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Everything You Need to Know About the Return of the Overwatch Beta

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Blue posts, patch notes, blogs, screenshots, videos, tweets... We have rounded up all the important details on the Overwatch Beta!

 

Jeff Kaplan already gave us a glimpse of the most exciting new features in the Beta. Now, it's time to break down each and every one of them - starting with the patch notes!

 

Patch Notes

 

The new Beta patch is almost 5 GB big, so it's natural that the patch notes are equally massive. It took six posts in a single thread for all of them. Click below to view the patch notes - if you dare:

 

Blizzard Icon Blizzard Entertainment

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A new beta patch is now live. Read below to learn about the latest changes.

To share your feedback, please post in the Beta Feedback forum.
For a list of known issues, visit our Beta Bug Report forum.

Please note that some changes may not be documented or described in full detail.

 

PATCH FEATURES



New Game Mode: Control
In this update, we’re introducing a brand new game mode: Control. On Control maps, two teams fight over a series of objective areas in a best-of-three format. When a team is in control of the round’s objective area, they will make progress toward capturing it, and whichever team gets to 100% first wins the round. Each round (up to 3 total) will feature a new objective area located in a different part of the map.

Two Control maps are currently available for testing: Lijiang Tower and Nepal.

New Control Map: Lijiang Tower
Lijiang Tower was built in the heart of a modern Chinese metropolis, its busy streets lined with stores, gardens, restaurants, and famous night markets, where foods from around the region are available at all hours. The tower itself is home to one of the leading companies in China’s state-of-the-art space industry, Lucheng Interstellar, an organization with a long pioneering history that is currently pushing the boundaries of space exploration.

New Control Map: Nepal
Years ago, a group of omnic robots experienced what they described as a spiritual awakening. They abandoned their preprogrammed lives to establish a monastery high in the Himalayas of Nepal, where like-minded omnics could gather to meditate on the nature of their existence. Led by their spiritual leader, Tekhartha Mondatta, they took over the ruins of an ancient monastery and turned it into the home of the Shambali, a place where omnics and humans alike make pilgrimages in the hopes of finding a greater truth.

New Play Mode: Play vs. AI
No interest in playing against humans? No problem! Players can now team up and battle against A.I.-controlled characters in our new, aptly named mode: Play vs A.I.

To join a Play vs. A.I. game, select "Play" from the main menu and then select "Play vs. A.I." You can queue up solo or in a party, and you’ll be matched into a 6 player vs. 6 A.I. game.

New Feature: Player Progression
While we strongly believe that playing Overwatch should feel exciting and rewarding on its own, we also know how fun it can be to work toward long-term goals. To this end, and as a way to thank you for your time invested, we’ve added a brand new progression system to the game.

Progression in Overwatch is built around earning experience and leveling up your account. Moving forward, you will now gain experience by completing Quick Play and Play vs. A.I. games. Earn enough experience, and you’ll level up. Level up and you'll receive a Loot Box!

Loot Boxes contain a random selection of items that can be used to customize the look of your hero and express yourself in-game, including skins, animations, emotes, custom dialogue options, sprays, and more. In addition to collecting these items from Loot Boxes, players can also unlock them by spending a new in-game currency called credits.

Players can customize their heroes, view items they’ve unlocked, and spend credits to unlock new items in the Hero Gallery.

To learn more about player progression, click here.

 

GENERAL:



Private Games
  • Private Game has been changed to Custom Game
  • Players can now right click on a friend’s name to join their Custom Game
  • Players can now alter the following rules for a Custom Game:
    • Map Options:
      • Map Rotation (Random, List Order, and Single Map)
      • Return to Lobby (Never, After a Game, After a Mirror Match)
      • Players can now customize which maps are enabled for their Custom Game
    • Hero Options
      • Hero Selection Limit (None, 1 Per Team, 2 Per Team, 1 Per Game, 2 Per Game)
      • Role Selection Limit (None, 2 of Each Role Per Team)
      • Allow Hero Switching (On, Off)
      • Respawn as Random Hero (On, Off)
      • Player can now customize which heroes are enabled for their Custom Game
    • Gameplay Options:
      • Players can now set their Custom Game as a skirmish
      • Players can now set modifiers for the following stats: Health, Damage, Healing, Ultimate Charge Rate, Respawn Time, Ability Cooldown
      • Players can now enable or disable the following options: Skins, Health Bars, Kill Cam, Kill Feed, Headshots Only
    • Team Options:
      • Team Balancing (Automatic, Off)
      • When Balancing Occurs (After a Game, After a Mirror Match)
  • Custom Game A.I. options have been improved:
    • Players can now add friendly A.I. to their team
    • Players can now select which A.I. they want to play against
    • Players can now set the difficulty of each A.I. in the game
    • A.I. can now play in all game modes
  • Several small quality-of-life changes have been made to Custom Game spectating
    • Scrolling the Mouse Wheel will now zoom you in and out of third-person view
    • When spectating in third-person, right-clicking will now detach the camera at its current location
    • The third-person camera will now orient based on where the spectated player is aiming

 

Miscellaneous

  • A new work-in-progress Training mode has been added: the Practice Range
  • A new work-in-progress profile system has been added (under “Career Profile”)
  • Initial support for AMD Crossfire and NVIDIA SLI has been added
  • Jeff Kaplan’s beard progression has been reset

 

HERO BALANCE CHANGES:



