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With recent Overwatch character changes, players should gear up for close quarters combat.
With recent Overwatch character changes, players should gear up for close quarters combat.
As Brigitte bashed onto Overwatch servers this week many players suppose that the meta will change with the times. Some argue that Brigitte will determine the new “must have” picks for team compositions, others suggest that Brigitte is nothing more than a distraction and that dive characters will still reign supreme. Regardless of your camp, one thing is certain, Blizzard is ramping up close quarters team compositions.
PTR Changes with Reaper & Mei
While Brigitte’s introduction has clearly raised questions concerning the best competitive Overwatch compositions, Blizzard has announced new changes in the PTR that Mei (pun intended) strengthen the argument that close quarters team compositions are coming to a competitive game near you. Let’s break down each character’s changes individually.
Mei’s Endothermic Blaster will Now Travel Through Enemies
It’s time to bring out the Mei memes and hit the forums because Mei’s Endothermic Blaster will spread its icy doom through enemies. Mei’s abilities have always seemed somewhat lackluster against coordinated teams since, currently, she can only freeze one opponent at a time. However, Blizzard is throwing caution to the wind by allowing Mei’s Blaster to travel through as many opponents as the stream touches, which can force whole enemy units to “chill out”. In the past, Mei was easily countered by dive compositions who could overwhelm her through sheer numbers. With this change, enemies will have to check their decision-making when grouping up against a Mei. Clearly, this is a huge change to Mei, and it will be interesting to see how this will affect team compositions if it gets out of PTR (will Mei and Brigitte be the new Mercy and Pharah duo???)
Mei Freezing Two Training Bots
Mei Freezing Four Roadhogs
Reaper’s Wraith Form increases his speed by 50% (changed from 25%) and can be canceled at any time. Additionally, the use of Death Blossom reloads Reaper’s Hellfire Shotguns.
We would argue that, while Reaper’s changes are not as significant as Mei’s, they still pack a punch regarding close quarter team compositions. Reaper’s Wraith Form has always seemed insignificant due to Reaper’s abysmal 25% speed boost and the fact that enemies always knew exactly when Reaper would return to the fight. With the new changes, Reaper will be much sneakier to play against due to his ability to pop back into a fray whenever he wants to. In regards to Reaper’s Death Blossom, his Wraith Form change is actually a way to utilize his ultimate with better timing. In the past, many players knew when Reaper had Death Blossom, as he would travel to the center of a fight using Wraith Form and then twiddle his thumbs, waiting to unleash hell. With the changes, Reaper can Wraith Form and immediately cut-off the invulnerability to use Death Blossom when his opponents least expect it. Of course, Wraith Form still has a short animation where enemies can witness Reaper’s rebirth from the shadows, but the ability is more cunning due to the changes. On top of this, Wraith Form will be a much better escape tool because of the heightened speed, and Reaper’s overall damage per second will increase due to the free reload he receives from the use of Death Blossom.
Reaper’s Wraith Form
Reaper’s Death Blossom Reload
D.Va & Zenyatta Changes
While the above changes make up most of the PTR shenanigans, D.Va is getting a nerf through a decrease in her Micro Missiles damage output from 6 to 4 damage a missile (a 22% damage reduction) and Zenyatta’s secondary fire rate for his Orb of Destruction will be slowed down by 15%. D.Va’s and Zenyatta’s changes seem appropriate, and will not make a significant difference on their own accord. However, with the introduction of Brigitte, these two changes seem to fall in line with Blizzard’s desire to change the meta composition so more heroes see action.
Predictions and Thoughts About the PTR
Our thoughts on PTR changes and their potential effects:
More people will turn against dive compositions, and we will see an increase in close quarters team compositions with Mei replacing an off-tank or damage slot (especially on control maps)
Brigitte and Mei will be a match made in flank-busting heaven
Pharah usage (and ironically Mercy usage) will increase to combat slow-moving objective-based team compositions including Mei and Brigitte
Reaper use will increase somewhat, especially when Brigitte hits competitive games
Roadhog will become more extinct than he already is
McCree’s usage will drastically increase
Teams will have to change compositions more frequently, and more heroes will be “in meta” than ever before due to counter-picking specific heroes
Is Blizzard making smart moves, or is Mei the next Mercy? Will these changes really do away with dive compositions, or are we full of it? Tell us what you think about these changes and how you believe they will impact the game.
For all of the PTR changes, check out Starym's post here!
The latest PTR has arrived, bringing with it the new "Avoid as Teammate" option (which you can learn more about here), the big Mei pierce buff, Reaper changes and a bunch more tweaks to other heroes as well. There's also a change to the first payload location on Blizzard World, in addition to the usual dev comments and bug fixes as well.
You can also check out or own guide writer Mournflakes take on all the changes that have arrived with the patch right here.
