As the wait for Orisa's arrival grows longer, the Overwatch PTR has again been updated with a number of balance changes to heroes to prepare for her inevitable descent onto the live servers.
This time around, there's a number of buffs and a couple of nerfs to discuss. Let's go over the patch notes in depth to see what's changed.
Damage decreased from 80 to 60
Impact damage reduced from 60 to 30
Impact healing reduced from 100 to 50
Our thoughts: Looks like Ana's being hit again to prevent the return of the tank meta from becoming prevalent once more - especially with Orisa's introduction, teams have been inclined to hunker down behind their anchor tanks and let Ana go to town with her heals. Toning down the healing on her Biotic Grenade again should counteract that, and lessen her overall AOE healing efficiency. Her heals on the Biotic Rifle will make her much more of a spot healer, and an off-AOE healer to compliment a Lucio player - which is probably more along the lines of what a sniper healer should be doing anyway.
No longer hurts himself from his own explosions. (Effect added to current passive: Total Mayhem)
Our thoughts: Junkrat not damaging himself with his explosions may seem like a small change at first, but if he's able to do more point blank damage without worrying about killing himself, mine combos become much more dangerous to his attackers. It also makes it much easier for Junkrat to get attackers off of him without worrying too much about his own hide.
Magazine size lowered from 200 to 150
Cost increased by 15%
Our thoughts: As noted in our guide for Orisa, the time between reloads was just too lenient and allowed most players to just sit back and dish out reliable damage. Toning down her clip size by 25% means she'll have to make sure she's safe or be a bit more mobile so she can reload and keep up the DPS reliably.
As for Supercharger's cost being increased by 15%, it's likely a change meant to make players think twice before using it, since it'll take that much longer before it's back up. After all, a 50% damage increase is nothing to scoff at - and if you're thinking strategically about when to use it rather than just throwing it out when it's up, you'll also likely be thinking more about placement for the Supercharger. Otherwise, it just gets shot instantly and it's of no use to anyone.
Sound effects and VO distance for entering and exiting Stealth reduced to 15 meters.
Cooldown reduced from 6s to 4s
Our thoughts: Sombra's long needed a buff to stay competitive with the rest of the Attack heroes in Overwatch, and this one should help her without impacting her place in the middle of the pack in terms of DPS too much. It'll make it much easier to get her to strategically sneak in and out of position when using her EMP or hacks. Expect to see her cause some havoc against the more shield-heavy lineup, especially once Orisa hits live.
Cooldown now starts when the barrier is placed, instead of when it ends
Our thoughts: Starting the cooldown of the barrier when it's placed means this is a pretty big buff for Winston. Rather than having a full 13 seconds of CD after the first bubble goes down, it becomes eight seconds until it's able to be used again, making it a decrease of a full five seconds.
That's almost a 39% buff to the ability's active time - certainly more than it initially sounds like in the patch notes. Given Winston's popularity in the recent dive competitions seen in leagues like OGN's APEX, we could see a whole lot more of the ape on the ladder.
Orb of Destruction
Alternate fire recovery reduced from 1s to 0.6s
Orb of Discord
Can now target enemies through barriers
Our thoughts: Zenyatta's ability to cut through barriers with Orb of Discord means he'll be on pace to stay very much in vogue once Orisa goes live. Not only will he gain an advantage against her, but this also means that Winston and Reinhardt are now at risk - you could see Zenyatta showing up on far more kill feeds after this change.