General
  • All healing effects now work on shields
  • Quick Melee now pauses weapon recovery time while active
  • Ammo will now reload in the middle of a weapon’s reload animation, instead of at the end of it
  • Several adjustments have been made to in-combat visual effects:
    • Enemy team ability colors should now be more clear
    • Muzzle flash has been re-tuned for several weapons
  • Several adjustments have been made to in-combat audio:
    • It should now be more obvious when you are being healed by indirect healing sources like the payload or Lúcio’s Crossfade ability
    • It should now be more obvious when you are attacking invulnerable players
    • Explosions at a distance should now be more audible

 

Ultimate Charge (All Heroes)

  • Players no longer gain Ultimate charge from taking damage
  • Ultimate charge will now generate slowly over time for all heroes
  • To accommodate for these changes, many heroes’ Ultimate cost has been rebalanced

 

Developer comments: Allowing heroes to generate Ultimate charge when taking damage created several balance issues. For example, it was often a bad idea to attack an enemy hero if they were being healed, since that would charge up the enemy’s Ultimate and their healer’s Ultimate much more quickly. To help address these issues, we’ve removed the ability for damage taken to generate Ultimate charge and made it so that all heroes will now generate Ultimate charge at a slow and constant rate.

Bastion

  • Base health increased by 50 armor (now 200 HP/100 Armor)
  • Configuration: Recon
    • Minimum weapon spread has been removed
    • Maximum weapon spread increased by 10%
    • Weapon spread will now start to recover more quickly
  • Configuration: Sentry
    • Transforming from Sentry to Recon decreased from 1 second to 0.5 seconds
    • Aim restrictions have been removed (Bastion can now aim in 360 degrees)
    • Weapon spread decreased by 20%
    • Weapon reload speed decreased from 2.5 seconds to 2 seconds
    • Bullet damage decreased by 33%
    • Bastion’s survivability in Sentry Mode has been rebalanced:
      • Now grants 300 armor
      • Frontal barrier has been removed
      • Bastion’s core is now exposed when deployed in Sentry mode, located on its back. All successful attacks to the core will deal triple damage.
  • Self-Repair:
    • Now heals 25% of total health per second, instead of a flat value

Developer comments: While we love the way that Bastion can turn the tide of battle, the hero felt too powerful against less experienced players and too weak against more experienced players. The goal of these changes is to make Bastion more viable at all skill levels, as well as provide more flexibility in how the hero can be played and supported by a team.

D.Va

  • When D.Va’s mech is destroyed due to damage taken, it will now despawn immediately instead of a few seconds after D.Va is ejected
  • Defense Matrix
    • Size decreased by approximately 50%
    • Shape changes to be more cylindrical than conical

Developer comments: Previously, D.Va could become a problem when there were multiple people playing her in a game, especially when they were crowded around a small capture point or escort objective. Between the size of her Defense Matrix and the fact that her destroyed mech could be used to block line of sight, she was often simply too difficult to kill. These changes are designed to reduce her overall defensive footprint and give players more ways to counter her.

Hanzo

  • Scatter Arrow
    • Now has a fixed spread pattern
  • Sonic Arrow
    • Can now stick to and move along with enemy targets and barriers
  • Dragonstrike
    • Hanzo can now turn while using Dragonstrike

Developer comments: These quality-of-life changes are intended to make some of Hanzo’s abilities work a little more intuitively.

Mercy

  •     Guardian Angel
    • Can now target the souls of dead allies
  •     Resurrect
    • Ultimate charge cost decreased by 25%
    • Activation time decreased from 1.5 seconds to 1 second
    • Range decreased from 40 meters to 15 meters
    • No longer locks aim during activation

 

Developer comments: Mercy is a very strong support hero with a very strong Ultimate, so it’s no surprise that many teams consider her mandatory. We don’t want any hero—or any hero ability—to feel like an “auto pick.” Our goal with these changes is to tone down Resurrect by allowing opponents to counter it, but still make sure it can feel game-changing.

Pharah

  • Jet Pack
    • Will no longer refuel while Pharah is sliding on an un-walkable surface

Developer comments: Players discovered a way to make Pharah hover indefinitely across some surfaces. While we initially allowed this neat trick to persist, it ultimately proved detrimental to map balance, so it needed to go.

Reinhardt

  • Earthshatter
    • Damage decreased by 50%
    • Cone width decreased by 40%
    • Reinhardt can now turn while using Earthshatter
    • Now renders Reinhardt immune to Zarya’s Graviton Surge
      • If Reinhardt activates Earthshatter while trapped inside a Graviton Surge, he will now be dropped to the ground and the ability will activate at that point (rather than it activating in mid-air)

Developer comments: Ideally, players should be using Earthshatter as a setup move for their team. However, this ability was doing so much damage that Reinhardt could use it as a setup and finishing move, eliminating multiple enemy heroes without much assistance. These changes are intended to bring Earthshatter more in line with other heroes’ Ultimates, while still allowing Reinhardt to be the big playmaker he has been.

Roadhog

  • Chain Hook
    • Stun duration after being hooked has been slightly increased

Developer comments: It’s always been intended that, after successfully hooking a target, Roadhog would have a chance to act before his target recovered; however, there were some situations in which this wasn’t happening, particularly at higher latencies. We’ve slightly increased the stun duration following Chain Hook to compensate.

