Overwatch has a new Developer Update out, and Game Director Jeff Kaplan spends his time on camera talking about some upcoming PTR changes for six of the game’s heroes.

Six of the heroes in Overwatch are getting balance changes in the near future, some of which are live for player testing right now. Doomfist, Mei, & Sombra have had a number of buffs and nerfs made to them and can now be tested on the game’s current PTR patch. Hanzo’s changes should be coming soon, and Torbjörn & Symmetra are being worked on behind the scenes to make them more viable. Take a look at the video itself to hear the explanation in Papa Jeff’s own words:

The full patch notes for the current PTR version are available to read on /r/CompetitiveOverwatch (as well as Blizztrack, although the Sombra portion is missing). Here are the changes that you can play right now:

  • Doomfist
    • Hand Cannon ammo recovery buffed to 0.65 seconds per bullet (from 0.8 seconds)
  • Mei
    • Freeze duration on Endothermic Blaster buffed to 1.5 seconds (from 1.0 seconds). For clarity, this means enemies will freeze longer than they are now in the live version.
    • Icicles cost 20 ammo (down from 25 ammo).
  • Sombra
    • EMP no longer blocked by small objects like signposts
    • No longer gains Ultimate charge from health packs
    • Hack cast reduced to 0.65 seconds (down from 0.8)
    • Hack now disables the following abilities:
      • Genji – Cyber-agility (wall climb & double jump)
      • Hanzo – Wall climb
      • Pharah – Hover jets
      • Lúcio – Healing & Speed Boost (disables song completely) & wall ride
      • Mercy – Angelic Descent (gliding)
    • Machine pistol spread reduced to 2.7 (down from 3)
    • Opportunist now triggers at anything below 100% health (currently 50% health on Live) for enemy health bars (expanded on by Principal Designer Geoff Goodman on the forums). The wall-hack will still only show up at 50% health or lower.
    • Translocator stays active for 20 seconds (up from 15 seconds)

Hanzo is due for an update next, with developers considering several ideas behind the scenes. A horizontal leap (useful for disengagement and possible fancy shots) is under consideration. They’re also looking at a secondary ability that lets you fire five arrows much faster than usual. The implication that Scatter Arrow may be going the way of the dodo is strong.

Finally, Symmetra and Torbjörn can look forward to some improvements, but they’re still a ways off as compared to the other heroes listed above. At the moment, these two heroes are picked less than 1% of the time across all levels of competitive play (and even less when you go up to Grandmaster level). If any of the changes being made on this current patch make their way to the live version of Overwatch, they likely won’t be available in the Overwatch League until the beginning of Stage 3 on April 4, 2018.

If you’d like to try out the changes to Doomfist, Mei, & Sombra, PC players can check them on the PTR server right now. Simply change your region to “Public Test Region” on the Blizzard Battle.net client and get right into it.

What do you think of the proposed changes coming to six of the heroes in Overwatch? Are there any that you think will be particularly game-changing? Let us know in the comments below!

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Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!