Overwatch developers have really had it with barrier-based metas.
Last week, the developers put forth an Experimental Card to test big changes to multiple characters with barriers, such as Orisa and Sigma. Reception from the community was widely positive and apparently worked from a development perspective as well since many of those changes went through to the live servers today in the Aug. 13 Overwatch patch.
These changes overwhelmingly focus on heroes that have formed the game’s barrier-heavy meta, including Brigitte and tanks like Sigma and Orisa. Other damage and support heroes have been fine-tuned in this patch, making them more viable choices and encouraging variation in the meta.
Barrier hero changes
- Base health lowered from 200 to 150.
- Inspire’s total healing decreased from 130 to 90. The passive’s healing is reduced from 21 to 15 health per second. Self-healing is no longer reduced by half.
Many Brigitte players weren’t happy about these changes on the Experimental Card, but the developers have put the changes through in full on this live patch. Brigitte’s health and team healing from her Inspire passive took a huge blow, but the buff to self-healing should keep her alive longer. This should make Brigitte more of a niche pick instead of a must-pick hero, which she was in most compositions.
- Base armor reduced from 250 to 200.
- Halt radius reduced from seven to four meters.
- Projectile speed increased from 20 to 30.
Main tank Orisa gets arguably the biggest change in the patch with a massive reduction to her Halt ability. The “pull” radius has been cut nearly in half. “The large radius of Orisa’s Halt! ability made it too effective in setting up combos against large groups of enemies on a relatively short cooldown,” the developers said. Orisa also now has less health but more projectile speed, meaning she’s more deadly at a cost to her own survivability.
- Experimental Barrier health reduced from 900 to 700. Regeneration rate reduced from 120 to 80 per second.
- Kinetic Grasp cooldown increased from 10 to 12 seconds.
As the other half of the “barrier tank” duo alongside Orisa, Sigma has felt overpowered in many scenarios. These nerfs take his shield down a few notches and add more time to his Kinetic Grasp cooldown. Sigma players will have to be more mindful of how they use both the Experimental Barrier and the Kinetic Grasp during teamfights.
General hero changes
- Hover Jets movement speed increased 20 percent. Regeneration rate reduced from 50 to 35 per second.
- Barrage duration reduced from three to 2.5 seconds.
Watch out, ground heroes: Pharah is back in action. While her Hover Jets will take a bit longer to recharge, Pharah will be able to take to the air faster than ever. A time reduction in her ultimate also means that Barrage is significantly less of a risk for any Pharah player. “Rocket Barrage has such immense damage output that the tail end of the duration was often more of a liability than a benefit,” the developers said.
- Scrap Gun ammo reduced from six to five. Damage per projectile increased from six to seven. Recovery increased from 0.7 to 0.85 seconds.
Roadhog hasn’t been a viable tank choice for a long time, but these minor changes may make him more useful in specific scenarios. The developers said these changes make his Chain Hook combo, in which a player hooks an enemy and immediately inflicts damage on them, more consistent.
- Teleporter cooldown reduced from 12 to 10 seconds.
As far as this live patch is concerned, Symmetra is the only hero to not have the full Experimental Card changes go through from last week. The teleporter cooldown has stayed, giving Symmetra more survivability, but a big change to her primary fire has been taken out. This doesn’t change the fact that Symmetra may come back into the fray as a must-pick hero on close-quarters maps.
- Orb of Destruction, or secondary fire, charge rate increased 15 percent. This is 0.6 seconds down to 0.52 seconds per orb. Rate of fire increased from 8.5 to nine shots per second.
In a meta dominated by high-healing Baptiste and overtuned Brigitte, Zenyatta hasn’t seen much playing time in many Overwatch matches. These big changes give players a reason to lock in the omnic monk. “Zenyatta has low healing and mobility outside of his ultimate but makes up for it with high potential damage output,” the developers said. The live changes make Zenyatta a necessary choice if damage is equally as important as healing during a match.
These changes are now live on all Overwatch servers, including consoles. This live patch will affect all modes of Overwatch, including quick play, arcade, and competitive mode. Additionally, the Overwatch League has confirmed that teams will play on this patch during postseason matches, which begin on Sept. 3.