Soldier: 76

  • Heavy Pulse Rifle
    • New reticle added
    • Long-range damage falloff added
    • Spread recovery now begins instantly, instead of after a delay
    • Spread now has a curve, which makes it more accurate at the start but then quickly becomes less accurate

Developer comments: These changes are aimed at making Soldier:76’s weapon feel better when firing, as well as provide more experienced players the opportunity to gain accuracy at longer ranges (via burst-firing). To ensure that Soldier: 76 doesn’t become too powerful as sniper, however, we also added some long-range damage falloff to compensate.

Symmetra

  • Symmetra’s turrets will no longer generate Ultimate charge when dealing damage to barriers
  • Teleporter
    • Ultimate cost reduced by 40%
    • Symmetra no longer gains Ultimate charge while her Teleporter is active

Developer comments: These changes have two primary goals. First, we want it to be easier for Symmetra to get her first Teleporter up. Second, we want to eliminate those frustrating situations where Symmetra is able to immediately deploy another Teleporter as soon as it’s found and destroyed by an enemy team.

Torbjörn

  • Torbjörn’s turrets will no longer generate Ultimate charge when dealing damage to barriers
  • Scrap
    • Maximum Scrap increased from 100 to 200
    • Amount of Scrap per pickup decreased from 30 to 20
    • Indicators have been added to help players locate Scrap more easily
  • Rivet Gun
    • Primary Fire
      • Damage increased by 25%
      • Fire rate decreased by 20%
    • Alternate Fire
      • Damage increased by 50%
      • Damage falloff increased at minimum range
      • Fire rate decreased by 33%
      • Now shoots projectiles that need to be aimed
  • Build Turret
    • Upgrading the turret no longer costs Scrap and occurs more quickly
    • Level 1
      •  Damage increased by 15%
      •  Health decreased from 250 to 150
    • Level 2
      • Damage increased by 15%
      • Health decreased from 425 to 300
      • Can no longer be upgraded to level 3 with Forge Hammer (see Molten Core changes below)
    • Level 3
      • Bullet damage increased by 15%
      • Bullet fire rate increased by 25%
      • Rocket Launcher damage decreased by 50% but now fires in bursts of 4
      • Rocket Launcher fire rate decreased by 33%
      • Rocket Launcher explosion radius decreased by 40%
      • Rockets no longer cause knockback
      • Health increased from 600 to 800
  • Armor Pack
    • Cooldown has been removed
    • Armor granted increased from 50 to 75
    • Packs are no longer visible to enemies
  • Molten Core
    • No longer fills Scrap meter
    • No longer makes abilities cost 0 Scrap
    • Can now be activated while moving
    • Now automatically upgrades level 2 turrets to level 3 turrets while Molten Core is running (turrets will revert back to level 2 once Molten Core ends)

Developer comments: Similar to Bastion, Torbjörn was a hero that often felt too powerful against less-experienced players, but underwhelming against more experienced players. In particular, we found that less-experienced players had a difficult time figuring out how to deal with Torbjörn’s level 3 turret. On the flipside, more experienced players could easily prevent Torbjörn from setting up a level 3 turret or otherwise getting too established, which in turn made him feel helpless. To help solve these issues, we’re making his Rivet Gun stronger; improving the damage output of his level 1 and level 2 turrets, but reducing their health; and linking his Level 3 turret to his Ultimate, Molten Core (thus limiting its duration).

 

USER INTERFACE:



General
  • The game's Main, Social, and Options menus have been redesigned

 

Game Options

  • Gameplay
    • An "Always Skip Kill Cam" option has been added
    • A "Kill Feed Display" option has been added
  • Sound
    • Volume sliders have been added for Music, Sound Effects, and Voice Chat

 

In-Game UI

  • Scoreboard
    •  Scoreboard statistics have been reworked for all heroes

Social Features

  • Commendations
    • New commendations have been added for several heroes
    • Players can no longer receive more than one commendation during end-of-round voting
  • Voice Chat
    • An on-screen notification will now appear when players are speaking in other channels

 

BUG FIXES:



General
  • Having a controller connected no longer prevents menu navigation
  • Made improvements to how the game handles widow creation and transitions between Fullscreen and Windowed modes

 

Maps

  • Performance improvements have been made for all maps (most significantly on Numbani)
  • Player collision improvements have been made across all maps

Heroes

  • Interrupting Hanzo’s bow draw should no longer prevent the bow from being re-drawn if Mouse Button 1 is still held down
  • Junkrat’s RIP-Tire should no longer fall through sloped surfaces
  • Reinhardt’s Fire Strike damage can no longer be calculated as a headshot against an enemy player

(source)

 

Player Progression Preview

 

The new progression system got its own dedicated blog post.

 

Blizzard Icon Blizzard Entertainment

+ Show

At its core, we've designed Overwatch to be a game that's exciting and satisfying to play on its own. However, we also know how fun it can be to work toward long-term goals and be rewarded for the time and effort you've put into playing.

To this end, we've added a brand-new player progression system to the game, which gives you the ability to earn levels and unlock loot to customize the appearance, sounds, and other cosmetic aspects of your heroes—and it's available to check out right now in Phase 2 of our Closed Beta test.

Read on to learn more about how this system works, and be sure to check out our beta patch notes for all the latest changes!

 

EXPERIENCE AND LEVELS



Progression in Overwatch is based on earning experience and leveling up your account.

