Here's what you need to know on the new overwatch PTR Patch

12:00, 10 Jan 2020

A brand new patch has just hit the player test realm (PTR) and options are already flying off the shelves. The patch comes just over a month before the 2020 Overwatch League season is set to begin and some community members are skeptical in the patch’s strength in changing the meta, and I tend to agree. Let’s breakdown each change one-by-one and if you need a quick review, check below for a TL;DR.

Baptiste

  • Immortality Field maximum duration reduced from 8 to 5 seconds
  • Immortality Field cooldown increased from 20 to 25 seconds
  • Amplification Matrix ultimate cost increased by 20%

On Control sub-maps like Control Center or University, Baptiste still might see some play. The fact that Immortality Field effectively adds health to your team’s total health pool every 25 seconds all the while being a counter to large team fight ultimates makes this ability incredibly powerful. What this change does is create more of a window (no pun intended) for punishment if a team can bait out the enemy team’s Immortality Field.

Mei

  • Endothermic Blaster slowing effect now reduces enemy movement speed from 20-70%, down from 30-90%
  • Slowing effect duration reduced from 1.5 to 1.0 second

Mei’s tweaks almost seem like a quality of life update rather than substantial nerfs. The issue here is the fact that she not only has no damage falloff on her secondary fire but more importantly her left click pierces through enemies! While her slow might not be as substantial, the fact that she can apply it to more than one target at once is the main culprit of her strength. Couple this with the flexibility of altering the terrain of the map for defensive and offensive purposes and you’ve got a character that isn’t going away anytime soon.

D.Va

  • Boosters cooldown decreased from 5 to 3 seconds

This is the blockbuster change that is the most interesting to me. D.Va getting additional mobility could give legs to the idea that Dive, as a composition, could see a return to form. We’ve seen this done quite well in the Chinese scene with the Shanghai Dragons academy team, Team CC, breaking out both Winston and D.Va to a great deal of success in their domestic Contenders seeding tournament. With Tracer creeping back slowly and Reaper doing well for himself, D.Va has the chance to become a meta staple with this change.

Orisa

  • Fortify damage reduction reduced from 50% to 40%

Again, the constant theme here is that Blizzard sees what heroes are problematic but misses the mark. Lowering Fortify’s damage reduction by 10% is a nice start, but if you want to see actual change, we’re going to need more then just a single number or ratio changed. Why not increase Halt’s cooldown or roll back the cooldown on Fortify? I appreciate the caution, but this isn’t going to really shift the power away from Orisa.

Hanzo

  • Primary fire maximum projectile speed reduced from 125 to 110

Hanzo does a considerable amount of damage, changing his projectile speed doesn’t change the fact that he’s the defacto DPS paired with Sigma and Orisa. Hanzo’s still great into Winston, Hanzo’s still great at breaking shields, Hanzo still has both vertical and horizontal mobility—Hanzo is still really good. This change might reduce some of the flexibility when it comes to which players can easily pick this up, but given a reasonable amount of time, those same players are going to quickly come up to speed with the rest of the pack.

Doomfist

  • Uppercut recovery time increased from 0.2 to 0.5 seconds

This is an oddity because for what I’ve seen Doomfist isn’t getting much playtime outside of select teams with Doomfist specialists and specific Control maps. It seems like another change one patch too late.

My verdict on this patch is that nothing really changes, but I almost don’t hate that.

With the Overwatch League returning in February, a massive upheaval wouldn’t be good. The D.Va change helps float the idea that Dive could return and we might see a similar metagame to the 2019 playoffs where teams have stylistic choices on picking two to three compositions that are considered the best. I hope that this isn’t what’s to come with regards to upcoming patches during the league because these small tweaks are not going to be enough. I know the Overwatch developers have moved on to Overwatch 2 but another drought of activity could be disastrous in the most pivotal period in Overwatch’s competitive life cycle, bar none.

TL;DR — If I had to give it a letter grade, this patch change gets a C-. It’s a half-hearted attempt to quell community concerns around Orisa, Baptiste, and Mei without really doing much of anything. The D.Va change is interesting but the jury is out if it is going to impact the meta. The most interesting part of the D.Va change is the hope that it continues the interest in practicing Dive compositions.


Image via Blizzard Entertainment

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