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New PTR Patch: Season 2 Testing & Balance Changes

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A new patch has hit the Overwatch Public Test Realm. You can now test the new changes to Competitive Play for Season 2, as well as the various hero balance updates.

As you will see from the patch notes, Season 2 is going to feel quite different compared to Season 1. Some of the changes are the increased skill rating ceiling, a Grand Master tier system, the expected removal of Sudden Death and limits to queuing.

The balance changes include nerfs to Lucio and Genji, as well as to Zenyatta's Orb of Discord. On the other hand, Mercy got buffed. Other heroes that received updates are D.Va, Mei, Hanzo, McCree and Roadhog.

It is not sure if the new map, Eichenwalde, or some new skins previewed at Gamescom (like the ones for Reinhardt) will be part of this patch, when it becomes available on live servers.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard Entertainment

PATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Competitive Play Season 2

We've made some big changes to Competitive Play in anticipation of the launch of Season 2 on September 6. The most noticeable change is the introduction of skill tiers, which we hope will better communicate players' relative skill levels. Competitive Play will put a greater emphasis on skill tiers over specific ratings, and as such, a player's tier will be more prominently displayed throughout the game. We've also switched the skill rating system to a 1-5000 scale to give players more detailed information about how each match affects their specific rating.

Sudden Death is also going away in Season 2. Instead, matches that are tied when the clock runs out end in a draw—though, it should be a rare occurrence. Because of this, we've made some changes to our game modes in Competitive Play to help reduce the chance that a draw will occur. 

We've also made a few minor adjustments to leaver penalties, the top 500 system, and the competitive point system. Read on below to learn more!

 

GENERAL UPDATES

General

  • When activating the "Ultimate Status" communication, Symmetra now reports the number of charges left on her teleporter
  • When activating the "Needs healing" communication while targeting a teammate, Ana, Lúcio, Mercy, and Zenyatta will now tell allies to group up to receive healing. A marker will appear above the player's head, allowing teammates to locate the healer more quickly
  • Added Torbjörn as an AI-controlled hero in Practice vs. AI, Play vs. AI, and Custom Game modes
  • Sit and laugh emotes are now unlockable for all heroes
 

Competitive Play

  • Skill rating is now measured on a 1-5000 scale instead of the former 1-100 scale
  • Skill Rating Tiers
    • Players will now be assigned to a tier, depending on their skill rating
      • Bronze  - 1-1499
      • Silver - 1500-1999
      • Gold - 2000-2499
      • Platinum - 2500-2999
      • Diamond - 3000-3499
      • Master - 3500-3999
      • Grandmaster - 4000-5000
    • In Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond tiers, a player will not drop out of their tier even if their skill rating falls below the cutoff
    • In Master and Grandmaster tiers, a player whose skill rating falls below the tier's minimum
  • Skill Rating Decay
    • Players in Diamond, Master, and Grandmaster tiers that haven't participated in a competitive match for 7 days will lose skill rating
    • Players with a skill rating above 3000 (Diamond tier or higher) will lose 50 rating points every 24 hours, but their rating will not fall below 3000
    • Competing in a single match will halt skill rating decay
    • Players that haven't participated in a competitive match for 7 days will immediately drop out of the top 500
  • Map Changes
    • Several refinements have been made to the time bank system for Hanamura, Temple of Anubis, and Volskaya Industries
    • The time bank system has been added to Dorado, Hollywood, King's Row, Numbani, Route 66, and Watchpoint: Gibraltar
    • Time granted for taking objectives on Dorado, Hanamura, Hollywood, King's Row, Numbani, Route 66, Temple of Anubis, Volskaya Industries, and Watchpoint: Gibraltar has been reduced from 5 minutes to 4
  • Competitive Points
    • Existing competitive points saved from Season 1 will be multiplied by 10
    • After winning a competitive match, players will now receive 10 competitive points (instead of 1)
    • Players will now receive 3 competitive points for a draw
    • The cost of golden weapons has also been multipled by 10 from 300 to 3000
    • A soft cap is being placed on the number of competitive points that can be saved
      • Players with more than 6000 points at the start of season 2 will no longer accrue points by playing competitive matches
      • End-of-season rewards will still be granted to players at the soft cap
  • Instead of going into sudden death, tied competitive matches will now result in a draw (click here to learn more)
  • Players must now win at least 50 competitive matches to be eligible for a spot in the top 500
  • Players must now complete more matches to clear their penalty status for leaving a competitive match early
  • Players of drastically different skill ratings (more than 500) will no longer be able to group together in competitive matches
 

HERO BALANCE UPDATES

General

  • Ultimates that consume the ultimate meter when activated will now drain the meter more quickly (.25 second instead of 1 second)
  • Reverted a recent change to reduce size of heroes' projectiles
 

Developer Comments: Altering the size of projectiles in flight had too many unintended side effects to keep in the game, at least in its current form. We will continue watching this and make additional changes if necessary.

D.Va

  • Defense Matrix
    • After being activated, Defense Matrix will begin regenerating following a 1-second delay (formerly .5 seconds)
 

Developer Comments: Defense Matrix was too efficient when tapped repeatedly, instead of being held. Now, the recovery delay matches the ability cooldown.

Hanzo

  • Hanzo will now experience a 30% decrease in speed while aiming (formerly 40%)
  • Maximum projectile speed has been increased by 30%
 

Developer Comments: Hanzo has the potential to deal a lot of damage, but he can feel really inconsistent, even at a medium distance. By increasing the projectile speed, we’re extending his reliable range, making it easier to land shots without having to perfectly predict enemy movement.

