Overwatch: New Hero, Ana Amari, and a Host of Balance Changes, Now Live

Overwatch now has its first new hero since the game came out, Ana Amari, mother of Pharah, and the most supportive sniper you’re likely to encounter. Oh, and D.Va and Zenyatta received some love on the balance end, and competitive is now limited to one of each hero – goodbye stacking. Overtime also saw some slight adjustments to make it more difficult for games to hang in perpetual Overtime.

The patch is now live on PC, and should be live on consoles sooner rather than later.

Unlike most snipers in games these days, Ana focuses more on supporting and healing her team than getting ridiculous headshot crits. She can still damage enemies, but only for a modest amount of damage. She can’t headshot, though, and the damage she inflicts to enemy is dot-based. It’s a pretty interesting design for a character, and shows that Blizzard is willing to go some in some unique directions.

Her kit also features a grenade that heals allies and damage enemies as well as boosting healing and blocking healing, respectively. Her other ability puts an enemy to sleep for up to six seconds, perfect for getting a threat off your butt, or interrupting a dangerous ultimate about to drop.

Ana’s ultimate, Nano Boost, buffs a friendly target, increasing damage done as well as granting increased speed and decreasing damage taken. Prefect for combining with an offensive ultimate, such as Soldier 76’s Tactical Visor or Genji’s Dragonblade. Or just boost a Symmetra and have her left click down the entire team. Nano Boost is also great for supporting a tank as you’re trying to push into an objective. Overall it’s a really powerful and versatile ability.

As for the balance changes. D.Va’s Defense Matrix received a rework. It can now be used basically whenever you’d need it, and works off a fuel bank instead of a flat cooldown. The change does wonders for her survivability. A good D.Va will now be able to negate just about any ultimate you throw at her. On top of that, her ultimate charges more quickly, detonates a second sooner, and can no longer kill the D.Va that casted it. She’s now super-viable, and only time will tell if she’s not perhaps too viable.

Zenyatta also received a heap of love this patch. He now has 50 more health in the form of shields. The projectile speed of his orbs has been increased dramatically, and though his primary attack does less damage, his alternate fire does more. His ultimate, Transcendence, now heals for more, and boosts Zenyatta’s movement speed while active. It’s pretty hilarious to watch a Zenyatta zip around the map while glowing gold. He’s definitely much better now, and will definitely see a lot more play, but none of his changes have the wow factor that D.Va’s new Defense Matrix gave.

Other than that, a few of the other heroes received tweaks here and there. McCree does more damage at longer range but less at more extreme ones. Blizzard seems to be cementing his role as a mid-ranged sniper. They’ve been taking the focus away from his Fan the Hammer and putting it on his primary attacks. Now whenever you see a McCree hiding around a corner waiting to flashbang someone, you can be confident that he is, in fact, playing the character wrong.

Roadhog’s ultimate now charges more slowly, but he – and every other hero – receives charge for self-heals. So while Whole Hog will definitely charge more slowly, it won’t be as slow as the 45% nerf implies. Lucio, Soldier 76, and Bastion all had their ultimate charge-rate increased by 10%, a slight nerf that will hopefully keep those from being spammed as often as they are.

Mercy also saw some adjustments, primarily to her ultimate. It now charges 30% more slowly, but it no longer stops her from moving while she casts it and it resets the cooldown on Guardian Angel when used. So now Mercy can zip in, pop a rez, and then zip back out. I still think Mercy’s ultimate is one of the most powerful in the game, and for good reason. Most team fights at a competitive level come down to “hunt down and murder Mercy before you bother killing anyone else.”

It’ll be interesting to watch how the meta will shift in the coming days and weeks thanks to the patch. If Zenyatta starts seeing more play, then tanks will start dying faster thanks to Orb of Discord, which means it might not be smart to run three of them. The lack of hero stacking will cancel out some of the cheesier strategies mean to abuse Overtime, which itself received a slight nerf.

The patch has some nice changes, and there’s even more nifty stuff on the way. Blizzard’s pretty close to finishing a new map, and there are more skins scheduled to come out sometime this summer, and in September, Season 2 of Competitive should begin, which will bring with it the removal of the coin flip and sudden death.

Till then, go have some fun with Ana.

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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