Currently, you can gain experience by completing Quick Play and Play vs A.I. games. The amount of experience you earn will be determined by a variety of factors including overall participation, whether or not your team won, what medals and commendations you received, and more. Quick Play games will also award more experience than Play vs A.I. games to account for the difference in difficulty between the two modes.

 

giphy.gif

 

It doesn't matter which hero you play, as experience is earned on an account-wide level. Earn enough experience, and you'll level up. Level up and you'll receive a Loot Box!

LOOT BOXES



Each Loot Box contains four random items that can be used to customize the appearance of your heroes and personalize the way you express yourself in-game. Items come in common, rare, epic, and legendary quality levels, and every Loot Box includes at least one rare quality or better item.

K1PUZ1K5GRE71455048007291.jpg

To open a Loot Box, either navigate to the main menu and click the "Loot Box" option, or bring up the Escape menu (default: ESC) and click the bright orange "Open Loot Box" button. You can open one Loot Box at a time, and you'll have a chance to preview or equip your new items before moving on to the next Loot Box.

 

giphy.gif

In Overwatch (as in many Blizzard games), different colors are associated with different item qualities.   Blue is rare, purple is epic, and orange is legendary. These colors will appear in several locations throughout the game—even unopened Loot Boxes will glow in a color corresponding to what items are inside.
 

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Hundreds of different items are available from Loot Boxes, including player icons, skins, emotes, sprays, voice lines, victory poses, and highlight intros, as well as credits that you can spend to unlock items of your choice.

 

  • Player Icons – Customize your player profile with an icon reflecting your favorite character, ability, Blizzard game, and more.
  • Skins – Dress for success with new looks for all 21 heroes, including rare color variations and legendary skins such as Safari Winston or Punk Tracer.
  • Emotes – Taunt your enemies and cheer on your allies with a series of new in-game emotes.  
  • Sprays – Make your mark on the battlefield with graffiti-like sprays based on heroes, maps, logos, and more (default: T).
  • Voice Lines –  Chat up your fellow players variety of new voice lines available through the communications wheel (default: C).
  • Victory Poses – Strike a pose and tailor how your hero appears in your team’s photo finish.
  • Highlight Intros – Add a little flair to your Plays of the Game with special animated introductions for each hero.

If a Loot Box contains an item that is already in your collection, you will instead receive credits, a new in-game currency that can be spent in the Hero Gallery to unlock items you don't already own (see below for more information). Credits can also be earned randomly from Loot Boxes—the higher the quality of the box, the more credits you’ll receive.

 

giphy.gif

It’s important to note that all of these items are purely cosmetic, which means they won't provide any additional player power. They will, however, give you a plethora of ways to express yourself within the world of Overwatch. Enjoy the default settings or mix-and-match—the choice is yours!

 

HERO GALLERY



Players can customize their heroes, view items they’ve unlocked, and spend credits to unlock new items in the Hero Gallery.

4D0DPHAM0RJU1455038415559.jpg

To access the Hero Gallery, navigate to the game's main menu and click on Hero Gallery. From the gallery, you can select the hero you'd like to customize, and then see all of the skins, emotes, victory poses, voice lines, sprays, and highlight intros available for that hero. Equip an item you want to use from your collection, or click the "Unlock" button to spend credits and unlock that skin or spray you've been eyeing.

Note: Items unlocked with credits cannot be refunded, so spend them wisely!

 

giphy.gif

Eventually, player icons will also be able to be managed and unlocked through the Hero Gallery, but for now any adjustments to your selected icon must be done through the Career Profile > Player Icons page.

 

AND THAT'S JUST THE BEGINNING...



Please note that this system is still a work in progress, and many features and functionality may change before the game is released.

For example: In the Closed Beta right now, Loot Boxes can only be earned by leveling up your account, though we also intend for players to be able to purchase them with real money once the game is live. We'll share more details in the weeks ahead, including pricing information and how Loot Box purchasing will work, so stay tuned.

 

The development of player progression in Overwatch has been a labor of love, and we'd love to hear your feedback on the system—from the frequency and variety of unlocks to how player levels are displayed. Let us know what you think by posting in our Beta Feedback forum, creating a new discussion on Reddit, or sending a tweet to @PlayOverwatch.

We look forward to seeing how you use your loot to change the face of battle!

(source)

 

Videos for the Highlight Intros and the Victory Poses

 

As you saw, Highlight Intros and Victory Poses are two of the possible rewards from the Loot Boxes. The Highlight Intros are short clips that will be shown as an intro for the plays of the game for each hero. Each hero has 3 intros, for now. YouTuber Sildee has gather all of them in the video below:

 

 

Moreover, Sildee has made a video with all new Victory Poses:

 

 

New Skins

 

Reddit user CandiceSwanpoel has compiled a list from various sources (both images and videos) containing all 167 new skins for all Overwatch heroes. Head over to Reddit to view all of them! Sildee has also made a 13-min video with all the skins:

 

 

Screenshots from the new maps

 

Finally, French site JudgeHype has two albums with some very nice screenshots from the new Control maps, Nepal and Lijiang Tower.

 

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Click here for the rest of the Nepal album

 

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Click here for the rest of the Lijiang Tower album

 

Who is getting in the Beta?

 

Obviously, a lot of people will want access to the Beta, so they can see for themselves all these amazing new features. There might still be a chance for some, since Blizzard is still rolling out some invites. Don't forget to check your email, your Battle.net launcher or your Account Summary to see if your account is flagged for an invite!

