Surprise patch reportedly shaking up Overwatch League & live servers
In a surprising move, a late patch will soon roll out to the Overwatch League (OWL) as well as live servers. This comes right after the Overwatch League took a two-week break, allowing teams to adjust to the new features and changes of Overwatch 2: Invasion.
The changes are expected to significantly affect the league's meta, potentially resetting compositional progress towards a comparable state that the prior part of the season was captured by.
OWL teams were made aware of the impending patch
Overwatch 2: Invasion launched with a slew of new features. Some of which were significant changes and feature additions, including the introduction of the new support hero, Illari, and Flashpoint game mode.
With the Overwatch League on a break, teams took to explore the new balance situation, trying to find new viable strategies and establish a new meta. As GGRecon reported, the changes to the competitive game state saw the rise of a lot of new strategies, some of which had Illari as their centrepiece.
While teams were still familiarising themselves with the current balance, no single meta had taken root. Lead Hero Designer, Alec Dawson, announced that a new balance patch would be hitting the live servers on the day Illari was set to be entering the competitive ladder after a two-week introductory period.
According to Dawson, the patch will contain changes to Illari’s kit, nerfing her Healing Pylon and Captive Sun. Head of the Overwatch League, Season Miller, clarified this patch would also be going live for OWL, tweeting: "Confirming these will be the balance changes heading into our next few weeks of OWL, including Play-Ins in both regions."
OWL and Contenders teams received detailed information about the patch. According to GGRecon sources from participating teams, the patch is expected to have a significant impact on the competitive meta, likely affecting all preparation done in the past week.
Yun "RUSH" Hee-won, Head Coach of the current champions Dallas Fuel, speculated about the patch's implications on the prevailing dive meta. He tweeted about the likely continuation of the Winston and Ana-centered dive meta if the changes go live.
On several occasions, the Overwatch League postseason had been impacted by late patches, some of which saw competition take place with as little as five days of preparation time.
Throughout the history of the league, balance patches have played a critical role in Overwatch League's postseasons. In an interview with GGRecon earlier this year, former professional player and now Head Coach of the Atlanta Reign Blake "Gator" Scott shared that late changes had a significant impact on the season outcome, stating that "every year someone gets lucky."
The OWL's strategic two-week break could have alleviated the late patch's repercussions. However, the notable balance update following Overwatch 2: Invasion is predicted to diminish this buffer's intended effect.
The silver lining is that there are over three weeks remaining until the postseason, which is set to start on September 9 - providing a longer adjustment period compared to last year's tight five-day window.
Overwatch League is back from its break starting August 26 with the Summer Stage Knockout matches of the APAC region, taking place at 9 am BST / 4 am EST / 1 am PST.