Damage down: Overwatch live patch notes (Aug. 31)

The developers are adding nerfs to multiple damage heroes in pursuit of balance.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

For the past few weeks, damage dealers have been having a field day in Overwatch. Finally free from barriers thanks to the Aug. 13 live patch, players have been locking in Widowmaker, Ashe, and McCree with regularity in competitive mode.

That fun might end today, however. The developers unveiled a new live patch that focuses on fixing the overpowered damage of certain heroes. 

Last week’s Experimental Card tested these extensive tweaks and, apparently, the results were positive for the developers. Nearly every change tested in the Aug. 24 Experimental Card has made it to the live patch, including huge nerfs to Widowmaker’s long-range damage potential. Developers also included nerfs to the healing output of some support characters, citing “less damage being dealt overall” as a reason for the adjustments.     

General changes 

The beam-type damage reduction against armor health pools has been increased from 20 to 30 percent. This means that beam damage, from Symmetra or Zarya’s primary fire, will do less damage against heroes that are protected with armor.

Damage hero changes 

Ashe

  • The Viper’s maximum ammo reduced from 15 to 12. The Viper’s secondary fire, or “aim-down sights,” damage reduced from 85 to 80. 

Ashe has been a must-pick hero for a few months and she’s only gotten more powerful with huge nerfs to barrier heroes. These changes reduce her scoped damage and bring her ammo back down to 12, reverting an ammo increase from April 2020.  

Junkrat

  • Frag Launcher impact damage reduced from 50 to 40; total reduced from 130 to 120.

McCree

  • Peacekeeper primary fire recovery increased from 0.42 to 0.50.

Pharah

  • Rocket Launcher recovery increased from 0.75 to 0.85. 

Symmetra

  • Photon Projector secondary fire maximum damage reduced from 140 to 120. 

Symmetra gets a double nerf in this patch, taking a hit from the beam-type damage reduction against armor as well as this change to her projectile damage. She’s been a popular pick in close-quarters maps, but these adjustments may make players think twice about instantly locking her in. 

Widowmaker

  • Widow’s Kiss maximum ammo increased from 30 to 35. 
  • Secondary fire, or scoped, ammo cost increased from three to five. Scoped shots now have up to 50 percent damage falloff from 60 to 85 meters. 

Overwatch’s favorite sniper gets the biggest nerf of the Aug. 31 patch with a massive reduction to her scoped shots, which make up most of Widowmaker’s damage. With the ammo increase and scoped shot cost, Widowmaker players will now only get seven shots out of a full reload instead of 10. Beyond that, there will now be damage falloff above 60 meters. While this only makes a difference on maps with long sightlines, like Ilios Ruins and Junkertown, it’s a huge nerf to Widowmaker players who are going for long-range duels or clutch headshots. 

Support hero changes 

Ana

  • Biotic Rifle ammo reduced from 14 to 12.

Baptiste

  • Biotic Launcher grenade (secondary fire) ammo reduced from 12 to 10.
  • Regenerative Burst total healing reduced from 150 to 75. Baptiste now receives twice as much healing from Regenerative Burst.

Much like Brigitte in the Aug. 13 live patch, Baptiste gets big nerfs to his team healing but buffs to his self-sustaining healing power. Regenerative Burst will now heal Baptiste at a higher rate, but the healing is halved for his team. This is a massive blow to compositions that rely on players sticking together as a team to receive Baptiste’s healing. 

Moira

  • Biotic Grasp (Healing) lingering heal reduced from four seconds to two seconds, total healing reduced from 65 to 35. Healing per second increased from 65 to 70. Healing resource consumption rate increased from 11 to 14, a 27 percent increase. 
  • Biotic Grasp (Damage) attach angle reduced by 37 percent. Healing resource gain rate increased by 50 percent. 

Moira has been the focus of several recent Experimental Cards, in which the developers tested wild changes to her Fade ability and Biotic Orb. These live patch changes aren’t quite as creative, but they take steps toward making Moira a more balanced hero. 

Thanks to a lingering heal reduction, Moira players will have to be more active in “spraying” healing on allies. Healing per second is increased at the cost of more resources. This means that healing allies will cost approximately 27 percent more of Moira’s “energy,” absorbed from enemies. 

Moira players will now have to aim better to gain more resources since the widely-popular 37 percent attach angle change has gone to live. This means that the “hitbox” chance for Moira’s Biotic Grasp has been drastically reduced, so players need to be closer or aim more directly at a character to absorb energy. To make up for the increase in healing resources necessary, Moira will gain 50 percent more energy from enemies she damages.   

Tank hero changes 

Orisa

  • Halt! radius increased from four to five. Projectile speed reduced from 30 to 25.

Overwatch’s developers understand when a big nerf ends up being too drastic. Orisa got hit with the biggest nerf in the Aug. 13 live patch with a huge reduction to her Halt ability, which used to have a seven meter radius. In this patch, she gains another meter of Halt radius and the ability’s projectile speed is lowered to a more normal level. 

Zarya

  • Particle Cannon secondary fire ammo cost increased from 20 to 25. 

This minor change is a reversion to an earlier Zarya buff. Players will now only get four “grenades” from a full reload of energy instead of five. 


These changes are live in Overwatch as of Aug. 31 at 1pm CT. This patch affects all modes of Overwatch, including quick play, arcade, and competitive mode. The Overwatch League won’t be affected by this patch, however. The playoffs, which begin on Sept. 3, will be played on the Aug. 13 patch