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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.

Sombra Revealed At BlizzCon!

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Finally! After months of teasing her, Blizzard has unveiled Sombra! It all started at the Opening Ceremony at BlizzCon 2016 with a video showing the behind the scenes with the launch of Overwatch. The video started to get corrupted and pixelated which led into the animated short featuring Sombra called Infiltration:

A Bit of Background

Sombra is a person who has been virtually infiltrating organizations, governments, and politicians since childhood with her superior hacking skills. One day she was compromised as someone found out about her. She was forced to delete any and all traces of her. She adopted the identity of Sombra when she came out of hiding; and geared with integrated new tech to boot. Before disappearing and becoming Sombra, she worked with Mexico’s Los Muertos gang. Currently, Sombra works with the terrorist organization Talon.

Weapons & Skills

Sombra is equipped with an SMG that has a short range spread.

  • Hack – Sombra’s secondary. Hack allows her to temporarily stop heroes from using their abilities. She can disable Torbjorn’s turret and she can disable health relics for enemies while augmenting them for allies.
  • Thermoptic Camo – Sombra can become fully invisible and gains increased movement speed for a short duration. Attacking, using abilities or taking damage removes this effect.
  • Translocator – Sombra can throw a translocator beacon projectile to a location that lasts for a short duration. When activated, Sombra instantly teleports to the beacon’s position (including if the beacon is in mid flight).
  • EMP – Sombra’s ultimate. This skill sends out a large electromagnetic pulse in an area that disables enemy barriers and shields and applies Hack to any enemy caught in the blast.
  • Opportunist – this is a passive where any enemy under 50% health can be seen through walls by Sombra

Of course, a demonstration of the skills would be helpful so here you go:

I can see Sombra being constantly in the back line taking down or disrupting targets. I think the combination of her camo and translocator will make her insanely mobile horizontally and vertically. She’ll also have a great way to get in, burst and get out. Her ability to hack health relics will also be helpful in deterring enemies from extended fights. I’m not sure about what you can and can’t stop with the EMP but as players learn that you’ll be able to play her to great potential. Also the collapsing of shields and barriers will make Sombra a pain for heroes that depend on shields for damage mitigation such as Reinhardt, Zarya, & Winston. Right now, I think of Sombra as a utility Genji.

Sombra is a character that will definitely shake up how the game is played. As a person who like the concept of hacking and stealth/rogue classes, I can’t wait to get my hands on her. Blizzard said that Sombra would be available on PTR as soon as BlizzCon is over. So you can pretty much look forward to trying her out at next week.