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Impactful Overwatch Hero Changes In January 2017

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Overwatch released it’s first major balance patch for the year of 2017 including big changes to D.Va and Roadhog. I’ll be going over each of the changes and how impactful they are. I’ll also go over how other heroes are affected by these changes.

Ana

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Biotic Grenade is now less potent as the effect duration went down from 5 to 4 and the healing boost to allies has been decreased by 50%.
It seems that the Biotic Grenade change brought Ana more in line with the other healers. However, Ana is still a good single target healer. Lucio will still probably be the “meta healer” used in most compositions for the speed utility. It will be interesting to see if Ana retains that title as well. The healing nerf might be enough to allow more of Mercy or Zenyatta as the second healer for the revive or discord utility.

D.Va

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D.Va is one hero that got some changes that really affects current play. Her health and armor got changed from 200 health and 400 armor to 400 health and 200 armor. Since armor absorbs more damage than health, this makes D.Va more vulnerable to damage so she can no longer dive an entire team without consequence. D.Va’s guns also got a bit of a nerf. The bullet damage has been decreased from 3 to 2 and the number of bullets per shot has been increased from 8 to 11. So each shot from D.Va’s gun does overall 22 damage from 24 damage.
The health and armor changes are the bigger parts of how D.Va is played now. D.Va was very hard to burn down unless she was focus fired which could provide difficult given her Defense Matrix could soak up projectiles. The health and armor changes to D.Va allows spread shot characters like Reaper back into play. Before the patch, D.Va could 1v1 a Reaper quite easily.
D.Va will probably see less play in exchange for a DPS or another tank. So there may be more 2 Tank, 2 DPS, 2 Healer compositions again. This, in turn, would allow flankers like Genji and Tracer to come back. D.Va is still decent to play but requires a lot more reserved play.

Lucio

There is now an option to allow Lucio to perform backward wall riding. I’m not sure of the full potential of this option but this could provide interesting ways to kite while keeping sight on enemies. Also, it’s super fun to do.

Roadhog

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Roadhog received a change that caused a lot of talk: his hook. Chain Hook now pulls enemies directly in front of Roadhog (unless turning drastically) and hooked targets are released if they break line of sight before being pulled. Line of sight hooks are now determined by Roadhog’s position rather than the hook’s position.
What this all means is that Roadhog can no longer hook enemies from around walls or corners when an enemy gets hooked but successfully break out of Roadhog’s sight. This does mean that Chain Hook is now more reliable. Enemies will always be pulled to the same location so Roadhog can followup with the headshot melee combo to guarantee kills on 200 HP heroes.
I believe Roadhog is still viable but will require more skill to land hooks. It will probably be harder to hook heroes like Tracer who can blink behind a corner as you land a hook.

Sombra

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Sombra received a buff to her Hack skill. The cooldown has gone from 12 seconds to 8 and the time to hack a target has gone down from 1 to 0.8 seconds.
The improvements to Hack was very helpful to Sombra as it helps synergize more with her other skills and obviously allows her to hack health packs and enemies more. Given the improvement, Sombra still requires some help as the main reason you take Sombra is not necessarily for her damage or pick potential but for her EMP; using it to disable the enemy team and as a go signal for your team to dive.
Overall, we will probably see more variation in picks in the coming weeks. Less D.Va for another tank to keep triple tank with Roadhog or another DPS option. There will be probably more variation in the second healer pick other than almost always Ana. It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out.

Overwatch Beta Starts October 27th!

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For those of you interested in Overwatch, Blizzard’s upcoming First Person shooter, you’ll be happy to hear that beta will be starting on October 27th. Blizzard stated in their latest Overwatch blog post that they are looking for player feedback on the core game and server stability.

There will be two types of betas:

  • Closed Beta – a small number of testers that will have regular access. This will mainly be to test core systems.
  • Best Test Weekends – a large number of people can play for a certain amount of time. This will be for stress testing. These weekends will run in parallel with the closed beta.

Sadly the beta will be for Windows-only. You’ll also need the Battle.net desktop app to play. You’ll receive an email if you’re accepted into either of the two beta options with instructions on how to proceed. If you don’t get into Closed Beta, perhaps you’ll get in on a beta weekend. The first Beta Test Weekend is slated for after BlizzCon 2015; this year BlizzCon is on November 6th and 7th.

If you’re looking to get in, good luck!