March normally comes roaring in like a lion, but Overwatch developers have blessed us with much quieter changes in the month’s first Experimental Card.
The bulk of the proposed changes target damage heroes with small tweaks, like a slight uptick in damage for Reaper and a shift in Genji’s viability without his ultimate. After substantial changes came about in the Feb. 18 live patch, the devs have also had to pull back some of their bigger nerfs.
As usual, these changes are experimental and may not make it to live Overwatch servers in this condition, if at all. Players on all platforms can test the changes in the 2-2-2 role lock setup by selecting the Experimental Card.
Here are the full patch notes for Overwatch’s latest Experimental Card.
Damage hero changes
- Shuriken recovery lowered from 0.75 to 0.68.
- Dragonblade ultimate cost increased 15 percent.
Players have often complained that Genji feels like a “blade bot” in most games, useful only when his Dragonblade ultimate is ready to roll. A lower shuriken recovery rate allows Genji to “have more impact outside of his ultimate,” according to the developers. Less shuriken downtime means skilled Genji players can take out more low-health targets in teamfights. To balance out the hero, Dragonblade will take a bit longer to build thanks to an increased ult cost.
- Cryo-Freeze healing-per-second increased from 37.5 to 50.
In a previous patch, the developers took away the ability for Mei to be targeted while in her “ice block” form, officially known as Cryo-Freeze. While this is great for avoiding attacks from the enemy team, it also applies to allies. Since Mei can’t be healed as easily by allies like Mercy, the amount of self-healing she’ll receive in Cryo-Freeze has gone up.
- Hover Jets regeneration rate increased from 35 to 43.
Overwatch developers have been trying to find a good balance for Pharah’s Hover Jets for months—and this is another tweak toward that eventual balance. With an increase in regeneration rate, Pharah players can hover longer and will have to “refuel” by hitting solid ground much less often.
- Hellfire Shotguns damage per projectile increased from 5.5 to six.
In the Feb. 18 live patch, Reaper received a series of changes that changed his efficiency in mid-range fights. While his shotgun spread was reduced, the damage potential of each projectile was massively taken down from seven to 5.5. This was apparently too much of a drop and the devs are bumping the damage back up to six for greater balance.
Tank hero changes
- Experimental Barrier cooldown reduced from 2.5 to two seconds.
Much like Reaper, Sigma’s abilities were drastically taken down in previous patches. The bump to a 2.5-second cooldown for his Experimental Barrier did indeed open up the floor for more tanks to enter the meta, but it may have been too effective. “There may be a tuning value that feels less restrictive for Sigma and still achieves those goals,” the developers said.
- Energy drain rate increased from 1.6 to 1.8 per second.
Zarya has been a popular choice at the highest level of competition over the past few weeks, showing up in the kill feed at an astonishing rate during the SteelSeries Invitational. As a result, the devs are slightly reducing the amount of energy Zarya will keep during engagements. This minor drain rate increase means that her energy will deplete faster when not being actively filled through fights.
These changes can be tested in the Experimental Card section on Overwatch’s main page. The Experimental Card is live on all platforms, including PS4 and Xbox One.