A new patch is available for testing on the Overwatch PTR, and the changes contained in this one have the potential to completely shake up the meta. After months of being left in the dark, and also out of the meta, Reaper is finally seeing changes that could bring him back into viability. Both Shimada brothers are seeing minor quality of life improvements, and Hanzo himself is seeing a pretty major buff. On the other side of the coin, Reinhardt, Orisa, and Soldier: 76 find themselves receiving slight nerfs, but none of them are big enough to significantly affect the viability of those heroes. Let’s get into the specifics!
- Removed the attack cooldown from Genji’s wall-climbing ability, allowing him to engage with enemies immediately after completing a climb
While this change may not seem like much to non-Genji players, this is another incremental change to Genji that will grant a whole new element to his playstyle. Doubling down on Genji’s mobility and ninja abilities will both increase his DPS and add a fun factor to playing the hero.
- Removed the attack cooldown from Hanzo’s wall-climbing ability, allowing him to engage with enemies immediately after completing a climb
- Storm Bow
- Increased charge speed by 10%
- Charged arrows now maintain their charge after climbing a wall, provided the button is continuously held
While Genji gains much from this buff to the Shimada brothers, it can be argued that Hanzo gains much more, especially in the way of fun factor. Combining the wall-climb buff with the ability to maintain bow charge during a climb will result in some incredible possibilities for Hanzo players. Expect to see a new wave of wall-climb trick shot montages on YouTube. Increasing the charge speed of Hanzo’s Storm Bow will also help the hero in normal circumstances. One of Hanzo’s main weaknesses is his lack of mobility while charging a shot, and this change allows him to charge up, fire a shot, and return to normal speed a little bit quicker. Hopefully this will stop the anti-Hanzo sentiment heard in a lot of competitive lobbies.
- Fusion Driver
- Damaged reduced by 15%
- Protective Barrier
- Cooldown reduced from 12 seconds to 8 seconds
While Orisa is being hit with a pretty significant nerf to her damage, the 33% cooldown reduction for her Protective Barrier more than makes up for it. This change will allow Orisa to play a more mobile playstyle, constantly moving her Barrier to new positions in an ever-changing battle. Hopefully this will help Orisa compete for a spot in more dive-oriented compositions as a backline defense, able to protect the healers while also providing a consistent stream of area denial and damage with her Fusion Driver. Never fear, Orisa players, this change is an overall buff, and we should see Orisa viable in more situations as a result.
- Wraith Form
- Ammo is now entirely refilled when Wraith Form is used
Finally fulfilling the community’s desire to see the edgiest Overwatch hero get some love, this Reaper change will increase the damage potential of the hero immensely. Currently, Wraith Form is used mostly as a means of escape from bad situations, but oftentimes still leaves you in danger when the invulnerability ends. This new passive ability will give Reaper the ability to fight back immediately, rather than waiting for his Hellfire shotguns to reload.
- Effective height has been lowered from 3 meters to 2 meters
- The height threshold of objects that Earthshatter can “climb” has been lowered from 3 meters to 2 meters, making Earthshatter less likely to climb tall objects as it “crawls” along the ground
Everyone can remember a time where they were knocked down by the swing of Reinhardt’s hammer, despite being on top of an object and thinking they were safe. As a Reinhardt main myself, I can certainly recall being on the receiving end of some very generous physics! This change will bring Reinhardt’s ultimate into a more proper place, but should not affect his overall pick rate too much. Reinhardt’s shield remains the most valuable part of his kit, and until changes are made to that ability, he will remain a must-pick in most compositions.
- Heavy Pulse Rifle
- Bullet damage decreased from 20 to 19
After Blizzard’s buff to Soldier: 76 a few months ago, he became a must-pick hero almost overnight, and remains a very dominant part of the meta even still. This minor nerf to his primary fire damage will not take away from the overall versatility of his kit, and Soldier players should still be able to put out consistent damage, especially when positioned properly. However, players should expect to take an extra shot to take down most low-health targets, especially when using Tactical Visor.
Overall, these PTR changes seem to be positive for the game, and should allow certain heroes to come back into the meta. On the other hand, the heroes who were hit by the nerf bat were not hit hard enough that they will not be viable anymore. Of course, Blizzard likes to test their changes on the PTR for at least a week or so before they go live, so we may not see these exact changes on the live servers; however, all credit to Blizzard for taking another step in the right direction towards balance.