Sources: Impending OW2 Balance Patch - OWL To Play On New Patch During Playoffs
As an Overwatch League (OWL) spokesperson confirmed to GGRecon, the Overwatch League is looking to deploy a balance patch onto the practice server for OWL teams on the evening of Monday, October 24th, ahead of the playoffs week starting on Sunday, October 30th. Teams have been informed about the contents of the balance patch Monday morning, October 17th.
Teams from the APAC region will travel and arrive in Los Angeles on October 24th while October 28th is North America's travel day. The 29th of October will entail mandatory content production dates which teams will have to attend, though the rest of the day is available for practice. This leaves participating playoff teams with an approximate maximum amount of five practice days on the new balance patch.
OWL team sources have alleged to GGRecon that the balance patch could have a considerable impact on the outcome of the playoffs. GGRecon is working on confirming the contents of the patch notes and we expect an update soon.
The Overwatch League Responds
GGRecon reached out to the Overwatch League for comment and has been provided with the following statements by an Overwatch League spokesperson.
Why has the League opted to introduce a balance patch prior to the start of the playoffs?
"The League's goal has always been to mirror the live game as much as possible, and this is an effort to do just that. With Overwatch 2 in the hands of over 25 million players, it’s critical for the League to be representative of the game being played by the community, and we’re excited that our grandest stage will reflect that."
Are there enough PPAs for all APAC teams during the week and for all participating playoff teams for Friday, October 29th, when all teams are present at the event location?
"Yes, all teams have dedicated PPAs throughout the duration of their trip for the OWL playoffs and Grand Finals."
What Team Sources say
GGRecon asked individuals inside the Overwatch League for their opinion on the timing of the implementation of the patch and the impact they expect from the contents of the patch. The sources included players, coaching staff, and General Managers who have asked for anonymity to be able to share their opinion with GGRecon. The answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
How do you feel about the timing of the balance patch intended to go live on October 24th?
“Not ideal, but you always got to prepare for changes in an evolving game.“
“I think it's a crazy decision, playoffs always tend to be on a new patch but we normally at least get a few weeks to figure stuff out. If you consider the travel times it's so much of a gamble, especially considering that the changes feel very significant. The problem ultimately is whoever made the decision to push play-ins a week and play it on a different patch. Presumably, the new patch is in relation to trying to keep things fair for those teams. I think sometimes Blizzard doesn't consider how much this means to us and how important it is for our careers and lives.”
“It’s unfortunate Blizzard decides to do it this way. This is just like whatever year, they have bigger, more important agenda for the game becoming successful so the schedule of the release of patches not complimenting the competitive schedule is unfortunate but understandable.”
“It feels terrible to have your career goals messed with by a balance patch like that. If it helps viewership, I can see why they did it though.”
“The current goal for OWL seems to be to maximize for viewership, with less focus on the most competitive outcome. Therefore you need to get to a meta that is fun to watch and include Kiriko in whatever the teams will be playing on for the largest event of the year. Playoff teams don’t get any additional practice time on the patch relative to play-in teams and I can see how that could be upsetting. The counterpoint is that you want everyone on a pretty level playing field if they're going to bother heading out to Cali. Another point is this year was already pretty wild anyways, so why not have a curveball at the end.”
Depending on its contents, do you think the included balance patch has a chance to impact the outcome of the playoffs?
“They definitely can impact playoffs but it will be interesting to see how teams adapt. The best teams should still show up.”
“Of course, it always has ever since season 2.”
“A balance patch close to the match will probably open up chances of upsets.”
“They hit some of the most important heroes this season. It’s hard to say how it will impact the meta before we get to practice on it. I think this changes a lot though.”
“Not sure how big an impact the changes actually have, but based on others' commentary it seems like they're big enough to at least have some impact.”
Update: Sources have told GGRecon that the following patch notes have been shared with the OWL teams.
- Hack ability lockout duration reduced from 1.75 to 1.5 seconds
- Hacked enemies are no longer valid targets for hacking for the duration of the effect
- Hacked damage multiplier reduced from 40 to 25%
- Maximum ammo reduced from 30 to 24
- Shuriken damage reduced from 29 to 27
- Barrier duration reduced from 2.5 to 2 seconds
- Barrier cooldown increased from 10 to 11 seconds
- Fusion Cannon spread increased from 3.5 to 3.75
- Boosters impact damage reduced from 25 to 15
When asked for comment on the validity of these patch notes, an Overwatch League spokesperson shared the following: "Patch details will be shared with the community ahead of the OWL Playoffs."
Update 2: A prior version of the patch notes included errors. These have now been fixed.