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New Overwatch PTR Patch With Balance and XP Gain Changes

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The team is trying quite a few new improvements and balance changes in this massive PTR patch and they need your feedback!

This PTR patch is different compared to the previous ones in the history of Overwatch. First of all, a big focus of this PTR will be to thoroughly test a variety of data-optimization improvements. The underlying changes will help the team introduce new content more efficiently, as well decrease the downtime players experience when loading maps.

One of the biggest changes is the introduction of a new XP system. In short, the XP grind no longer resets once you hit a promotion. The amount of XP required to level up now remains consistently at 20K XP after your first promotion. Here are the patch notes, along with several bug fixes:

Blizzard LogoBlizzard Entertainment

GENERAL UPDATES

General

  • Made several adjustments to the amount of experience needed to level
    • The amount of experience needed to reach each level between 1 and 13 remains unchanged
    • The amount of experience needed to reach each level between 14 and 100 has been slightly reduced
    • The amount of experience needed to reach each level after 100 is now constant (20k EXP) and will no longer reset with each promotion

Developer Comments: With the way our experience curve works right now, players can move quickly through the first 23 levels of each promotional tier (1-23, 101-123, 201-223, etc). This is because when a player is promoted every 100 levels, the experience curve essentially resets. While this reset has worked pretty well so far, it’s also encouraged some people to stop playing the game altogether once they’re promoted—the goal of this being to save those first 23 levels specifically for seasonal events. To help address this, the experience needed for all post-promotion levels (i.e. any level after 100) is now a consistent 20k and will no longer reset. The total experience required to gain 100 levels after a promotion is roughly unchanged, however. In addition, the total experience required to earn your first 100 levels (before your first promotion) has been slightly reduced.

HERO BALANCE CHANGES

We’re making a number of significant hero adjustments this patch and will also be experimenting with different balance tweaks throughout the duration of the PTR.

If you’d like an up-to-date rundown of these changes as they’re implemented, click here. We’re going to be iterating on hero balance quite frequently over the next few weeks, and we’ll be sure to share the latest information as the PTR progresses.

BUG FIXES

General

  • Fixed an issue that sometimes prevented the PC Client from closing properly, subsequently making the Battle.net application think the game was still running
  • Fixed a bug preventing players from receiving credit toward the Most Healing Done commendation
  • Fixed a bug preventing the fourth column on the friends list from being displayed properly

AI

  • Fixed a bug that caused the McCree bot to Combat Roll into the well on Ilios

Competitive Play

  • Fixed a bug that could cause overtime to continue indefinitely on Assault maps
  • Fixed a bug that could cause matches to begin with only 11 connected players

Heroes

  • Fixed a bug that prevented Ana’s healing stats from showing up in the Career Profile page
  • Fixed a bug causing irregular placement of the pumpkin on Genji’s “Pumpkin Carving” Highlight intro when certain skins were equipped
  • Fixed a bug preventing Mercy’s staff from showing up in the “Guardian Angel” highlight intro when her Cobalt skin was equipped
  • Fixed a bug preventing Reaper’s “R.I.P.” victory pose from animating correctly when the game client isn’t in focus
  • Fixed a bug preventing some of Tracer’s voice lines from activating when her Punk skin is equipped

Maps

  • Fixed a bug on Watchpoint: Gibraltar that allowed players to reach an unintended perch near the final objective
(source)

Secondly, quite a few experimental hero balance changes have been introduced. We used the term "experimental" here, since Geoff Goodman clarified that some of these changes may not make it to live servers. This will depend on player feedback and the conclusions the team reaches after the testing cycle is complete. Moreover, this PTR will last longer than usual. You can read his statement in the spoiler tag below:

Blizzard LogoGeoff Goodman

+ Show
Hey guys,

I wanted to drop in and talk about our upcoming PTR patch that is due out very soon. We are going to try something a little different this time, so you might be surprised when you see the patch notes for it.

Previously we've been using the PTR, first and foremost, to make sure the game is solid and there aren't any heinous issues that would prevent us from releasing the patch. There was a nice secondary goal of gathering feedback on any changes we're planning and trying to iterate on them quickly, but we didn't always have time to try multiple different iterations of any particular change.

This time around, the PTR is likely to be around a bit longer than before, so we're taking this opportunity to try out some more significant hero changes, and the push more significant iterations throughout this PTR cycle.

The PTR patch changes you guys see are unlikely to make it through PTR unchanged, unlike previous PTR cycles.

We want to try a bunch of things and see whats fun and working, and iterate more quickly from there. In this way, we get to have you guys involved earlier in the process.

