Apr 6 2016 - 4:37 pm

Overwatch patch brings competitive ranked play, temporarily breaks Soldier: 76

Blizzard released the highly anticipated Competitive Play mode for Overwatch in a patch last night that broke one of game's the most played heroes
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Blizzard released the highly anticipated Competitive Play mode for Overwatch in a patch last night that broke one of game's the most played heroes.

The ranked mode will place players into tiers within divisions throughout monthly seasons, allowing you to rank up solo or within a group. Groups will be matchmade against other "similarly sized" groups and can be of any size.

The patch also introduced a number of new Legendary skins, bringing the number for each character in-line with game director Jeff Kaplan’s goal of having the same number at launch.

Equipping one of the introduced skins for Soldier: 76, however, caused the player to go invisible during a game.

“Due to the impact of this issue, we've temporarily disabled Soldier: 76 until we can patch in a fix,” Blizzard community manager Stephanie “Lylirra” Johnson said. “While not ideal, unfortunately the same issue that's causing the unintended invisibility is also preventing us from disabling the skin on its own.”

The fix should be coming in a patch detailed for ‘later this week’ but until then, Soldier: 76 has been disabled from play.

Balance changes for this patch have been focused on the support classes, with some much-needed nerfs coming for Symmetra. The transporter-building support saw some of the highest win-rates in the beta, even as far back as BlizzCon 2015, and was a staple in the currently evolving competitive meta.

Nerfs to Zenyatta’s discord and harmony orbs in the last patch combined with a reduction in Symmetra’s shields from 50 to just 25 additional health points should see an end to the dual-Zenyatta-plus-Symmetra “triple support” meta.

A quality of life adjustment for Mei allows you to cancel her Ice Wall early in the same way you can cancel her self-healing Cryo-Freeze. Similarly, Mercy can now cancel her fast flight ability, Guardian Angel, while also reducing its cooldown. She also receives a buff for her sidearm pistol which now automatically reloads whenever switching back to the healing staff, as does Torbjörn’s Rivet Gun when switching to the hammer.

Further updates have been made to the game’s spectator UI, in particular the hexagonal hero portraits have been replaced by a more standard row of hero icons and healthbars across the top of the screen. This is intended to make it clearer who is still alive, who has their ultimate ability, and what health all players are on at a glance.

Blizzard has also introduced a “Leaver Penalty” to discourage players from dropping out of an in-progress match. Failure to maintain a certain rate of completion will result in a 75 percent reduction in XP earned. To counteract the often over-zealous auto-kick for idle players in spawn, Blizzard has upped the time before players who have picked a hero are removed to 45 seconds after a match begins.

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