 

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      Fixed a bug that prevented Widowmaker’s Infra-sight from functioning if it was used at the same time as another Widowmaker’s Infra-sight Fixed a bug that caused Torbjörn to collide with his turret Fixed a bug that caused Symmetra’s Sentry Turrets to continue targeting Junkrat’s Steel Trap after it was destroyed Fixed a bug that prevented players from being able to stand on top of enemy players Fixed a bug that allowed backfilling players to enter at 9th place during the match Fixed a bug that caused targets hacked by Sombra to appear purple instead of red Fixed a bug that caused the displayed hero on the lobby screen to appear in low detail when entering and exiting the Overwatch League screen Game Browser and Custom Games
      Fixed a bug that allowed players to summon infinite bots in custom games Fixed a bug that caused D.Va to lose her Self-Destruct ultimate if she died out of her mech when the “Spawn with Ultimate Ready” option was enabled Fixed a bug that caused the Victory voice line to play when a match ended in a draw while spectating Heroes
      Fixed a bug that caused airborne heroes to lose speed when changing direction Fixed a bug that prevented golden weapon visual effects from displaying when an Overwatch League skin was equipped Fixed a bug that caused heroes’ scoped shots to be calculated as misses in the accuracy statistic Fixed a bug that prevented Ana’s Candy emote from displaying when viewing Kill Cam footage Fixed a bug that caused Doomfist’s Rocket Punch to impact with D.Va’s mech before it materialized during her Call Mech ability Fixed a bug that prevented kills caused by Doomfist’s Rocket Punch from receiving environmental kill credit Fixed a bug that allowed D.Va’s mech to take damage before it materialized when using Call Mech Fixed a bug that prevented Genji from sheathing his katana after using his Whirlwind emote Fixed a bug that prevented Genji from using his Cyber-agility occasionally Fixed a bug that caused Hanzo’s Dragonstrike to be calculated in the accuracy statistic Fixed a bug that prevented Hanzo’s Wall Climb from activating occasionally Fixed a bug that prevented Junkrat’s Concussive Mine from dealing damage if it was deflected by Genji Fixed a bug that caused Mercy’s Caduceus Staff to disappear when using the Parasol emote Fixed a bug that caused Mercy to fly in an unintended direction if she was stunned during Guardian Angel Fixed a bug that prevented Mercy from destroying breakables she collides with in her flight path when using Guardian Angel Fixed a bug that caused Mercy’s Valkyrie flight controls to not be precise when using Resurrect Fixed a bug that caused Moira’s Biotic Grasp’s hits against barriers to be calculated as misses in her accuracy statistic Fixed a bug that extended the cooldown of Orisa’s Halt! by one second if it successfully pulled an enemy Fixed a bug that allowed Sombra to block Reaper’s Death Blossom if she used her Marioneta emote Fixed a bug that caused Reinhardt to have a blank expression during his Toast victory pose Fixed a bug that allowed projectiles to sometimes penetrate Reinhardt’s Barrier Field Fixed a bug that prevented Reinhardt’s Charge bonus damage from being dealt if the target was sandwiched between a charging friendly Reinhardt and a charging enemy Reinhardt Fixed a bug that caused Reinhardt to knock back a target instead of pinning them if he collided with an enemy at the start of his Charge Fixed a bug that prevented Roadhog’s canister from appearing when viewing Overwatch League skins Fixed a bug that caused Roadhog’s Chain Hook to clip the first-person camera when pulling in a target Fixed a bug that prevented Sombra’s EMP from canceling an enemy Sombra’s Hack if it was in progress Fixed a bug that prevented Symmetra’s Shield Generator from displaying in the Overwatch League skin preview screen Fixed a bug that prevented Torbjörn’s lava ball from appearing in his Batter Up emote if his hammer was equipped Fixed a bug that caused Widowmaker’s hair to not hang properly in the Hanging Around Highlight Intro when an Overwatch League skin was equipped Fixed a bug that caused Widowmaker’s Venom Mine to use Overwatch League team colors when an Overwatch League skin was equipped Fixed a bug that prevented Widowmaker’s Grappling Hook animation from playing when using the ability Fixed a bug that caused Winston to lose some upward momentum when using Jump Pack off small inclines Fixed a bug that caused Overwatch League team decals to disappear from Winston’s suit when he used Primal Rage Fixed a bug that caused Zenyatta’s Discord Orb to fly in an odd direction if its target died before arriving Hero Gallery
      Fixed a bug that prevented players from purchasing non-hero sprays Maps
      Fixed a bug that caused some heroes to get stuck behind the lamp post directly outside the first Defender spawn room in Blizzard World Fixed an issue that allowed players to reach unintended locations in Blizzard World Fixed a bug that prevented D.Va’s Micro Missiles from passing through piñatas on Dorado Fixed a bug that allowed Junkrat’s RIP-tire to travel under the trailer at the final point on Hollywood Fixed a bug that prevented Moira’s Biotic Orbs from bouncing off the wooden pillars on Hollywood Fixed a bug that caused the UI to show a fraction of a meter to go when reaching checkpoints on Escort and Assault/Escort maps UI
      Fixed a bug that prevented the hero portrait from displaying when watching Highlights when an Overwatch League skin was equipped Fixed a bug that prevented player portraits from displaying during the Play of the Game, Kill Cam, Spectating, and Highlights
    • By Zadina

