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Overwatch Is Getting Some Big Balance Changes

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A new patch just went live on Overwatch’s public test servers, and it’s a doozy. It introduces Ana, the new support sniper/Mom of the Century, but that’s just the beginning.

The patch notes are quite a journey, but the gist is that a bunch of heroes’ ults now take more effort to charge because self-heals now contribute, D.Va, Zenyatta, and McCree got buffs, and there’s now a one-of-each-hero-per-team limit in competitive mode. Here are some stand out bits:


Self-healing abilities now charge ultimate abilities. As a result, some heroes’ ultimate costs have been adjusted (see below).


Configuration: Tank

-Ultimate cost increased by 10%


Defense Matrix

-Cooldown decreased from 10 seconds to 1 second

-A new resource meter has been added. This meter will deplete while Defense Matrix is active and then recharge when it’s not in use.

-Defense Matrix takes 10 seconds to reach full charge from empty

-At a full charge, Defense Matrix will last for 4 seconds

-Defense Matrix will now remain active as long as its assigned hotkey is held

-Defense Matrix has been reclassified as an alternate fire and is now bound to RMB (by default)

-An option to “Toggle Defense Matrix” has been added under Options > Controls > D.Va

-Self-Destruct Ultimate cost decreased by 15%

-Explosion delay reduced from 4 seconds to 3 seconds

-Explosion no longer damages D.Va (the player who activates it)

Blizzard is hoping these changes will up D.Va’s damage absorption and make her a more viable tank. McCree, meanwhile, is getting his range increased a little, such that he can now operate a bit more like Soldier 76. Lastly, Zenyatta is receiving a big shield buff, projectile speed improvements, and an ult boost.


Many of you will also be happy to hear that competitive mode no longer allows for rampant hero stacking. There’s been a lot of debate about whether allowing multiple instances of the same hero on a team adds new strategic layers to the game or cheapens the consequences of decision-making, but the consensus is that it’s too easy to cheese. Blizzard explained:

“In Quick Play, where things are intended to be more relaxed, this is fine. But in Competitive Play, we feel that hero stacking is becoming detrimental and leading to some not-so-great player experiences. For example, we’ve seen organized teams on Assault and Hybrid maps use hero stacking to overtake the first point before the defense has a chance to counter.”

“We’ve also seen players use specific stacked compositions just to frustrate their opponents or cause indefinite delays in overtime (among other strategies). While this kind of thing is certainly possible in any mode, the higher stakes of Competitive Play means these kinds of tactics were popping up more often than anyone would like.”


So that’s that. What do you think of these changes?