One quick note, since I already know this will come up. There aren't any Symmetra changes for this patch. Her changes ended up being much more significant and require more time to finish up, but shes feeling pretty great internally so hopefully we can get her out there pretty soon.

I don't have an exact ETA on when this PTR will update, but we're hoping for later this week some time. As always, the more you guys jump on and give feedback the better the game will be! Thanks.

(source)

Unfortunately, as Geoff stated, this PTR doesn't contain the long awaited Symmetra changes/rework. The heroes that have been targeted this time are D.Va, Soldier: 76, Ana, Mei, Lúcio, Zarya and Torbjörn. Here are the complete balance changes:

Blizzard LogoJosh Engen

Hero Balance Changes

General
  • Dealing damage to non-players (like like Torbjorn's turrets or Symmetra's teleporter), no longer charges ultimate abilities
  • Ultimate costs have been increased by 25% for all heroes

D. Va

  • Mech health increased to 200 (formerly 100). Armor remains at 400
  • Movement speed while firing has been increased by 25%

Soldier: 76

  • Pulse Rifle
    • Bullet damage increased from 17 to 20
    • Maximum bullet spread Increased from 2.2 to 2.4

Ana

  • Nano Boost
    • No longer increases move speed

Mei

  • Blizzard
    • Ultimate cost has been increased by 15%

Lúcio

  • Amp It Up
    • Healing-per-second has been decreased by 10%

Zarya

  • Particle Barrier
    • Power gained from barriers decreased by 20%
  • Projected Barrier
    • Power gained from barriers decreased by 20%

Torbjörn

  • Scrap is now automatically generated over time
  • The amount of scrap collected from a fallen enemy has been decreased by 40%
  • Forge Hammer
    • Swing speed increased by 25%
    • Damage decreased by 27%
(source)

Lastly, Jeff Kaplan answered a player's question on the official forums as to if some heroes will still be considered the worst or "troll picks" after the current balance update. Jeff claimed that the team is doing its best to keep all heroes viable and to maintain a healthy hero balance. He mentioned Symmetra and Torbjörn specifically, and affirmed that the team is looking at ways to make them more fun. They stilld don't want to make changes that are too drastic, because this can be disruptive for a certain percentage of the playerbase.

Blizzard LogoJeff Kaplan

+ Show
[...]My question is: Will the current effort toward hero balance will completely erase or dissipate those "troll" pick?[...]


3 hours ago

    10/21/2016 07:32 AMPosted by Suns
    Since the release of Overwatch in may 2016, we've seen a lot of changes concerning heroes balances.
    Since Overwatch has become very popular, a lot of pro player find new meta each months.
    Because of the evolving metagame, which pretty much dictate all heroe pick in the competitive format, not all heroes are regarded as equal.
    Heck, some heroes pick are considered "troll", like Symmetra and Torbjorn.
    Thoses heroes flagged as 'useless' are not healthy for anyone.

    My question is: Will the current effort toward hero balance will completely erase or dissipate those "troll" pick?

    I like all heroes. I understand some perform better than other. But no heroes deserve to be so underwhelming that no one wants to see them ever.

 

It's never our intention to have a hero be perceived as a "troll pick", but that will inevitably happen sometimes. Let's say that we all agreed that all of the heroes were perfectly balanced (just pretend with me), even if we touched nothing, eventually the balance would shift over time due to evolving playstyles, strategies and meta-trends. A lot of us like pro sports and tend to think of those games (soccer, football, hockey, basketball) as "timeless". But if you follow those games closely, the leagues have had to make minor tweaks to the games to keep them fun and balanced over time. It's a weird analogy, but it is very similar to hero balance in a game like Overwatch. In those pro sports, players and coaches evolved their ways of thinking about the game that required the game itself to change at times.

We will absolutely do our best to make sure all of our heroes our viable. With so many heroes, I do believe the playerbase will (at times) decide that certain heroes are out of fashion and therefore deem them as "troll picks". Sometimes this will be very valid. And sometimes it will be perception.

Both Torb and Symmetra are being looked at right now. We want to try to improve them in ways that makes them more fun to play, more enjoyable to have on your team and try to make sure they are not infuriating to play against.

We wrestle with the issue that players get very upset at us when they perceive "the meta is stale" and certain heroes are not viable. Yet it's also very disruptive to the playerbase for us to make changes. It's a bit of a Catch-22 but we do our best to responsibly look at all heroes all the time and make sure nothing is terribly unbalanced or worse, un-fun. (source)

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