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Today must feel like Christmas for tank mains in Overwatch since extensive changes to their favorite heroes have arrived in the game’s new Experimental Mode. Triple Damage is the first experiment to hit Overwatch servers, announced yesterday by game director Jeff Kaplan. The mode allows teams to field three damage dealers, two supports, and only one tank. To make the mode more balanced, off-tanks and tanks were given a host of fun updates.
As revealed in the patch notes and Kaplan’s Developer Update, the changes to off-tanks and tanks won’t affect standard Overwatch whatsoever. None of these changes apply to competitive mode, quick play, or arcade modes.
Overall, the balance changes for Triple Damage, also known as 3-2-1, give tanks more survivability and fewer cooldowns on abilities. Off-tanks, especially Roadhog and Zarya, have been given the most extensive changes to allow them the freedom to operate as a solo tank.
- Adjusted armor to health ratio. Her total health is still 600, but the armor health pool increased from 200 to 400 and her base health decreased from 400 to 200.
- Defense Matrix duration increased from two seconds to four seconds.
- Primary fire movement penalty reduced from 50 percent to 30 percent.
These changes make D.Va more able to absorb incoming damage and ultimates with her Defense Matrix. She’s still a mobile hero thanks to the reduction in movement penalty while she shoots. The armor to health ratio adjustment is something players will notice in many Experimental Mode tank changes. While it doesn’t affect the full health of any hero, it changes how armor is depleted and renewed as the game goes on.
- Take a Breather now leaves behind a cloud when used. This cloud heals all allies within it for 25 health per second and provides 25 percent damage reduction.
- Chain Hook cooldown reduced from eight seconds to six seconds.
- Scrap Gun, primary fire, damage per pellet reduced from six to five. This means 150 damage per shot down goes down to 125 damage.
- Whole Hog ultimate cost increased by 15 percent.
Roadhog may be a one-man apocalypse, but now he’s also a one-man tanking machine. While his primary fire and ultimate received a pretty substantial nerf, he’s now able to heal allies and reduce their chance of dying from incoming damage. This new ability, combined with his hook cooldown, means that teams with a Roadhog should be prioritizing movement as one terrifying unit.
- Shield health pool increased from 200 to 300. Zarya’s total health is now 500.
- Maximum energy gain per barrier decreased from 40 to 30.
- Particle Cannon’s primary fire maximum damage per second reduced from 170 to 14.
- Particle Cannon secondary fire maximum damage reduced from 95 to 80.
- Self Particle Barrier cooldown decreased from 10 seconds to eight seconds.
- Allied Particle Barrier Now creates barriers on all allies within eight meters of the target and the duration is increased from two seconds to three seconds.
Zarya has basically been turned into a barrier machine. Most of her changes are minimal, with minor damage reduction and cooldown adjustments. The biggest alteration is in her allied Particle Barrier, which now creates barriers on all allies near a target instead of protecting only one target. This will allow Zarya to protect her entire team and farm energy easily.
- Protective Barrier cooldown reduced from 10 seconds to eight seconds.
- Barrier health increased to 900.
Orisa’s changes are reversions of balance changes she’s experienced on the live servers. These Experimental Mode changes make her stronger as a main tank and allow her to better protect teams with her barrier shield.
- Adjusted armor to health ratio. Reinhardt’s total health is still 500. His armor health pool increased from 200 to 300 and his base health decreased from 300 to 200.
- Primary fire damage increased from 75 to 90.
- Barrier Field regeneration rate increased from 200 to 250 per second.
Reinhardt manages well as a solo tank and always has. In the days before role queue, he was the go-to choice to protect entire teams. These minor changes give him a bit more armor to work with and make him more able to deal damage alongside his team.
- Experimental Barrier regeneration rate increased from 120 to 200 per second.
- Experimental Barrier health increased from 900 to 1,200.
Much like Orisa, Sigma’s changes are reversions of balance updates on the live servers. His barrier gets a huge bump in health and will regenerate at a higher rate to better protect allies.
- Armor health pool increased from 100 to 200, so Winston’s health is now 600.
- Barrier Projector cooldown reduced from 13 seconds to 10 seconds.
Our favorite scientist gets a minor health improvement, making him harder to take down when he’s acting as a solo tank. With the big reduction in cooldown on his “bubble,” he’ll be able to use it more often to shield teammates.
Experimental Mode launched today as a part of a large Overwatch update, which also included the Ashe Mardi Gras challenge. Players can earn wins within Experimental Mode that can go toward the number required to unlock an epic skin for Ashe.