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Earlier in the year, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan promised that players would see balance changes come to the game more often. With today’s patch on the Public Test Realm (PTR) coming just days after Experimental Mode launched on live servers, he appears to have kept his promise.
This patch starts the 1.46 line of Overwatch updates and includes the introduction of replay sharing features as well as a few big nerfs and buffs to important heroes.
Overwatch introduced the replay system last year after the overwhelming popularity of the Overwatch World Cup viewer. The replay system allows players to watch their 10 latest matches from any perspective they’d like, from their own first-person experience to a third-person observer view. While replays were effective for analyzing gameplay, players haven’t been able to share the replays without recording them using a third-party service.
As of Patch 1.46, players will be able to share replays with others by giving them a six-digit alphanumeric code. Other players can pull up that code and view the specified replay. According to developers, these codes will only be valid until the next patch hits live servers. Overwatch will keep track of these inputted codes so players won’t have to repeatedly put them in after watching a single replay.
Players can also now “pin” up to 10 additional replays to keep until the next patch. There’s also a new note feature for players to put in comments or details about the match within the replay. All of these new changes will be extremely helpful for players who are trying to analyze their gameplay and organize their thoughts.
- Ice Wall cooldown increased from 10 to 13 seconds
- Player collision now allows large heroes to fit through one-pillar gaps in walls
For the past several months, many professionals have complained about the oppressive abilities Mei brings to matches. One of her most-used abilities, Ice Wall, is getting a huge nerf in Patch 1.46. With an increased cooldown, players will have to plan their wall placement better. Tanks and large heroes can now fit through a single “pillar” gap in Mei’s Ice Wall. This means a team only has to target and destroy a single pillar of the wall to be able to move through it. Ice Wall will still be a strong ability, but these nerfs make it less overwhelming within the context of a team fight.
- Booster cooldown increased from three to four seconds
In a previous patch, D.Va’s Booster cooldown was drastically reduced from five to three seconds. As a result, the off-tank has seen increased playtime at nearly every level. A three-second cooldown is extremely quick, meaning D.Va can zip around the map and cause problems for any enemy hero. This nerf adds a single second to make her Boosters a bit less useful.
- Gravitic Flux ultimate cost reduced 10 percent
Sigma’s ultimate ability, Gravitic Flux, went through a host of changes in Patch 188.8.131.52. The speed reduction of the ultimate was decreased and Sigma could be stunned out of the ultimate. In PTR Patch 1.46, the changes keep coming. Sigma will now be able to use the ultimate faster since the charging time has effectively been reduced.
- Helix Rockets cooldown reduced from eight to six seconds
Is it finally time for “the legs” to make a return? Soldier: 76 hasn’t seen much play time since shield heroes took over the game, but this buff might be a step in the right direction. His most powerful burst damage ability, Helix Rockets, will be available faster after this change. This makes him more able to compete with meta heroes like McCree and Hanzo.
Like all patches on the PTR, Patch 1.46 is in its testing phase. Not all changes listed in the patch are guaranteed to make it to live Overwatch servers. The time between PTR upload and live server upload used to be around two weeks, but developers seem to be updating at a faster pace. Players could see some of these changes enacted within a week.