The Overwatch League is on its regularly-scheduled break between stages, an adjustment period aimed at bringing the league’s patches up to speed with the current iteration of the live game.
Teams have been playing on an old patch since the start of season three—but season four will bring players closer to the present in Overwatch, but not quite close enough to the current patch. Brigitte will join the Overwatch League, but Hanzo’s much-needed rework? That won’t be included according to Dallas Fuel player Brandon “Seagull” Larned. That news was later corroborated by Overwatch League analyst Josh Wilkinson. Dot Esports has reached out to the Overwatch League office for confirmation.
At this point, the inclusion of Hanzo’s perfect geometry is the least of the Overwatch League’s problems. The patch that introduced the Hanzo rework on May 3 also brought a bucket full of other hero balance adjustments, most notably, one that reduced cone angle of Brigitte’s Shield Bash. She’s also got other nerfs in testing on the Overwatch PTR, but those not making it to the Overwatch League are reasonable.
Junkrat, Tracer, and Genji were also nerfed, while Lúcio got a Wall-Ride buff in the patch. But, again, none of those will be live during the Overwatch League’s fourth stage—as long as Seagull and Wilkinson are correct
The Overwatch League community is properly divided on the issue. Some, like Overwatch League caster Christopher Mykles, argue that most large-scale tournament delay patches for several weeks before porting them over to the tournament server.
“This prevents bugs and balance issues from ruining professional matches,” Mykles said on Twitter. “There is no world where Overwatch League uses the live patch instantly.”
But a legion of Overwatch League fans disagree.
“As it stands right now, the entirety of stage four of the Overwatch League will be played on a patch that was live for just two days,” an Overwatch League fan wrote on a Change.org petition that’s generated more than 8,000 signatures. “It’s going to be a huge disconnect for the viewers when they see a Hanzo Scatter Arrow four weeks after it’s been changed for an entirely new ability that they were excited to see in [a] tournament.”
On the other hand, some players want to see the version of Overwatch that everyone is playing on.
Esports news site Inven reported that Overwatch League players and staff have been “arguing internally” with Blizzard for Brigitte’s Shield Bash nerf to be included in stage four. Players were asked by Blizzard to provide feedback on Brigitte and her viability without the live nerfs earlier in the week, according to Inven.
The Overwatch League is scheduled to resume for its fourth stage on May 16, and there’s a chance that players and fans will just have to deal with the older patch—but for how long? When the stage kicks up on May 16, it’ll be locked into the patch until June 17.
There is a large break between the stage four finals and the season one playoffs, which start on July 11, which is likely when the patch would switch over. But given the large amount of time between now and then, Overwatch is likely to be rife with even more changes by July.