PTR March 24 (source)
MAP UPDATES Blizzard World
Moved the first payload checkpoint (Pylon Terrace) back 10 meters Developer Comments: We moved the checkpoint back for two reasons. The original location swung the map’s balance too far in one direction (favoring the defenders). Also, once the payload reached the checkpoint, defenders returning from spawn could get pinned in this area, usually resulting in their death.
Players can choose to “Avoid as Teammate” with a dropdown menu in the Career Profile Developer Comments: The addition of the “Avoid as Teammate” option gives players the ability to craft their online gameplay experience. Up to two players can be selected with this feature. If you use the “Avoid as Teammate” option on a player, the matchmaker will no longer place you on a team with the avoided player for one week. To learn more about this feature, click here.
The “Poor Teamwork” dropdown menu option has been removed
The “Griefing” dropdown menu option has been renamed “Gameplay Sabotage”
Developer Comments: Due to player confusion about the most appropriate category to report players for poor or toxic gameplay, we are removing the Poor Teamwork option from the reporting system. Players should instead use the Gameplay Sabotage option when players actively harass or disrupt their own team with game mechanics or their actions. Players should not be reported simply for performing poorly, since everyone occasionally has a bad game.
Sombra’s “Enemies Hacked” end-of-round card now also displays her offensive assists
Brigitte’s Golden Weapon variant will now also give her a golden shield
Changed Mercy’s Valkyrie voice line
Simplified Hero Select tips for roles HERO UPDATES
Explosive damage reduced from 6 to 4 Developer Comments: D.Va’s burst potential is a bit too high, and her Micro Missiles are a major part of that. Currently each missile deals 3 impact damage and 6 explosive damage. We’re reducing explosive damage from 6 to 4 but leaving the impact damage the same, the net result being 22% damage reduction.
Now pierces through enemies Developer Comments: This change helps Mei combat multiple targets that are clumped up and also makes it easier to keep her freezing a specific target if another enemy gets in the way. In addition, this change helps her ultimate more consistently be able to freeze more targets, especially if they are near each other. Note: While her shots now pierce enemies, they still do not pierce barriers such as Reinhardt’s shield.
Reloads Hellfire Shotguns after use Wraith Form
Move speed bonus increased from 25% to 50%
You can now cancel the ability by pressing the Shift or Primary Fire hotkey
Developer Comments: These changes help Reaper use Wraith Form more consistently as an escape, but they also open up new options, such as chasing down key targets.
Transparency increased the closer you are to a target Coalescence
Now becomes more transparent the closer its visual effects are to a player’s camera Fade
Transparency increased the closer you are to a target Developer Comments: Due to issues with visibility, we have made most of Moira’s visual effects fade away the closer they are to the camera. We have also made modifications to Coalescence to greatly increase the ability for foes and allies alike to see through it when facing it.
Orb of Destruction
Secondary fire rate of fire reduced by 15% Developer Comments: Zenyatta is meant to be able to deal a lot of damage, especially for a support, but his alternate fire burst damage was a bit too high. This change keeps the overall damage the same but lowers the DPS slightly and makes it harder to hit multiple shots at very long ranges.
USER INTERFACE UPDATES
Heroes can now be selected by double-clicking the hero icon during Hero Select
Added leaderboard information to the competitive information screen. This can be accessed by right-clicking the menu on the competitive card
GAME BROWSER AND CUSTOM GAMES UPDATES
Lockout Elimination cards in the Arcade are now just referred to as Elimination BUG FIXES
Fixed a bug that prevented Bastion from firing projectiles immediately after going into Tank configuration
Fixed a bug that prevented Bastion from being knocked back while transforming during Configuration: Tank
Fixed a bug that prevented Brigitte’s impact effects from playing when hitting the environment
Fixed a bug that caused Brigitte’s aim to be slightly offset after using Shield Bash
Fixed a bug that caused a player’s camera to jitter when spectating Doomfist during his Meteor Strike
Fixed a bug that prevented Doomfist’s Meteor Strike from landing where it was telegraphed when standing close to a ledge
Fixed a bug that allowed Doomfist’s Meteor Strike to access unintended locations
Fixed a bug that caused Doomfist’s Meteor Strike to penetrate angled surfaces as he descended
Fixed a bug that prevented Doomfist’s Rocket Punch from impacting enemies or
Fixed a bug that prevented Junkrat from being knocked back while piloting his RIP-Tire
Fixed a bug that allowed Orisa’s Halt! to sometimes affect enemy targets behind walls
Fixed a bug that caused McCree’s Peacekeeper to grow substantially during the hero select screen when certain skins were equipped
Fixed a bug that allowed Moira’s Biotic Orb to pass through Mei’s Ice Wall
Fixed a bug that caused Tracer’s Recall to activate differently based on the player’s latency
Previous PTR patch notes.
