Overwatch Patch 1.48 adds hero changes, communication wheel

The huge patch also brings accessible patch notes and big support hero tweaks.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch may be celebrating its fourth anniversary, but there’s a lot more going on beyond the party. The 2020 Anniversary event launched today as a part of Patch 1.48, which introduces a host of quality changes and hero tweaks to live servers.

The large patch, which may take extra time to download, adds improved communication and easily accessible patch notes to the game alongside a long list of balance changes to support and damage heroes. 

Game changes 

Improved Communications Wheel 

Have you ever wanted to repeatedly spam “no” in the middle of a competitive Overwatch game? Patch 1.48 has finally made those dreams come true with an improved Communications Wheel. Players can customize the callouts on their Communications Wheel, which used to only include stock calls like “I need healing” or “attack the objective.” In Patch 1.48, 26 different communications are available. 

In-game patch notes 

Reading Overwatch updates has never been easier. On the title screen, a section called “Patch Notes” was added last month to allow players to read the most recent updates to the game. That section used to open a separate browser window. But now, patch notes can be read inside the client on any platform, making them more accessible to players. The section will also inform players when new patch notes have been added.  

Reset the basketball  

A few minor quality-of-life changes have also been added in Patch 1.48. Play of the Game has been rebalanced to “emphasize more active participation” in fights, according to the patch notes. Players will receive an in-game notice thanking them for a cheat report if it results in disciplinary action, much like how reports for abusive chat work now. Most importantly, players can now reset the basketball in Control dropships. You’ll no longer have to yell at someone for ruining your perfect three-pointer.  

Support hero changes 

Many of these changes were introduced in last week’s Experimental Card, which aimed to balance the abilities of multiple support heroes. 

Ana

  • Biotic Rifle healing reduced from 75 to 70.

Mercy

  • Caduceus Staff healing per second increased from 50 to 55.

Ana’s healing takes a hit while Mercy gets a slight increase. These minor changes may not make a huge difference for future team compositions, but Ana players may notice a significant loss in ability to quickly heal up teammates. 

Moira

  • Biotic Orb damage radius reduced from five to four meters. Orb projectile speed increased from 16 to 20. Projectile duration reduced from 10 to seven seconds. 

Moira’s orbs, both healing and damage, will now be faster but stay around for only seven seconds. Her damage orb radius has also been reduced. This means Moira players have to rethink their orb casts and work to use them in the shorter time they’re available. 

Zenyatta

  • Orb of Discord damage amplification increased from 25 percent to 30 percent. 

Zenyatta’s Discord is now back to full strength in Patch 1.48, which takes back a reduction made many patches ago. Enemies with an Orb of Discord will now be taken down faster, bringing more power to dive compositions. 

Damage and tank hero changes 

Some of these changes, such as Bastion’s big overhaul, were tested in the Experimental Card. Others are completely new quality-of-life alterations introduced in this patch. 

Ashe

  • The Viper, secondary fire, now reaches max zoom halfway through Ashe’s aim down sights, instead of at its conclusion. 

This is an extremely fancy way of saying that Ashe’s gun will hone in on enemies faster. For a small change, it’ll give more power to a hero that’s been seeing a resurgence in competitive and Overwatch League play.  

Bastion

  • Configuration: Sentry weapon spread decreased 10 percent. Shots until max spread reduction lowered from 60 to 40. 
  • Self-Repair resource drain rate increased 20 percent. Healing per second increased from 75 to 90.

Bastion’s big changes made it from the Experimental Card to live servers, meaning he might be popping up in far more team compositions. His Sentry, or “turret” mode, has reduced spread and can inflict more defined damage on enemies. Self-repair is now more costly of a resource but does more healing. Overall, Bastion can inflict more specific damage and stay alive longer, which is terrifying for anyone in his path.  

D.Va

  • Restored functionality allowing D.Va to maintain her current aim pitch when de-meching. 

When casting the Self-Destruct ultimate or being damaged out of mech, a D.Va player often plans their escape by aiming where they want to end up. This change allows a player to keep that pitch to land in a more accurate spot.  

Doomfist

Seismic Slam

  • Players can now hold down the “Ability 2” button to use Seismic Slam as soon as able and valid, if using the aerial version. 
  • When landing very close or on top of enemies, the enemy will be pushed in front or away from Doomfist slightly, instead of sometimes having them end up beside or behind Doomfist.
  • Aerial Seismic Slam no longer has a slight acceleration time, which should make it arrive at the destination more reliably.

In short, this gives Doomfist players more control over Seismic Slam, which is cast in a “triangle” pattern on the ground and brings enemies toward Doomfist. Obviously, the ability was often overshot and enemies ended up behind the Doomfist player, which isn’t optimal for attacks. These Patch 1.48 changes should make the ability more consistent.  

Echo

  • Reduced the height of Echo’s head hit volume.

Junkrat

  • Frag Launcher projectiles maintain slightly more velocity on ricochet.
  • Concussion Mine projectile speed increased from 20 to 25. Ricochet distance off of enemy players greatly reduced.
  • Total Mayhem bomb detonation time reduced from one second to 0.7 seconds. Bomb spread increased 50 percent. 

Minimal changes to Junkrat’s abilities have made it from the Experimental Card to Patch 1.48. Concussion mines will be more consistent thanks to less ricochet and a faster projectile speed. The biggest change is to Junkrat’s passive, Total Mayhem, which releases bombs upon his elimination. The ability is now faster and spreads bombs over a larger space, so it could be much more damaging to enemies who forget about this little surprise.  

Mei

  • Cryo-Freeze now behaves like Mei’s Ice Wall when it comes to interactions. Cryo-Freeze will block line of sight and collision in much the same way.

In some scenarios, characters were able to cast abilities through Mei’s Cryo-Freeze, or her self-healing “ice block” ability. This change makes her Cryo-Freeze a “solid” block, so she can block area of effect abilities like D.Va’s Self Destruct more reliably.  

Reinhardt

  • Reduced the height of Reinhardt’s head hit volume, making it harder to hit him in the head from behind. 

In addition to these game and hero changes, various workshop mode alterations have been added for creators. The full list of changes can be found in the 1.48 patch notes. Competitive Deathmatch is also live until June 10, giving players a chance to compete in the highest level of a free-for-all for rewards and exclusive sprays.