It was mentioned in a recent article that Roadhog would be getting a nerf to his hook relatively soon, and we didn't know how soon it would be at the time. That would be today, as Overwatch's PTR has been updated with a couple of overall changes to several heroes.
Now, I won't repeat the Roadhog nerfs as we covered it a few days ago in a previous article. But basically, this takes care of one of the biggest complaints I've seen in the Overwatch community. There was nothing more frustrating then getting hooked around a corner and somehow placed right in the perfect spot for Roadhog to kill you. Granted, this may make Roadhog's hook more consistent for him when he lands it with its new placement option. However, as a healer who'd always seemed to be pulled around a corner despite being out of line of sight, this change will make the game seem more fair, at least in my eyes.
One of the biggest changes in the overall competitive meta over the last few months has been the rise of D.Va. With her defense matrix, she's been able to negate a ton of damage from the enemy team, and beyond that, she's been able to absorb a ton of damage from characters like Reaper thanks to her armor. For those unaware armor in Overwatch acts a little bit differently from health. Unless the singular hit is more than 10 damage, it reduces the damage by half. So characters who have a lot of bullets but small damage per hit such as Soldier 76 would see D.VA just absorb the damage like a sponge.
However, the PTR update has targeted the armor, by upping her normal health from 200 to 400, but reducing her armor from 400 to 200. That means it's much easier to get through her armor, meaning characters like Reaper, Sombra, and Soldier 76 will have an easier time against her. From my analysis, this means that D.Va will have to be more reliant on her mobility to stay alive. Granted, her Defense Matrix is still one of the best abilities in the game from a sheer damage absorption standpoint, but she may have to put it up quicker thanks to the reduce in armor if she doesn't want her mech destroyed.
To understand the armor changes, let's use a practical example. Let's assume that we've got a Soldier 76 fighting a D.VA with no outside interference, and let's assume for the sake of simplicity that no headshots are landed and that D.Va can't use her defense matrix. Also for simplicity, let's assume that it's at medium range, and that Soldier 76 hits 10 damage per shot. I know that's a lot of assumptions, but considering the amount of factors, I really don't have a choice.
With D.Va's 400 armor from before and its damage reducing properties, this would mean that each of the initial shots hit by soldier 76 would be reduced to 5 damage. To burn through the armor, that would mean that he'd have to hit 80 shots in this scenario (5 * 80 = 400). Then, the remaining 200 health would mean that he'd have to hit 20 shots (200 health). A total of 100 shots. Now after the nerf, D.VA's 200 armor means that it takes 40 shots from Soldier 76 to burn through the armor, and it takes 40 shots to get through her health. That means that it takes 80 shots in total to get D.Va out of her mech in the PTR. So in total, it's almost an entire clip of damage (20) from Soldier 76 that has been saved: assuming the right circumstances. That is a significant amount of damage that has been reduced
But keep in mind that's in the right circumstances, and she can be focused down a bit more as her armor's protection can be removed easier. Healing from sources becomes a lot less effective due to not recovering the armor as quickly, especially with the other nerfs in this PTR. This means that D.VA has to rely on damage negation of her defense matrix a bit more, and her mobility.
However, that's not the only change that she's gotten. It looks like they targeted her damage output as well, as each bullet that she puts out reduced from 3 to 2 damage. To compensate, they have increased the amount of bullets per shot from 8 to 11, making her gun more shotgun-like than before. This reduces her overall max damage per shot, but she should be a tiny bit more effective in just hitting shots generally.
As for the healers, Ana was the one who was the targeted this time around, and that may have everything to do with the current 3 Tank meta in the game. Basically, her Biotic Grenade was the most effective healing option in the game, as its range and healing effect could restore a TON of damage being done to characters. It's usually why you saw her run in 3 tank lineups. However, that's what Blizzard has changed in this update, as the overall healing boost of her grenade has been cut in half. That's devastating when it comes to the overall output she could get on tanks in particular, and that means tanks can't be as aggressive as they were before. Ana will have to rely more on her rifle from now on, and she won't be able to top off 3 tanks like before.
Oh, and I should also note that Sombra's hack time has been cut from 1 second to 0.8 seconds. It helps, but her main problem in the eyes of the community is her gun's inconsistent spread, so I don't see this affecting the meta significantly.
There's also some general changes as well. In the kill feed, ultimate abilities will be indicated with an orange arrow, and headshot eliminations will be shown with a red icon. In addition, Players may be happy to see that this PTR update now has an emote wheel. Players can now equip up to 4 emotes, sprays, and voice lines that can be played through the character's emote wheel. In addition, they can now bind individual sprays, emotes, and voice lines to unique keys or mouse buttons. In short, expect more Mei voice lines to be spammed in the near future. I'm sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.
Quick TakeI see this reducing the 3 tank meta reasonably. It'll still be viable in certain situations, especially in defensive struggles. However, the aggression that a 3 tank lineup can put out will be significantly hampered by the lack of Ana's grenade along with D.Va's armor reduction. In addition, one of the biggest tools in that 3 tank lineup would be the consistency of Roadhog being able to pick out squishy classes with his hook, and from what I saw in competitive, a reasonable amount of hooks that would land now will miss. That hook was what would start a push as the pick would put the other team on the defensive. Now, I think you may see that 3rd tank be replaced by a flanker, as they may be able to more reliably take out those targets.
I will admit I am surprised however that Soldier 76 was not touched in this update. He was supposed to be the every man class, but since his latest buffs, he's been the go to DPS source. With the nerfs to D.Va and the change in the Roadhog hook, this makes him even more deadly as a constant source of damage. I see him getting nerfed next personally.