Jeff from the Overwatch team is back, introducing a much requested feature. As the title quite clearly states, we can now choose not to play with people we're in a game with. What that does exactly is take up to two selected players of your choice and prevents them from matching with you (on your team at least) for 7 days. The feature is going to be in testing soon, and should be available some time before Season 10.
Jeff goes into detail on the system, when you might want to use it, how it will impact queue times for various skill levels, the warning (and consequences) you get if many people are avoiding you and more:
01:21 – Introducing new feature, Avoid as Teammate!
01:37 – Players you select with the feature will be avoided for seven days
02:22 – How to use this feature to help control your game experience
03:32 – There might be side effects of this system, but we’re closely monitoring it
04:10 – Thoughts on why we limit how many people you can avoid
04:40 – How this system affects those who have a high number of players avoiding them
05:52 – We are paying very close attention to how this feature performs
06:00 – We will continue to create features to help you craft your experience in Overwatch
So, how much do you think you'll be using the new system once it goes live and do you think it's a good way to address these issues?
Update - Here's some additional info on the new system:
Scott Mercer (source)
With the release of Patch 1.22, I wanted to talk about the new and updated tools that can help players create a better and more positive gameplay experience. Before diving into those details, I first need to thank everyone who has been helping us identify toxic behavior. We have seen a steady increase in usage of the Player Report tool, and these additional reports allow us to identify and action toxic players more quickly and at a higher accuracy. Players have also been reaching out via social media with reports and videos of blatant toxicity, and we have investigated each of them and taken appropriate action. The best way for everyone to continue helping us combat toxicity is simple: just use the Player Report tool whenever you encounter bad behavior and give an accurate and detailed report.
To help with the accuracy and clarity of reports, we are making a couple changes to the player report categories you can choose. The first change is renaming the “Griefing” category to “Gameplay Sabotage”. Griefing is a very broad term used in many different ways amongst the community. The intent of the category is to be used when a player disrupts the game or harasses other players through the use of normal gameplay mechanics. A clear example of this is Symmetra teleporter exits being placed at the side of cliffs so teammates immediately drop to their death. Another example is players intentionally allowing themselves to be eliminated by the enemy team. This is often referred by the community as “feeding” or “inting”.
It is NOT gameplay sabotage if a player simply makes a mistake or has a poor match. Everyone does that from time to time, even the very best professionals in the world. Players can also have a rough match without a lot of mistakes, simply because the other team is making better plays and performing well. For a player to be reported for Gameplay Sabotage, they must intentionally be trying to disrupt and harass their teammates or actively trying to lose. Note that playing a non-meta Hero does not mean someone is taking part in Gameplay Sabotage. Players who are trying hard to help their team to win should not be reported, regardless of the hero they choose.
The other change we’re making to the player reporting categories is removing the “Poor Teamwork” category. Many players were using this category in a very similar fashion to the “Griefing” category, because both categories could be interpreted very broadly to include diverse types of bad behavior. This made it more difficult for us to action players appropriately.
The addition of the “Avoid as Teammate” option also gives players another way to improve their gameplay experience online. If you use the “Avoid as Teammate” option on a player, that action is will be effective in the next match. The matchmaker will no longer place you on a team with the avoided player for one week. Sometimes you don’t want to play with someone as a teammate because you disagree with their playstyle or hero choice. Sometimes your personalities or communication style simply clash. These can happen without either party being toxic.
The use of Avoid as Teammates does NOT take the place of reporting someone for things like Abusive Chat, Inactivity, or Gameplay Sabotage. If you ever encounter a player being toxic, please take the time to report them for that behavior. It truly helps us make playing Overwatch a more positive experience.
Overwatch's newest heroine will arrive on live servers next week. Looking for a guide, we already have one up! https://www.icy-veins.com/overwatch/brigitte-guide
The latest PTR cycle ended a couple of days ago and everyone thought that perhaps Brigitte would go live this week. However, the team wasn't quite ready to push the new heroine out, so we'll see Brigitte on live servers on March 20! Check out the video for the design process behind Brigitte's art:
Some of you might already be thinking what's next after Brigitte. Well, we know the answer: it's Hanzo's rework! Some details on his rework were already shared by Geoff Goodman a while back. It looks like the team is happy with the changes they've made to this notorious hero and after Brigitte's release, they will work on his new visual and sound effects. The Hanzo rework PTR should go live in April.
The animation, visual effects and sound work are scheduled to begin post-Brigitte release. PTR will be after that. Hoping for a PTR sometime in April. (source)
Looking for a guide, we already have one! https://www.icy-veins.com/overwatch/brigitte-guide
The Brigitte patch notes have arrived, and aside from the new Hero we also get some changes to Sombra's Hack and hit it gets and responds to interruptions, as well as the usual huge amount of bug fixes!
