Over the past few months, Overwatch’s Experimental Card has only been used to test mild balance changes. This week, the developers are going back to their roots with more extensive, questionable experiments.
In the newest Experimental patch released today, players will be able to test out minor Genji nerfs and a whole boatload of changes to support hero Moira.
Last week, lead game director Jeff Kaplan mentioned that two Experimental patches were in the works. He said one was focused on “some Moira experiments we are unsure of and some minor toning down of Genji,” and this appears to be that patch.
Before we dive into the changes, it’s important for players to remember that the Experimental Card exists solely for the community to test out proposed changes to heroes, no matter how wild they are. There’s no guarantee that these changes will go to live Overwatch servers and there’s a possibility they may not make it past the testing phase. Don’t freak out.
- Shuriken damage decreased from 30 to 28.
- Secondary Fire recovery increased from 0.65 to 0.75.
Over the last few live patches, Genji received a variety of buffs to his abilities that have made him a must-pick in high-level Overwatch play. Sensing that he may be a bit overtuned, the developers have decided to test these nerfs out in this week’s Experimental Card. His damage is reduced by two points and the recovery of his secondary fire is bumped back up by a tenth of a second. These are minor changes, but it may make Genji’s ability to finish kills a bit less oppressive.
Support hero Moira will get a huge overhaul to her kit in this Experimental Card. These changes will “give Moira players a chance to make bigger plays and flex their player skill,” according to the developers.
- Biotic Grasp attach angle reduced by 37 percent.
- Damage Orb radius reduced from four meters to three meters. Projectile slow amount after a target is found increased from -72.5 percent to -80 percent. Damage per second now scales based on how close the target(s) are to the Biotic Damage Orb:
- Between zero to one meter deals 150 damage per second.
- Between one meter to three meters will scale linearly down from 150 to 25 damage per second.
- The total potential damage the Biotic Orb can deal is unchanged at 200 damage total.
- Fade now phases out all allies within six meters, and self, for one second after exiting Fade. Phasing makes a hero immune to all damage and effects. Developers say “it will work exactly like Reaper’s Wraith Form or Moira’s own Fade effect in this regard.”
Moira is often given the title of a “skilless” support hero considering that her damage does not, technically, require aim. These changes would make Moira a more game-changing hero in a world of wild Ana sleep darts and game-saving Zenyatta ultimates.
Her Biotic Grasp, which damages enemies and absorbs energy to use for healing, will now be harder to “attach” to enemies. This 37 percent reduction would require Moira players to be more mindful of the “aim” they use for Biotic Grasp, tracking enemy players more precisely.
Moira’s Biotic Damage Orb receives a ton of changes in this Experimental patch, all of which aim to increase the skill necessary to use the ability correctly. While the slowing potential of the orb is increased, the range of the ability is decreased by a full meter to three meters total.
Orb damage now scales based on a target’s proximity. On the live Overwatch servers, the Biotic Damage orb deals 50 damage per second regardless of proximity. With this change, the closer an enemy is to the orb, the more deadly it becomes. Aiming an orb directly at an enemy can inflict the maximum amount of 200 damage in a matter of 1.5 seconds.
Conversely, Moira players will be penalized if their orb aim is off, costing them hundreds of potential damage points. If the Damage Orb is thrown at an enemy without considering their proximity, a player may only get 75 damage out of a hero over three seconds. These changes make the Damage Orb a more skill-based ability instead of one where players throw it and hope for the best.
Moira’s movement ability, Fade, comes with the most wild change in the Experimental patch. Fade will now include all nearby allies for a second after Moira exits the ability. This is a massive change, allowing a Moira player to potentially save their allies from innumerable ultimate abilities and hero damage.
To put this in perspective, Moira players often use Fade to escape ultimates like Mei’s Blizzard, Sigma’s Gravitic Flux, and Reinhardt’s Earthshatter. They stay alive to heal their enemies through the ultimate. With this change to Fade, an entire team would be able to dodge an Earthshatter, massively changing the outcome of a teamfight.
A change of this magnitude is not likely to make it to the live Overwatch servers without some serious overhauls, considering the amount of backlash much of the community will express over such a powerful ability.
The Experimental Card will be available for players for at least a week to test out changes. Games will be played with the 2-2-2 role queue ruleset so players can see what the alterations would be like in a live game setting.