Mei

  • Blizzard
    • The Blizzard projectile now pierces barriers
    • Radius has been increased from 8 meters to 10 meters
 

Developer Comments: Mei has an interesting toolkit, but her ultimate often felt like it was too difficult to use effectively. Consequently, it felt weak compared to many other ultimate abilities. The freeze effect has been piercing barriers for some time now, but the projectile would still be blocked. Now, you can throw it down exactly where you want it, so it’s much easier to utilize the full radius effectively.

McCree

  • Deadeye
    • Now drains over a .25-second period (instead of displaying a 50% reduction on the ultimate meter when activated and 0% when confirmed)
 

Developer Comments: If players managed to counter or avoid McCree's ultimate, it would often regenerate very quickly since only half of the ultimate charge was spent. Now, this ultimate works like every other ultimate that has a duration.

Mercy

  • Caduceus Staff
    • Healing Beam
    • Healing-per-second has been increased by 20%
  • Resurrect
    • Resurrected allies will be able to maneuver after 2.25 seconds (reduced from 3 seconds)
 

Developer Comments: Resurrection now allows teammates to jump back into the fight more quickly, which should help Mercy survive after activating her ultimate. Mercy's healing is also getting a boost to solidify her role as a strong, single-target healer.

Genji

  • Double jump no longer resets when wall climbing
  • Dash
    • No longer deals damage to traps like Widowmaker's Venom Mine or Junkrat's Steel Trap
    • No longer bypasses Junkrat's Steel Trap
  • Swift Strike
    • No longer interrupts quick melee attacks
  • Dragonblade
    • Duration of Genji's ultimate has been reduced from 8 seconds to 6 seconds
 

Developer Comments: Genji was a little too difficult to pin down, and these changes will balance his speed. Swift Strike no longer cancels the recovery time from a quick melee attack, so players will no longer be able to get a free melee attack before using Swift Strike. Lastly, Dragonblade's duration was long enough that it often felt too difficult to reasonably counter.

Lúcio

  • Amp It Up
    • The boosting of movement speed has been decreased by 30% (from a 100% increase to a 70% increase)
 

Developer Comments: Thanks to Lúcio's speed increase, he was almost a must pick in every lineup.

Roadhog

  • Chain Hook
    • If the hooked target isn't in Roadhog's line of sight when retracting the hook, they will be moved back to the position where they were originally hooked
 

Developer Comments: This change means that hooked targets will be less likely to slide along walls, potentially ending up in an odd place after they've been reeled in.

Zenyatta

  • Orb of Discord
    • The amount of damage amplified by a target with Orb of Discord has been decreased from 50% to 30%
  • Orb of Destruction
    • Damage has been increased from 40 to 46
 

Developer Comments: Zenyatta is in a far better place since the last update, but the strength of Orb of Discord has turned him into an almost mandatory pick. These changes reduce Orb of Discord's effectiveness, but his damage-dealing potential has been increased. The amount of damage that he delivers should feel largely unaffected by the change.

MAP BALANCE CHANGES

Watchpoint: Gibraltar

  • Watchpoint: Gibraltar’s first checkpoint has been removed
 

Developer Comments: The balance changes that were implemented in previous patches have eliminated the need for Watchpoint: Gibraltar to have an extra checkpoint.

USER INTERFACE UPDATES

General

  • A new "Allied Health Bars" option has been added (Options > Controls)
  • Contextual menus have been added on the hero selection screen, giving players the ability to report or group up with other players
  • Matchmaking UI is now purple in the Competitive Play queue
  • Made several minor adjustments to typography in the Spectator UI
 

BUG FIXES

General

  • Fixed a bug that allowed the kill participation metric to go above 100 percent
  • Fixed a bug in the Custom Game settings preventing the Ability Cooldown modifier from affecting Ana
  • Fixed a bug that caused heroes to die when first spawned in a custom game if Health and Damage modifiers were used simultaneously
  • Fixed a bug preventing the hero list in Custom Game settings from being organized alphabetically
  • The spectate option now becomes unavailable (the button will be greyed out) when all spectator slots have been filled in a Custom Game lobby
  • Fixed an issue causing in-game statistics to run off the edge of the screen in 16:10 aspect ratio
 

AI

  • Fixed a bug that caused Bastion to become stuck, continuously healing himself in the spawn area
 

Heroes

  • Appropriate sound effects now play when Ana shoots barriers, shields, and armor
  • D.Va no longer communicates her ultimate status for Self-Destruct while charging her Call Mech ultimate
  • Hanzo's Spirit Dragon voice line now plays when using his Okami and Lone Wolf skins
  • Fixed various issues with Junkrat's emote and highlight animations
  • Fixed an issue causing Mei's Ice Wall to push herself to the side when cast at her feet
  • Fixed a bug preventing Mei's Ice Wall from being destroyed by a moving payload
  • Fixed a bug that prevented Mei's Ice Wall from appearing at the target location when cast
  • Fixed a bug allowing Reaper to reach unintended map locations using Shadow Step
  • Fixed a bug causing Reinhardt's shield to jitter when turning in third person
  • Fixed an issue that prevented Roadhog's chain from displaying correctly in some situations
  • Fixed several issues with Symmetra's emotes and highlight intros
  • The scarf on Tracer's Slipstream skin is no longer stiff in the Hurdle highlight intro
  • Fixed a bug preventing overtime from being triggered while Zenyatta is using Transcendence
  • The names of Tracer's Sprinter and Track and Field skins now display correctly
 

Maps

  • Fixed an issue preventing Genji and Hanzo from reliably climbing a specific crate on Watchpoint: Gibraltar
(source)

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