March 20 (source)
New Hero: Brigitte (Support):
An engineer with peerless armor-constructing abilities, Brigitte Lindholm is a valiant squire who fights on the front line to protect her allies.
Brigitte’s armor engineering capabilities make her a stalwart support hero, capable of holding her ground in combat while also providing healing and armor for her allies. Her primary weapon is her heavy-hitting Rocket Flail that she swings in a wide arc in front of her to smash multiple enemies at once. Whip Shot enables Brigitte to fling her flail forward, striking enemies at a distance and knocking them backward. With each blow, Brigitte’s passive ability, Inspire, heals nearby allies over time.
Brigitte’s Barrier Shield deploys a frontal energy barrier that can absorb a limited amount of damage and protect any allies directly behind her. Once her Barrier Shield is deployed, she can use Shield Bash to lunge forward and stun the first enemy in her path. Drawing on her engineering prowess, Brigitte can create Repair Packs to instantly heal wounded allies or provide armor to teammates at maximum health. When Brigitte is at her strongest, she can activate her ultimate ability, Rally—a galvanizing call to arms that generates a substantial amount of armor for nearby allies and increases Brigitte’s movement speed so she can lead them into battle.
To learn more about Brigitte, click here.
Brigitte will be available in Competitive Play in Season 10. To learn more, click here.
Changed the name of Junkrat’s Scarecrow spray to Hayseed Updated Mercy’s Toast victory pose HERO UPDATES
Now goes on a 2-second cooldown when interrupted by damage Now more consistently interrupted when targets break line of sight Developer Comments: We’re also removing the 0.1 second window of time during a hack where it couldn’t be canceled via line of sight or with other abilities including Tracer’s Recall and Zarya’s Particle Barrier, which was originally put in place so the hack wouldn’t be interrupted by small objects such as light posts. We’ve implemented a separate fix for that issue, so she should still be unaffected by those small objects.
USER INTERFACE UPDATES
The Team Information Screen now displays the ultimate charge of your teammates
Fixed a bug that prevented Doomfist’s Rocket Punch from traveling forward if he had been hit by an enemy Doomfist’s Rising Uppercut
Fixed a bug that sometimes prevented players from aiming Doomfist’s Rocket Punch when facing an enemy
Fixed an issue that allowed players to jump over Doomfist’s Rocket Punch when on an incline
Fixed a bug that caused Doomfist’s Seismic Slam to cancel if he could not get close to his target
Fixed a bug that prevented Doomfist’s Rising Uppercut cooldown countdown from displaying if he was in a movement hindering ability (e.g. Zarya’s Graviton Surge or Junkrat’s Steel Trap)
Fixed a bug that caused Doomfist’s Rocket Punch cooldown to delay counting down if he was in a movement hindering ability (e.g. Zarya’s Graviton Surge or Junkrat’s Steel Trap)
Fixed a bug that prevented Doomfist’s Rocket Punch from hitting enemies that were close to him
Fixed a bug that prevented Junkrat’s RIP-Tire kills from being credited in the Kill Feed if the targets had a long death animation (e.g. D.Va’s Mech)
Fixed a bug that caused Mercy’s Regeneration to occur instantly if she took damage while at full health
Fixed a bug that caused Mercy’s wings to separate from her body if her Zhuque skin was equipped during her Toast victory pose
Fixed a bug that prevented Moira’s Biotic Orb from receiving kill credit if it expired at the same time it killed an enemy
Fixed a bug that caused Moira’s Fade visual effects to indicate the direction she was traveling in when she used the ability
Fixed a bug that prevented Reinhardt’s Charge from pinning enemies
Fixed a bug that prevented the chunks from the pumpkin in Reinhardt’s Pumpkin Smash emote from appearing after he obliterated it with his Rocket Hammer
Fixed a bug that caused Roadhog’s Chain Hook to appear at the top of an opponent’s screen if he used it against an enemy Mercy when she used Valkyrie
Fixed a bug that prevented Sombra from receiving environmental kill credit if she kills an enemy using Hack
Fixed a bug that sometimes caused Sombra to be visible to enemies without displaying a “Detected” notification during Stealth
Fixed a bug that sometimes failed to teleport players using Symmetra’s Teleporter if they used an ability that increased their movement speed when passing through it (e.g. Doomfist’s Rocket Punch)
Fixed a bug that caused some objects to block projectiles on Blizzard World (e.g. souvenir carts) UI
Fixed a bug that prevented the “Restore Defaults” button from resetting all settings in the Social Options tab
Fixed a bug that caused players to delete characters in the “Save Highlight” text box if they pressed down the delete input while their settings were below 60 FPS
Fixed a bug that caused the user interface to indicate two control points on a single control point map when playing a custom game
Previous live patch notes.