Balance Changes Ahead of Overwatch World Cup 2017

With OGN Overwatch Apex Season 3 under way, the Pacific Championship upcoming, and the Overwatch World Cup 2017 on the horizon, there is a lot to be excited about as an Overwatch eSports fan. While many of the upcoming changes to Overwatch are unlikely to affect the more imminent competitive matchups, the Overwatch World Cup may be one of the first times these balance changes will be seen in action.

Balance Changes

In the update to the Overwatch PTR that occurred on May 3, multiple heroes were addressed and changes were made that may shift the meta in upcoming competitive matches, namely the Overwatch World Cup 2017. Heroes that were affected include Genji, Hanzo, Orisa, Reaper, Reinhardt and Soldier 76.

Genji received a small buff in the update, which removed the attack cool-down after Genji completes a wall climb. This will allow him to fire his primary and secondary attacks as soon as a player is finished running up a wall, effectively allowing him to be more mobile in most situations. Another minor change was made to Soldier 76, reducing his primary fire damage from 20 to 19. It’s a minor change, and likely won’t nerf him out of competitive matches, but the developers want to create more of a balance between him and similar characters (i.e. McCree).

Reaper and Reinhardt saw some tweaks of their own, as Reaper’s Wraith Form now refills the player’s ammo upon activation. This change gives his Wraith Form more versatility, as it can be used to escape – as it was before – and to chase down fleeing enemies to finish them off.

Reinhardt’s ultimate ability, Earthshatter, has been adjusted to make it seem fairer to those who get hit by it. The vertical effectiveness of Earthshatter has been reduced from three meters to two meters. As stated in the developer comments, Reinhardt’s ultimate seemed like it would climb to unexpected places, even making some Genjis and Pharahs fall to the ground from their spot in the air. This change will make it easier to escape the blast for those who can move vertically.

Orisa was changed in a manner that brings her focus to the barriers rather than dealing damage. The developers reduced her damage by 15%, but also reduced the cool-down on her barrier from twelve seconds down to eight. Orisa is considered to be a bit underpowered at the moment, and this change will focus on allowing Orisa to keep an active barrier for her team instead of putting herself in harm’s way.

Hanzo-overwatch-esportsThe most substantial changes of this patch come to Hanzo, as he is experiencing a buff that may push him back into competitive play in time for the Overwatch World Cup 2017. For starters, the developers reduced the charge speed of his primary fire by 10%. This will allow players to take far more shots than previous Hanzo builds. Secondly, the developers removed the cool-down on his fire after climbing a wall (much like Genji’s change); but also allowed an already charged shot to remain charged through a wall climb. This change is going to make for some incredible skill-shots from pro players, who are sure to be jumping off walls and landing headshots that will leave us all stunned.

These balance changes are currently being tested on the PTR, but could be implemented as soon as May, 9. A full list of the PTR patch notes is available here. Due to the amount of bugs in the recent Uprising Event, this patch may take more testing time than usual. As always, the PTR updates are subject to change before hitting the live game, but it’s exciting to think about the new Hanzo possibilities in upcoming Overwatch eSports play and the Overwatch World Cup 2017 in November.