Overwatch's Meta is Changing, But Not Because of Ana
Over the past two weeks, most of Overwatch's headlines were due to the announcement of its 22nd hero, the support sniper named Ana. Her addition has now given the game at least five heroes in each of the game's four roles (Offense, Defense, Tank, Support) and her abilities are unique and have the potential to be game-changing at times. As with any unique character-based game like Overwatch, a new addition to the pool has the potential to shake up the meta.
But after many hours of playtime in both Quick Play and Competitive, as well as her inception to tournament and professional play, it's easy to see that Ana is solely destined to be a supplemental pick at times, at least in her current iteration.
Ana has potential to be strong, but other Supports do her job better right now.
Ana's Biotic Rifle heals teammates and damages enemies, but both the heal and damage output are done better by other heroes in the game. And that's what it all boils down to: what hero can do its job in its role the best?
Along with Ana came a brand new update for the game that brought a large amount of balancing tweaks and changes to multiple heroes. The meta is changing in a big way, but it's not because of Ana.
Zenyatta's Return to Glory
For a long time, the Supports in play were restricted to Mercy and Lucio. They've both seen minor changes in the update but are still incredibly viable for their own reasons. The biggest change to the Support game, though, came to everyone's favorite Omnic Monk, Zenyatta.
Zenyatta is now a must thanks to his recent buffs.
- Base shields increased by 50 (now 50 Health/150 Shield)
- Primary fire weapon damage decreased from 45 to 40
- Alternate fire weapon damage increased from 35 to 40
- Orb of Discord and Orb of Harmony
- Projectile speed has been increased from 30 to 120
- Movement speed is now doubled upon activation
- Healing amount increased from 200 to 300 health per second
Once one of the squishiest heroes in the game, Zenyatta's additional 50 shields now makes him markedly more survivable. As the +50 shields regenerate over time, his ability to stay in the fight has never been better.
Zenyatta has always been dangerous thanks to his Orb of Discord, but the acceleration of the speed of it from 30 to 120 makes him a must-play, as it increases the amount of damage taken by the target by 50%. Not to be left out is his Ultimate ability, as Transcendence turns him into a speed demon that can contest a point and heal teammates with force.
The days of only seeing Mercy and Lucio as Supports are over, as most if not all pro teams have switched to using Zenyatta as Support 1 and Mercy or Lucio as Support 2 depending on the map and situation.
D.Va is Finally a Real Tank
Another one of the biggest and most notable changes came to D.Va, who rarely saw time in pro play other than sometimes being a last-minute switch to contest a final objective point. With the changes made to her abilities, she's now a common sight in the current 2 DPS, 2 Tank, 2 Support meta.
The buffs to D.Va took her from irrelevance to common-play.
- Defense Matrix
- Cooldown decreased from 10 seconds to 1 second
- A new resource meter has been added. This meter will deplete while Defense Matrix is active and then recharge when it’s not in use.
- Defense Matrix takes 10 seconds to reach full charge from empty
- At a full charge, Defense Matrix will last for 4 seconds
- Defense Matrix will now remain active as long as its assigned hotkey is held
- Defense Matrix has been reclassified as an alternate fire and is now bound to RMB (by default)
- An option to “Toggle Defense Matrix” has been added under Options > Controls > D.Va
- Ultimate cost decreased by 15%
- Explosion delay reduced from 4 seconds to 3 seconds
- Explosion no longer damages D.Va (the player who activates it)
The changes to D.Va's Defense Matrix now make her feel like an actual tank that has survivability, whereas in the past she was quick to be melted by DPS characters thanks to her large headshot hitbox. The ability to toggle Defense Matrix gives her much more flexibility when contesting a point and flying into a team fight.
D.Va's Self-Destruct Ultimate ability is now much more dangerous, too, thanks to a decrease in explosion delay from four seconds to three seconds. Coupled with the fact that the explosion no longer damages the D.Va that activates it, her Ultimate is no longer just for clearing an objective. It can do serious damage if used correctly to surprise a team without a Reinhardt shield to soak up the blast.
Overwatch esports, AKA McCree-sports
When the game first launched, McCree was an absolute devastator with his 'Fan the Hammer' right click ability that emptied his six-round chamber into an enemy. It melted tanks and squishies alike, and it got toned down in the game's first balance update. When this happened, McCree quickly faded into obscurity as Soldier: 76 and Pharah saw a lot of DPS playtime.
Now, Jesse McCree is back with a vengeance, this time with his left click.
McCree's right click was nerfed into oblivion, but now his left click is a monster.
- Now maintains full damage at longer distances, but will deal less damage at extreme ranges
The change may seem minor at first, but McCree's primary fire is now a game-changer in the DPS department. Accurate damage-doers will now two or three-shot squishy heroes at most ranges, and his headshot has the ability to once again destroy Tanks like Roadhog and Reinhardt. Plus, Pharah is now a risky pick at all times as she is easily countered by both McCree and Soldier: 76.
Pro play has quickly seen a shift back to using McCree as primary DPS players have flocked back to the outlaw-turned-Overwatch member. His kit was already strong, especially his flashbang and Ultimate, but he is now a constant threat in the field of play that should be focused nearly as much as Supports. When McCree is alive, the whole enemy team is in danger.
Bastion, Lucio, Roadhog, Mercy and Soldier: 76 all saw minor tweaks as well in the update, but the changes to Zenyatta, D.Va and McCree have brought them front and center to the current meta.
What do you think of Overwatch's new patch? Sound off in the comments below.
Follow @GAMURScom for more Overwatch esports news and features.