This article is brought to you by StatBanana, the best Overwatch strategy tool.
The Overwatch team wasn’t kidding about faster game updates. Five days after Patch 22.214.171.124 was added to the Public Test Realm (PTR), it’s been uploaded to live servers.
The “Improved 1.44 Patch” hasn’t been drastically altered from its version on the PTR, but a few big changes have been redacted or reduced. McCree won’t have the health boost teased on the PTR patch, but meta darlings Sigma, Orisa, and Reaper got a handful of nerfs meant to balance their kits.
The quick turnaround is likely due to reports that the Overwatch League, which begins Feb. 8, would be played on Patch 1.44. The first version of Patch 1.44 hit the live servers on Jan. 16. This patch acts as an “addition” to that patch instead of being a standalone update. Lead game director Jeff Kaplan also promised faster game updates in the future. This fast-paced push to the live servers could be the new normal.
- Storm Arrow damage reduced from 70 to 60.
The damage of Hanzo’s quick-fire ability takes a minor drop. This is the latest nerf to Hanzo after his projectile speed was reduced in last week’s live patch.
- Deadeye no longer locks the player’s aim.
McCree’s massive buffs get a little less overwhelming on the live version of this patch. On the PTR, McCree’s health was increased to 250 from 200. He also had a slight recovery time added to his primary fire. On the live servers, only McCree’s ultimate gets an overhaul. Players can now turn at will when casting Deadeye instead of being stuck in place. Watch out, enemy Tracers.
- The Reaping’s passive healing amount reduced from 40 percent to 30 percent of damage dealt.
The Reaping turns the damage Reaper deals into health for himself, making him a true nightmare for high-health heroes like tanks. This nerf reduces the amount of healing by a quarter to make him less difficult to deal with.
- Biotic Launcher primary fire recovery time increased from 0.36 to 0.45 seconds.
- Biotic Launcher secondary fire heal explosion reduced from 60 to 50.
In the first iteration of Patch 1.44, Baptiste received big nerfs to his Immortality Field and Amplification Matrix ultimate. This patch is more of the same for the popular support hero, adding an increased recovery time to his primary fire. This will likely make him less of a “support DPS” and put the focus back on his healing. Even that’s been taken down, reducing his “grenade” healing by 10 points.
- Fusion Driver, or primary fire, damage reduced from 11 to 10.
- Fortify cooldown increased from eight to 10 seconds.
- Halt’s snare duration reduced from one to 0.65 seconds.
In the PTR patch, Orisa’s primary damage went down to nine. Developers may have seen this as too drastic of a change and only docked the tank one point of damage. The other nerfs remain, making Orisa’s Fortify a more costly ability as far as time is concerned. Halt has long been one of Orisa’s most oppressive abilities. This patch nearly halves the time enemies will spend trapped and may send Orisa back to her niche main tank days.
- Gravitic Flux can now be interrupted before targets begin falling.
- Gravitic Flux impact slow duration reduced from 0.9 to 0.6 seconds.
- Accretion explosion damage reduced from 60 to 40.
Sigma’s nerfs are still comprehensive in the live version of this patch, but he avoids a primary fire range nerf that was proposed on the PTR. His Accretion damage has been reduced by a third to make the “rock” less of an issue to enemies. Sigma’s ultimate has a major overhaul with a shorter slow time. Most importantly, enemies can now stun, hack, or eliminate Sigma before his ultimate is finished, saving their teams. Before this patch, he was nearly immortal when casting Gravitic Flux.
Patch 126.96.36.199 is an update to Patch 1.44, which was added to the live servers on Jan. 16. The Overwatch League will likely be played on this patch when it begins on Feb. 8 with games in Dallas and New York.