A patch has just gone live to the Overwatch PTR that buffs Mei (and changes four other heroes), adds an "Avoid As Teammate" option, and changes Blizzard World's Point B according to a post on the game's official forums.
One of the major changes being added to the game is a new "Avoid As Teammate" option. Currently in testing on the PTR, the new option allows players to select up to 2 people to be avoided for placement on their own team for a period of 7 days. The option is detailed in a Developer Update video by Overwatch Lead Designer & Game Director Jeff Kaplan:
The maximum number of two avoided players at any one time is a deliberate choice by Blizzard and can be adjusted up or down by them as needed. A natural consequence of the Avoid This Player option is that matchmaking times may go up across the board. Players who have been avoided by many people will receive a warning message letting them know about it and they will likely have to deal with increase matchmaking times when queuing by themselves or with smaller groups. Grouping up in a large group (or an outright six-stack) will result in regular matchmaking times resuming. Blizzard will be monitoring the situation closely and adjusting it as needed.
Developer Scott Mercer has explained changes coming to the game's reporting system in a post on the forums. The "Griefing" category is being renamed "Gameplay Sabotage" and the "Poor Teamwork" option is being removed entirely. The developers felt that these two options were redundant and they are therefore being merged into a single option. If you are to report someone for Gameplay Sabotage, they categorize it as a player who is "intentionally be trying to disrupt and harass their teammates or actively trying to lose"
Aside from the Avoid This Player option & reporting changes, the Blizzard World map is getting a small adjustment made to Point B. The capture point for Point B is being moved closer to the attacker's side. The developers felt that the current setup of the map currently on the live servers gave too strong of an advantage to the defenders and they're hoping that this change will balance things out a bit more fairly.
Blizzard World is also under consideration as having Point B added to the FFA Deathmatch rotation according to a forum post by Principal Level Designer David Adams. A thread started by Battle.net user Ampharos stated his belief that the map has many of the features that other maps in the FFA rotation have, namely a variety in areas for combat and opportunities for good 1v1s & larger areas for big brawls. The map will be coming to the FFA rotation in a future patch.
Five of the games heroes are getting changes. D.Va is having the explosive damage of her Micro Missiles reduced from 6 to 4 while the impact damage of 3 is remaining the same. This will result in an overall damage reduction of 22% to the ability. Zenyatta's secondary rate of fire is being reduced by 15%, making it a bit more difficult to land multiple shots at long ranges and reducing his overall DPS. Three of the game's heroes have slightly more substantial changes in the cards.
Mei is getting a buff for her Endothermic Blaster. Her primary fire will now pierce through enemies - this means that she can potentially freeze more than one enemy if they are in her line of fire. Her right click does not benefit from the same piercing buff. This change adds to the buffs that were pushed to the live servers for her at the end of February.
Reaper is getting some buffs as well; he was announced as a candidate for some improvements alongside Mei in a forum post a few days ago. His Death Blossom Ultimate will now reload his Hellfire Shotguns after it has completed. The movement speed bonus of his Wraith Form has been increased from 25% to 50%, and players can cancel the ability at any time by pressing Shift or Left Click.
The last hero to receive some changes in this PTR patch is Moira. The transparency of her Biotic Grasp will increase as you get closer to a target; this is to help reduce visibility issues with the ability when players are in close proximity. Similar changes have been put in effect for her Coalescence Ultimate and Fade ability.
Aside from the changes to Mei & other heroes, a few minor UI changes have been pushed and some bugs have been squashed. Be sure to read the full patch notes for all of the details. You can try out these changes for yourself on the Overwatch PTR right now - simply change your Region/Account to "Public Test Region".
What do you think of the changes made to Mei and the other heroes in this latest Overwatch PTR patch? Do you think the Avoid This Player option will help improve the game? Let us know in the comments below!