Blizzard has made another round of changes to their smash team-based shooter Overwatch as of July 22nd. I love this game and I only play it on PS4, so let’s go over some of the new tweaks specific to the platform, shall we? By the way, I won’t be discussing every change in this latest patch, so for those who are curious about the entire list of tweaks, you can see the official PS4 patch notes here.
First up, D.Va. Although I’ve always thought she was cool as a concept, her first iteration left a lot to be desired. She’s a big, easy-to-hit target and her original shield power was so limited that her robo-ride was easily destroyed — honestly, she generally spent more time out of her mech than in it. Despite being classified as a tank, she never felt very tanky to me.
With the new patch, her shield has been changed so that instead of a single use with cooldown, it now works on-demand as long as she has enough juice saved up to power it. Basically, it’s a mini-verson of Reinhardt’s shield. It may not initially seem like a big change, but I find that in practice, it’s enormous.
With the ability to block incoming fire on demand, she’s able to really get in people’s faces and make trouble without instantly getting blown up. Combine that with her high mobility, and she gets really aggressive, really fast. Post-patch, I found that my kill-streaks went up almost immediately, and now I’m getting her into my regular rotation. I wouldn’t mind her guns doing a bit more damage, but overall, this is a super- positive change.
Zenyatta didn’t get a lot of love from people at first, but I always thought he was pretty good. I tend to use him hanging back in a semi-sniper role, although it was always a bummer how one lucky shot from the enemy team could take him out. The new changes give him a bit more life, his healing orbs get to people in the blink of an eye, and when he triggers Transcendent Healing, he absolutely zooms around the map while doing even more healing. I always liked Zenyatta, and now he’s even better. Another positive tweak from Blizzard here.
So, let’s talk about Turrets. I’ve always said that Torbjorn’s turrets have been wildly overpowered from the start, and despite PC players (and Blizzard itself) thinking that the problem was the inability of console players to aim, that’s not how I see it.
From the get-go, his little demon spawn had a ton of life, they dished out a ton of damage, they never missed, and their range was absurd. The game says their firing range is 40 meters, but if you look at most of the maps, there’s almost no place where a sniper can line up a shot from more than 40 meters away unless a turret is dead-center in a wide-open street… the way that no Torbjorn ever sets them up! Anybody trying to eliminate one is always within range.
On top of that, Torbjorn’s super buffs a turret into a punishing third level of power, and it’s very common occurrence to see an entire team get wiped by one. I don’t want to hear a damn thing about my “inability to aim” because these turrets were OP from any angle. The new patch has reduced the damage dealt by these beasts by 30%, which is a great step in the right direction. I’d still like to see their effective range reduced, but this is a welcome change.
On the other hand, I’ve always found that Symmetra was a good character from day one. Her small turrets had a very short range, they weren’t overpowered, and they could be easily destroyed by just about anyone once their location was discovered. I never saw her as problematic in any way. In light of this, Blizzard’s move to nerf her turret damage by 30% was absolutely baffling. This character who was already situational and never a powerhouse got the same nerf as the most overpowered character in the game? Why? Who was asking for it? As far as I can tell… nobody.
I use her quite a bit, and after putting her through her paces yesterday, I immediately noticed that I was just doing damage in places where I would expect to get a kill, and considering her “give armor” power is already pretty weak, that just leaves her as someone who basically sets up a teleporter. I have absolutely no idea why they changed her — was it maybe some broad strokes change to “all turrets” instead of the ones that needed it? I feel like this reduction in her power was a big mistake, and I hope she gets restored in the next patch.
Last but certainly not least, new character Ana has been added to the roster. She’s a double-duty sniper with a gun that heals allies and hurts enemies at distance. She also has biotic grenade that does damage and prevents healing in enemies, while doing the opposite for allies. Her third power is a sleep dart which instantly knocks enemies out — very useful for stopping supers before they do damage. Her ultimate is a general power-up which buffs allies with increased damage, speed, and damage resistance.
I haven’t used Ana a great deal yet, but I like what I see. Her grenades are quite effective at keeping teammates alive and her sleep dart is powerful — Not only do they make Reaper sit down and be quiet, it’s hard to take her out of the fight since she can knock an approaching attacker down with one shot and scurry away.
It’s an interesting design choice that she has no way to get to higher elevations the way that the other snipers in the game do, but so far she seems most effective staying near the team and firing forward rather than hanging back and shooting from the rear. It’s early days yet but so far she seems quite powerful, and I’m looking forward to spending more time getting to know her.
Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody's looking, and his favorite game of all time is a toss-up between the first Mass Effect and The Witcher 3. You can catch his written work here at GameCritics and you can hear him weekly on the @SoVideogames Podcast. Follow Brad on Twitter and Instagram at @BradGallaway, or contact him via email:
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