconds slower. I like the mechanic, but games have a tendency to hang in Overtime for way too long. This will help a bit; hopefully it will help enough, but I’m not entirely convinced.

This patch also has the prestige of being Overwatch’s largest balance update so far. The Zenyatta and D.Va buffs that were mentioned right after the game came out are here, and so are a few other unexpected ones. Affecting a lot of heroes is that self-heals now charge your ult. This is pretty big for Roadhog, since his heals for a great amount. They even nerfed his ultimate charge rate to account for this self-healing buff.

D.Va’s Defense Matrix received a complete rework. Instead of being an ability with a set duration (that can be cancelled) and a set cooldown, it’s now only active as long as the button is held down and depletes a meter in the process. Defense Matrix will last up to four seconds, and if the meter is completely depleted, it’ll take ten seconds to fully recharge. But you can, however, continue to Defense Matrix as the meter fills instead of having to wait for it to reach full capacity. The ability is ridiculous now, and will make D.Va much harder to take out. In a way, it also solves the issue of her headshot box being far too vulnerable. Now, you’re almost forced to attack D.Va from behind, or Defense Matrix will just make your job ridiculously hard.

On top of that, D.Va’s Self-Destruct ultimate also saw some buffs. It costs 15% less charge, and the explosion delay is now 3 seconds instead of 4, and, it will no longer kill the D.Va in the process if she’s caught in the blast. That one second surprisingly makes it a lot harder to avoid, and now D.Va can run around and pistol everybody while they’re trying to avoid her ult.

Zenyatta also saw the biggest buffs. He’s got 50 more shields, giving him 200 effective health, his orbs now fly out to their targets much faster, and he’s twice as fast while he’s casting his ultimate, Transcendence, which heals for 300 instead of 200. His ultimate will now pretty much counter any source of sustained damage in the game, but any ultimate that one shots will still be a threat, such as Junkrat’s Rip-Tire, or D.Va’s (now much more powerful) Self-Destruct. Zenyatta didn’t get any major reworks or anything, just the right amount of buffs to make him viable.

Mercy also saw some adjustment. Her resurrect now charges a little more slowly, but she’s no longer as vulnerable when she uses it. Resurrect is such a key ultimate in the game, and in a lot cases it can win you some ridiculous games. Its nerf has been a long time coming, but I don’t know if this is really enough. Her damage boost is also changing from a 30% modifier to a 50% modifier. Now her pistol won’t be her biggest source of damage. In all likelihood, Mercy’s will only pull out their pistol in self-defense, rather than going full Rambo mode. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mercy’s Resurrect sees even more adjustment in the future.

Of course, all of these changes might change further as the PTR progresses, but I feel like most of these changes are in a pretty comfortable spot, so this isn’t likely to be one of those two month long PTRs. If I had to guess, these changes (as well as Ana) should be live in Overwatch by the end of the month.

About Josh Price

Josh Price is a writer who probably spends too many hours of the day playing video games. At some point he decided to put the two together to (hopefully) great effect. He also wrote some fiction. You should check that out if you're into such things, which you should be. Reading is FUNdamental.

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