      The Overwatch team is trying to boost some of the weaker heroes. This PTR patch brings changes to Mei, Doomfist and Sombra, while in the future we will see updates on Hanzo, Symmetra and Torbjorn.
      In a new developer update, Jeff "from the Overwatch team" Kaplan summarises all the new updates for the first three heroes mentioned above, while he details some of the ideas the team has had about Hanzo.
      If you can't or don't want to watch the video, all this information can be found in written form. Starting with the patch notes, we can see that Doomfist's ammo recovery rate is now faster and Mei's freeze lasts longer, while the cost of her alternate weapon fire cost has been reduced. Sombra gets some big changes: her Hack is now quicker, affects some targets in different ways and no longer gains ultimate charge from health packs. She also has extra time on her Translocator, while tweaks were made to her gun.
      Blizzard Entertainment
      Overwatch PTR Patch Notes – February 14, 2018
      A new Overwatch patch is currently in development and now available for testing. To share your feedback or report and issue, please post in the PTR Feedback or PTR Bug Report forums.
      Please note that the below patch notes only include changes currently available for testing on the PTR. While many of these changes will also be available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in a future patch, the PTR is PC-only and therefore will only reflect changes coming specifically to that platform.
      HERO UPDATES
      Doomfist
      Hand Cannon Ammo recovery rate increased from 0.8 seconds to 0.65 seconds per bullet Developer Comment: This change will help Doomfist more consistently be able to use his weapon as part of his combos.
      Mei
      Endothermic Blaster Freeze (slow) duration increased from 1 second to 1.5 seconds Weapon alternate fire ammo cost reduced from 25 to 20 Developer Comment: Increasing Mei’s slow duration helps her freeze targets that are particularly elusive such as Genji or Lúcio. Lowering her alternate fire ammo cost allows her to more safely use it without costing her the ability to freeze enemies.
      Sombra
      EMP No longer blocked by small objects (e.g. sign posts) Hack No longer gains ultimate charge from health pack healing Cast time reduced from 0.8 seconds to 0.65 seconds Now disables the following abilities: Genji—Cyber-agility Hanzo—Wall Climb Pharah—Hover Jets Lúcio—Healing Boost and Speed Boost (turns off current song entirely), Wall Ride Mercy—Angelic Descent Machine Pistol Machine Pistol spread reduced from 3 to 2.7 Opportunist Now activates when enemies’ health bars are at less than 100%, up from 50% health Translocator Duration increased from 15 seconds to 20 seconds Developer Comment: The goal of these changes for Sombra is to remove the necessity for her teammates to take damage and heal themselves with her hacked heath packs to try to get her ultimate charged up quickly. Her ultimate will now come up less often, but there are more abilities that are disabled by Hack so it is more effective when used. Previously, Opportunist would only activate when an enemy’s health bar dipped below 50% but now the passive will reveal all damaged enemies which should help Sombra identify targets to pick off. Overall these changes should make her more effective and less reliant on her ultimate.
      USER INTERFACE UPDATES
      Mercy
      Valkyrie No longer shows enemies’ health bars unless they have taken damage Developer Comment: This helps remove some clutter from Mercy players’ screens when they use her ultimate
      (Source: Battle.net App)
      Principal Designer Geoff Goodman made some clarifications on how Sombra's passive works on the PTR:
      Geoff Goodman
      Our patch note for her passive wasn't quite right, we're going to fix it very soon. Let me clarify what exactly is changing with it:

      On live, her passive actually does 2 separate things:

      1) It lets you see enemies through walls if they are less than half health
      2) It lets you see enemy health bars above their heads if they are less than half health (regardless of if you had damaged them or not)

      We're changing #2 so she can see health bars if they are injured at all, but #1 (wall hack) still requires <50% health to trigger. This allows her to have more information once she gets behind her enemies to plan the best way to attack. If you notice, this is also something Mercy gets when using Valkyrie and they both work the same way now. (source) Moving on to Hanzo, Goodman had posted a week ago about some ideas the team had on this hero (which Kaplan mentions in the video). They tried replacing Scatter Arrow with Piercing Arrow, a projectile that would pierce through barriers. They also experimented with a version of Scatter Arrow that didn't ricochet off the floor. Lastly, they added a new ability on Hanzo's Reload button (which is currently unusued) that would reset the cooldown of his arrows. All these ideas have been shelved for now.
      Two new abilities that will probably make it into the next PTR for Hanzo are a horizontal leap and a Volley that will allow him to shoot arrows in high sucession. Geoff Goodman clarified a few things about these abilities: the horizontal leap won't be replacing any of his other skills and it can be used like Tracer's Blink or as a disengage. Lastly, Hanzo can be mobile while casting his Volley.
      Geoff Goodman
      The way we have his leap working right now in our internal builds is that its a double-jump, much like his brother, but with a couple key differences. Firstly, it is mostly a horizontal leap (and its pretty fast), unlike Genji's vertical leap. Secondly, it has a small cooldown, which is necessary considering the amount of mobility it gives Hanzo now. Also, to clarify, you will leap towards the direction you are pressing, not the direction you are facing. This is the exact same control scheme we use for Tracer's blinks, so think of it like that.

      For his new ability called Volley, we're still iterating on it. For example, we've already changed the numbers of arrows fired from 5 to 6 and lowered the damage per arrow. Currently it lasts up to 6 seconds, and allows you to fire about 3 arrows per second (up to 6 total). Each arrow fires at "full power" but deals only 80 damage (instead of his normal 125). There is no charge time while in this mode, if you hold the button down you will fire the arrows in a full-auto mode. 

