Overwatch’s next Experimental Card will target crowd control skills

Overwatch needs to "walk a fine line" with stuns.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch is taking aim at crowd control skills in its upcoming Experimental Card.

The general reasoning behind the experiment is to decrease the impact of those abilities in the game. The test will affect a total of seven different heroes scattered across all classes.

Crowd control skills, more commonly known as CC, are “abilities that heroes can do to other heroes that cause them to lose control of their character,” game director Jeff Kaplan described. They include Mei’s freeze, McCree’s Stuns, and basically all of Doomfist’s kit.

The Experimental Card will decrease the length of the stun on Reinhardt’s Earthshatter by half a second, down to 2.5 seconds. The mode will also fix the duration of Sigma’s Accretion to 0.8 seconds regardless of distance, a significant reduction in its firepower.

Blizzard took the opposite approach with Roadhog, however, and increased the knockback on his ultimate by 20 percent. The overhauled version of the skill can be more frustrating to fight against as long as the pellets keep connecting.

“It’s not as much of a pure buff as it might seem at first,” Kaplan said. “While you will knock enemies back more, you’re also likely to push them out of damage more.”

Crowd control skills are a core part of damage heroes, such as McCree and Mei. Both characters will receive a nerf with the next Experimental Card. Blizzard will drop the duration of the stun on McCree’s Flashbang to 0.7 seconds (down from 0.85). Mei will also see a drop in the duration of the freeze effect from her primary fire (1.3 seconds, down from 1.5) and ultimate (4.25 seconds, down from five).

Support characters didn’t avoid changes in the Experimental Card, either. Brigitte and Ana saw small nerfs to their effect abilities. The duration of the stun effect on the infamous Shield Bash will drop to 0.65 (down from 0.75), while Ana’s Sleep Dart will only disable players for up to five seconds instead of six.

The gameplay changes won’t necessarily make their way to the live servers, however. Experimental Card is a separate game mode that doesn’t affect the balancing on the base game and allows players to test new features and updates without having to download patches or enter the Public Test Region (PTR).

Blizzard hasn’t officially announced a release schedule yet, but the official forum post mentions that the new set of changes will be live “later this afternoon.”