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Overwatch: Beta Patch Notes - March 8, 2016

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Yesterday night, Blizzard released two patches for the Beta of Overwatch. The patch includes various balance, UI and quality of life changes, as well as a plethora of new skins.


Just as in the patch last week, the balance change portion is aimed directly at a new cheese strategy that has been incorporated into the competitive meta in the last week. Due to Orb of Harmony, as well as Orb of Discord, from Zenyatta stacking, various teams managed to use a composition consisting of two Zenyattas, a Genji, a Reaper, a Symmetra (even on offense) and a Mei to great success. So far the only way to counter this composition was to run a similar double Zenyatta composition yourself.

To balance this out, Blizzard removed the Orb stacking for Zenyatta. Additionally, they also reverted the Lúcio change from last week, returning the DJ on roller skates back to his original 200 HP. To keep Lúcio in check, however, his damage output is now greatly reduced.

The patching process didn't go all that smoothly however, with many Nvidia users reporting a crash returning them to their desktop. This was fixed in a hotfix that was distributed later in the night.

The official patch notes read as follows:

Blizzard Icon Blizzard

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 Highlights:



New Control Map: Ilios
Situated atop a small island rising from the Aegean Sea, Ilios is a postcard-perfect Mediterranean town, with a bustling harborside, winding paths for rambling hillside strolls, and gorgeous vistas. It is the ideal vacation stop for people looking for a place to relax, or for those interested in exploring the ruins scattered at the top of the island, where many artifacts and relics of the ancient world have been recently unearthed.

Career Profile Reset
This patch includes a full wipe of players’ Career Profiles. As a result, the Career Profile page will appear empty when you first log in after patching, and your previous "Personal Best" records will be reset. (Note: This wipe will not affect matchmaking, player levels, progression, or rewards.)

General:



Map Updates:
  • Health pack placement has been adjusted across all maps
  • Payload sizes have been adjusted to ensure that all heroes can move around them in narrow locations
  • Numbani
    • Significant art changes have been made throughout the map
  • Temple of Anubis
    • A new route has been added to reach the second capture point
    • The temple gate leading to the second capture point is now wider

Play Modes:

  • Play vs. A.I.
    • Players can now select their desired A.I. difficulty (Easy, Medium, Hard)
    • Added kill cam functionality
    • Added Zarya and Roadhog as A.I. opponents
  • Custom Game
    • Added the ability to invite players by using their BattleTag
    • Added the ability to auto-fill teams with invited players or A.I.
    • Added Zarya and Roadhog as A.I. opponents

Progression Rewards:

  • Several new sprays have been added
  • Signature, cheer, and taunt emote rewards are now available for all heroes
  • New Legendary skins and themes have been added for several heroes:
    • “Steambot” Bastion
    • "Wooden” Bastion
    • “Space Frog” Lúcio
    • “Mystery Man” McCree
    • “Raptorion” Pharah
    • “Lionhardt” Reinhardt
    • “Spirit of: 76” Soldier: 76

Miscellaneous:

  • Default emotes have been added for all heroes and are immediately available in the communications wheel
  • End-of-match commendations have received a tuning pass
  • End-of-match medal art has been updated
  • Mercy has been recast for the English version of the game
    • Developer comments: When casting for Overwatch, we often try to find actors who are fluent in the character’s native language. In the case of Mercy, we were able to find an actress that both captured the essence of the character and was able to speak German, which you will be able to hear in this version.

Hero Balance Changes:



Junkrat
  • RIP-Tire
    • Ultimate charge cost increased by 25%

Developer comments: After last patch’s improvements to RIP-Tire, the speed at which Junkrat could activate his Ultimate was too frequent in comparison. Since RIP-Tire now has a much higher impact, we’ve adjusted the cost of his Ultimate to reflect that. 

Lúcio

  • Health increased from 150 to 200
  • Sonic Amplifier
    • Damage reduced by 20%
    • Projectile size slightly reduced
  • Sound Barrier
    • Ultimate charge cost increased by 25%

Developer comments: We’ve been listening to feedback from all sources and decided to try some alternate changes to Lúcio, taking a different approach from the last patch. The goal here is to let Lúcio to be a difficult support to kill, but reduce his combat effectiveness and make him less of a good duelist. We also felt Lúcio could also activate his Sound Barrier too frequently considering its impact, so the cost of his Ultimate has been adjusted as a result. 

Mei

  • Endothermic Blaster
    • Alternative Fire Projectile speed increased by 50%
    • Fire rate increased by 25%
    • Ammunition cost reduced from 40 to 25

Developer comments: In an ideal world, Mei is selected for her control and resilience, rather than her damage output. That said, we felt that there was still room to give her more consistent damage without compromising these goals. These changes are pretty significant, so we’ll be watching their impact closely.

Zenyatta

  • Orb of Harmony and Orb of Discord will no longer stack with each other
  • Transcendence
    • Ultimate charge cost increased by 25%

Developer comments: Zenyatta’s “orb stacking” could cause some degenerate situations—such as a player becoming nearly un-killable if he or she had several Orbs of Harmony buffs active at the same time. Also, much like Lúcio, we felt like Zenyatta could activate Transcendence too frequently considering its impact on a game, so his Ultimate cost has been scaled up to accommodate. 

Bug Fixes:


Spectating
  • The “On Fire” mechanic while viewed through the Spectator Mode UI should scale down appropriately with the size of hero portraits

(source)



In addition to the changes mentioned in the patch notes, there have been a plethora of other fixes that haven't been reported. Some of these changes include:
  • D.VA changes to Defense Matrix from the February 9th Patch reverted
  • Tracer's Pulse Pistols have a reduced spread and higher accuracy
  • Various changes to the private game Lobby UI
  • Native resolutions are now marked with a * in the options menu
  • Lúcio can't use Sonic Amplifier knockback and melee at the same time anymore
  • Color saturation on almost all maps reworked
  • Lúcio's announcer changed back to the old one
  • Traveltime on Hanzo's arrows sped up (not confirmed)
  • Possibly changes to the mouse input and netcode
  • Performance on various maps have been improved.

As always it will be very interesting to see the effect that the balance changes have on the meta game. Early trends suggest that Mei is a bit too powerful now and will possibly replace McCree in lineups, considering there is barely any reason to run McCree over Mei damage-wise now and Mei offers way more utility.

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