      This has been really fun so far in playtests. He has a lot more options during combat now, and deciding how and when to use your Lunge ability is really interesting. You can use both ability to leap around a corner and fire a bunch of arrows into a key target, but then you're leaving yourself really open to counter attack. You can also save Lunge when you know there is an enemy Winston looking to jump on you to make a quick leap back while firing tons of arrows into him and his barrier. (source)
       
       
      Wait a sec. Is Sonic arrow still on his kit or Will this jump substitute it? And If so... WHY??? Why take what Little utility he has for a stupid movement ability?!?!?
      No, this is a separate ability bound to your jump key. He still has Sonic Arrow. (source)
       
       
      will hanzo be mobile during that 6 second of channeling the volley?
      Yes he isn't really 'channeling' it, it just changes his weapon's fire mode for that time. You can even fire a Sonic Arrow as one of your 6 shots if you want. (source)
    • By Starym

       
      For those of you that aren't among the 30+ million Overwatch players, another chance to try the game out has arrived! This weekend brings another free ride with all the content available, including the most recent seasonal event, the Year of the Dog. And, as usual, if you choose to buy the game after the weekend, you get to keep your progress and those sweet, sweet skins and other cosmetics!
      February 16-19 (source)
      Attention, recruits! If you haven't already had the opportunity to suit up and save the world as one of the heroes of Overwatch, now's your chance.
      From February 16–19, we're calling on all prospective agents: assemble your team and dive in during the Overwatch Free Weekend on PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One!
      For this free weekend, we're making Overwatch's full roster of 26 heroes and 16 maps available for play in a variety of modes, including Quick Play, Custom Games, and the Arcade. Players will also have the ability to level up, earn Loot Boxes, and unlock a variety of different customization options.
      Plus, if you decide to purchase Overwatch after test driving the game, you'll get to keep any progress that you made during the weekend—just be sure to use the same Blizzard, Sony Entertainment, or Xbox Live account that you played on.
      For more details and to learn how you can participate, read on below!
       
      Deployment Schedule Installation and Play Instructions Free Weekend FAQ
      The Overwatch Free Weekend will run from February 16–19. PlayStation 4 owners with a PlayStation Plus membership, Xbox One owners with an Xbox Live Gold membership, and Windows PC users with a Battle.net account will be able to download and play Overwatch for FREE during this period—no special keys or sign-up codes needed!
      The free period will begin on February 16 at 11:00 a.m. PT and end on February 19 at 11:59 p.m. PT in all participating regions across all platforms. If you'd like to see when the weekend will go live in your region, check out the guides below. For additional time zone assistance, please visit timezoneconverter.com.  
       

       
      EUROPE: THE AMERICAS: ASIA: 19:00 GMT on Feb 16
      20:00 CET on Feb 16
      22:00 MSK on Feb 16
      11:00 a.m. PST on Feb 16
      12:00 p.m. MST on Feb 16
      1:00 p.m. CST on Feb 16
      2:00 p.m. EST on Feb 16
      3:00 p.m. AST on Feb 16
      3:30 p.m. NST on Feb 16
      5:00 p.m. BRST on Feb 16
      3:00 a.m. SGT on Feb 17
      6:00 a.m. AEDT on Feb 17
      8:00 a.m. NZDT on Feb 17
      3:00 a.m. CST on Feb 17
      4:00 a.m. KST on Feb 17
      4:00 a.m. JST on Feb 17
      The Overwatch Free Weekend may not be available on all platforms in all regions. See our FAQ for details.
       

      Before your watch can begin, you'll first need to install Overwatch on your chosen platform. Every platform is a little different—to install and play, please follow the instructions below.
      FOR WINDOWS PC (February 16):
      Step 1: Download and install the Blizzard Battle.net desktop app, if you haven't already, and launch it.
      Step 2: Create a FREE Blizzard account, or log in with an existing account. 
      Step 3: Click the "Overwatch" icon, located on the left-hand side of the Blizzard desktop app.
      Step 4: Select your region from the drop-down menu, then click "Install" to begin the installation process.
      Step 5: Once installed, click "Play" to begin!
      FOR PLAYSTATION 4 (Pre-download starting at 11:00 AM PST on February 13):
      Step 1: Turn on your PlayStation 4 and log in to your preferred local user. 
      Step 2: Go to PlayStation Store and select "Search" from the top menu. 
      Step 3: In the search field, type in "Overwatch."
      Step 4: Select "Overwatch Free Weekend" from the search results and then click "Download."
      Step 5: Once the download and installation process is complete, click "Start" to begin!
      FOR XBOX ONE (Pre-download starting at 11:00 AM PST on February 13):
      Step 1: Turn on your Xbox One and log in to your Xbox Live account.
      Step 2: Go to the Xbox One Store, then select "Search."
      Step 3: In the search field, type in "Overwatch."
      Step 4: Select "Overwatch: Origins Edition" from the search results and then click "Free Trial."
      Step 5: Once the download and installation process is complete, click "Launch" to begin!
      The Overwatch Free Weekend client will be available for download from February 16–19. 

