Jan 11 2017 - 4:34 pm

Additional Roadhog adjustments hitting Overwatch's public test realm

Sombra and Ana are getting small tweaks, too.
Nicole Carpenter
Dot Esports
Image via Blizzard

Overwatch developer Blizzard Entertainment is still working to get Roadhog's hook just right.

A new build will hit the Overwatch public test realm "very soon," according to Overwatch principal designer Geoff Goodman. The game's last PTR build went live on Jan. 5 with major adjustments to Roadhog's hook, but some fans felt Blizzard took things too far in the opposite direction.

It seems like Blizzard agreed. Hook 2.0 made it pretty easy for some targeted players (cough, Lúcio) to break free from a Roadhog hook by darting behind walls or into doorways. And that's good—Roadhog shouldn't be able to hook enemies through all objects. Someone sticking out from behind a light pole, though? That should be fair game, and Blizzard is trying to fix that.

"[We] added some more line of sight checks towards the left/right of a potential hook target," Goodman wrote. "This means it should be easier to hook someone who is sticking halfway out of a doorway, or behind a thin pole, etc." These checks are used in the persistent line of sight check, too, so enemies that dash behind a light pole or a tree stump—and are still visible to Roadhog—won't break free anymore, he added.

Enemies hooked and stunned by Roadhog will also be "heavily" slowed, even while in the air. "This means if someone is strafe jumping away from you and you land a hook, they are a lot less likely to slide out of line on sight, breaking the hook," Goodman said.

Roadhog's last adjustment is a bug fix that will no longer allow players to hook an enemy and pull them behind Roadhog if he spun around before landing the hook.

Sombra and Ana's changes are slight, but should make some players happy. Ana gets a tiny nerf to her biotic grenade, reducing its duration from five seconds to four seconds. This is added on top of the healing percentage nerf Blizzard deployed last week. The developer is offering a slight buff for Sombra, reducing her hack cooldown from 12 seconds to eight seconds.

So hop on the PTR, folks—it's the only way Blizzard will know if these changes are working or not.

Jan 19 2017 - 2:51 am

Lunar New Year Overwatch update confirmed by Blizzard

Its scope is still anyone's guess, though a Mei skin is practically inevitable.
Nicole Carpenter
Dot Esports
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Mei has her red envelopes ready. Do you have yours?

This year, Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch will get an update in celebration of the Lunar New Year. "Good luck and great fortune await," a tweet from Overwatch's official Twitter account reads. The short video reveals the event will go live next week on Jan. 24, but otherwise details are sparse.

In December, Blizzard teased that a new Mei skin would be released early in 2017, sparking speculation that a Lunar New Year event was coming. If the outfit in Overwatch's video is any indication, it's certain to make fans very happy—a stark contrast from the response toward Mei's legendary Winter Wonderland skin that disappointed many. An update from Overwatch's Korean Twitter suggests D.Va is getting a skin for the holiday, too.

Given the proximity to the Winter Wonderland event, which ended earlier in January, it's unclear just how big the Year of the Rooster event will be. It could just be a couple of skins, but we're hoping the event rivals Winter Wonderland and Halloween Terror and gets its own special brawl.

A celebration of the start of the lunisolar Chinese calendar, Lunar New Year begins Jan. 28, ushering in the Year of the Rooster.

Jan 16 2017 - 6:06 pm

Third-person health bars make competitive Overwatch easier to spectate

And Blizzard has added them to the game's public test region.
Nicole Carpenter
Dot Esports
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Thank you, Blizzard! Overwatch in-game spectators can now toggle on third-person floating health bars for both teams.

It's a feature that's going to make Overwatch esports much more pleasant to watch—and it'll have a positive influence in caster analysis, too. Blizzard quietly implemented floating health bars for spectators in the latest Overwatch public test region patch, though the feature is expected to make it to the live server soon.

"I think this is going to help casting quite a bit in some of these bigger fights," OGN Overwatch caster Erik "DoA" Lonnquist said in a video on the feature. "You call tell the narrative of the fight a little bit more. You can kind of see who is getting lower."

Previously, this information was only available in the third-person perspective by looking away from the fight and to the team lineup bars at the top. And given how chaotic Overwatch can be, looking away for any amount of time could cause confusion.

Third-person health bars are one of the features fans and casters have been clamoring for, with Blizzard promising that increased spectator functionality would continue to roll out. "I think it really shows that [Blizzard] is listening to us," DoA added. "They're looking at what needs to be done in spectator mode. They're taking the steps they need to make it better. Props to Blizzard for putting it in there."

Blizzard has not commented on when this feature will hit Overwatch's live server, but we're guessing DoA wants it before he starts casting season two of the OGN Overwatch APEX on Jan. 17.