Crowd control changes hit Overwatch live servers

Mei, McCree, and other heroes receive tiny tweaks to stuns and slows.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

After a short testing period on the Experimental Card, minor changes to stuns, sleeps, and slowing abilities have hit Overwatch’s live servers. Heroes like Mei, McCree, and Ana will experience slight nerfs to give more balance to the game. 

Last week’s Experimental Card aimed to target “crowd control,” or abilities that reduce a player’s control of their character. Mei’s Blizzard, McCree’s Flashbang, and Reinhardt’s Earthshatter all include some level of slow or stun mechanism that can immobilize enemies. 

While these skills are necessary within Overwatch, many players have expressed frustration at the strength and active time of these crowd control abilities. “We understand that crowd control abilities can cause a lot of frustration,” lead game director Jeff Kaplan said in a forum post last week. “Any time control is taken away from you it generally doesn’t feel good.” 

Today’s update pushes these changes from the Experimental Card to the live servers, which means they’re effective in quick play, arcade, and competitive mode immediately. 

Ana

  • Sleep Dart duration lowered from six to five seconds.

Mei

  • Endothermic Blaster (Primary Fire) freeze stun duration lowered from 1.5 to 1.3 seconds.
  • Blizzard duration lowered from five to 4.25 seconds.

McCree

  • Flashbang stun duration lowered from 0.85 to 0.7 seconds.

Reinhardt

  • Earthshatter knockdown duration lowered from three to 2.5 seconds.

Roadhog

  • Whole Hog knockback increased by 20 percent. 

Sigma

  • Accretion knockdown duration is now a fixed 0.8 seconds instead of scaling with distance. Accretion cast time reduced from 0.75 to 0.65 seconds. 

Most of these changes act to reduce the amount of time that enemy players are stunned or slowed out of movements or abilities. Mei and Reinhardt players will notice the most change since their ultimate abilities are included in the patch update. For Roadhog, his stun ability doesn’t change, but his Whole Hog ultimate will push back enemies further to create more space. 

Not every change in the Experimental Card made it to today’s live update, though. Support Brigitte avoided a nerf to her Shield Bash, which would have reduced the longevity from 0.75 seconds to 0.65 seconds. 

These changes are now live on all Overwatch platforms. The Experimental Card, a place on the live servers to test changes that the developers are considering in the game, will likely be updated soon with more hero tweaks.