      Q. In what regions is the Free Weekend available? 
      A. The Free Weekend will be offered in all regions on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. On PC, it will only be available in our Americas, Europe, and Asia gameplay regions—excluding Korea. For more information on which countries are associated with each of our Blizzard gameplay regions, click here.
      Q. What game content will be available during the Free Weekend? 
      A. During the Free Weekend, players will have access to Overwatch's full roster of heroes, maps, and a selection of features—including Quick Play, Custom Games, the Arcade, and Loot Boxes.
      Q. How many heroes are available in Overwatch? 
      A. There are 26 heroes available to play in Overwatch! To learn more about these heroes, click here.
      Q. How many maps are available in Overwatch? 
      A. There are 4 different game modes and 16 different maps available in Overwatch!
      Assault: Hanamura, Horizon Lunar Colony, Temple of Anubis, and Volskaya Industries Escort: Dorado, Junkertown, Route 66, and Watchpoint: Gibraltar Assault/Escort Hybrid: Eichenwalde, Hollywood, King's Row, and Numbani Control: Ilios, Lijiang Tower, Nepal, and Oasis Q. How many players does each mode support?
      A. Quick Play maps supports 12 players in a 6v6 format. The Arcade features alternate games modes and maps that support players in a 1v1, 3v3, 6v6, and free-for-all formats. 
      Q. What different play modes are available in Overwatch during the Free Weekend?
      A. There are a variety of ways to play Overwatch during the Free Weekend! 
      Quick Play: Jump into a game against other players of similar skill. Play vs. AI: Hone your skills against a team of AI-controlled heroes. Custom Game: Customize the rules and play a game with your friends or AI. The Arcade: Change things up with alternate games modes featuring different rules sets and restrictions. Players can also learn the ropes in a series of training modes: Tutorial, Practice Range, and Practice vs. AI.
      Q. Do I need Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus membership to participate in the Free Weekend? 
      A. Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus are required to play during the Free Weekend. 
      Q. What languages are supported during Free Weekend?
      A. The Free Weekend will be supported in 13 languages across all platforms: English, French, German, Polish, Italian, Russian, Castilian Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese.
      Q. Will my progress from the Free Weekend carry over if I purchase Overwatch  later? 
      A. Yes. Any progression you earn, including levels as well as skins and other items you get from Loot Boxes, will carry over to the full game if you purchase Overwatch® Game of the Year Edition on Xbox One or PlayStation 4 or any version of Overwatch on PC—just be sure you purchase the game on the same account you played on during this free weekend.
      Your stats will also be retained. (Trophies and achievements, however, have been disabled for the Free Weekend.)
      Q. Will PC and console gamers be able to play together during the Free Weekend? 
      A: No, cross-platform play is not available in Overwatch. 
      Q. Will there be any sort of maintenance planned during the Free Weekend?
      A. There's no downtime or maintenance currently planned for the Free Weekend. If this plan changes at any point, we'll be sure to provide information about major service interruptions in the official forums. For additional status updates, be sure to follow @PlayOverwatch on Twitter.
       
    • By Mournflakes

      Is Overwatch League Stage 2 Ready for Mercy Changes?
      In an article I wrote just a few weeks ago, I broke down what we could learn from the first seven days of Overwatch League. One of the first things I mentioned was the fact that Mercy had, by far, the largest play time of all heroes. As we head into week 4, Mercy’s reign as “Queen of the League” has not ended. In fact, her use has increased, with her pick rate extending into 95% of matches, a whopping 8.75% more than the next most-picked hero (D.Va 86%.)  However, today marks the end of the Queen’s reign in competitive play due to her changes in the most recent patch, and questions remain as to how she will affect the league in the future. Here are some of my speculations.
      1.       The Mercy changes won’t affect the league until the end of February
      No one is sure how patch changes will affect the Overwatch League, but the main talk of the town is that patch changes will cross over between Overwatch League stages. As the league is currently in stage 1 week 4, we will probably see the Mercy/Junkrat patch hitting the league at stage 2 week 1. Stage 2 week 1 will start February 21, so I don’t expect to see the patch hit the league until then.
      2.       Zenyatta will become king of Overwatch League supports.
      Also something I talked about in my article from week 1, Zenyatta sees a high amount of Overwatch League playing time. In fact, Zenyatta is present in 78% of all Overwatch League play. This percentage currently places Zenyatta as the third-most played hero in the league. Once Mercy has her wings clipped, it is likely that Zen’s play time will only increase, making him the number one picked support in Overwatch League. In my opinion, this change may even push Zenyatta to take the number one spot as the most played hero in Overwatch League compositions. Let’s see if Zen can transcend his way to the top!
      3.       Other supports will see a dramatic increase in play time (except Symmetra)
      With Mercy falling back down to earth, the void she leaves needs to be filled by other characters. Part of Mercy’s dominance as a support was because other heroes could not match her kit. The other support heroes weren’t broken, Mercy was just super overpowered, and was almost impossible to pass up in league play (thus the 95% play time.) However, now that she stabilized, I imagine that other support heroes will see a dramatic uptick in play time. I think Mercy will still get picked, but I know that Ana, Lucio, and Moira will be way more viable with the Mercy nerf in place. It will be interesting to see who will be the second most picked support, and it’s something that I will be looking into once the patch hits the league.
      If I had to guess, I would say that the play time after the nerf will see this distribution of support heroes
      From greatest to least:
      ·         Zenyatta
      ·         Ana
      ·         Mercy
      ·         Lucio
      ·         Moira
      ·         Symmetra
      What do you think? Will Mercy still be the top picked hero in Overwatch League play? Will Zen be the new top? Will Mercy sink to the bottom of the barrel? Tell us what you think by commenting below!