Blizzard have never shied away from making big moves when it comes to rebalancing characters. However, if the latest changes that have been pushed out to Overwatch’s PTR servers actually get implemented in the popular multiplayer shooter, then we can expect its competitive landscape to become vastly different to what it is now.
As previously reported, the latest patch to hit the PTR (Blizzard’s Public Test Realm where updates are tested in isolation before being rolled out) has seen Bastion receiving some major buffs. The salt-powered omnic had become largely irrelevant in the game’s meta thanks to almost non-existent defensive abilities and having too many hard counters.
To fix this, Bastion received a number of tweaks, including mobile healing and increased accuracy when in Recon mode. He also received a new passive ability called Ironclad that activates when in Sentry or Tank mode and provides a bonus 35% damage reduction. This is a handy ability that will stop Bastion being taken out by just about everybody while he’s a sitting duck. The problem comes in when you combine Ironclad’s 35% damage reduction with the 50% you can gain from Ana’s Nano Boost. All of a sudden, Bastion becomes an immortal death machine who can even shrug off ultimates with ease, as you can see in the video below.
Well, damn. D.Va’s ultimate, which can potentially wipe out an entire team in one go, could only drop his health to half. Even more absurd is the fact that McCree can’t even get a lock for a kill shot with High Noon because Bastion’s health pool is too high. That right there is what you call broken.
One of the PTR’s main jobs is to see how tweaks to one character affects/is affected by another. And this is definitely something that Blizzard will have to look at. This wouldn’t be the first time Bastion was unkillable though, as early versions of the game actually saw him boasting a shield while in Sentry mode. Blizzard fixed that then, and they will need to fix Ironclad now. Either it can’t stack with Nano Boost or something a lot more clever needs to happen.
This is especially needed since one of the best ways of removing Bastion’s Sentry mode has just received a major nerf as well. For a long time, Roadhog has been the bread and butter of the competitive scene with his ability to hook and one-shot a large portion of Overwatch’s roster. The Hook 2.0 update already stopped Roadhog’s hook from breaking the laws of time and space as enemies were pulled around, over and through obstacles, but new tweaks are going to make everybody’s favourite porcine bruiser even less deadly. Overwatch principle designer Geoff Goodman revealed the planned changes on the official forums last week.
- Scrap Gun
- Spread decreased by 20%
- Chain Hook
- Targets are now pulled to a location 3.5 meters away, up from 2 meters.
- Cooldown increased from 6 to 8
The Roadhog changes overall reduce the power of his hook a bit, but his gun is now more effective when not using the hook.
So in essence, his gun now shoots a bit more accurately, which is nice, but those hook changes are the ones that will have huge ramifications. Essentially hooked targets will now end up just outside of the character’s melee range of 3 meters, meaning the normal tactic of simultaneous shoot and melee to instakill enemies will no longer work on some. Some of the squishier characters, like Zenyatta or Tracer, will still almost always go down immediately, but Roadhog now can’t do the same to be bigger heroes, where that extra 30 damage from melee really came in handy to finish them off.
Also with the increased cooldown, other characters will now be able to counter Roadhog better. For example, in the past if he threw out a hook at a Genji who then deflected it, Roadhog would get the hook ability back in 6 seconds while it would take Genji 8 seconds to get his Deflect again, leaving the latter vulnerable for another hook. Now their abilities are actually on par.
Along with the Roadhog change, there’s also another small buff in Winston’s critical hit box being reduced by 15%, as “Winston’s head hit volume was just abnormally big, making him take more damage than he otherwise should. This change brings it more in line with other heroes.” As somebody who loves playing Winston but hates how easily he can get straight-up melted by some characters, this is definitely an appreciated change. Personally though, I would prefer to see his Barrier’s health either upped as well by a small amount or have its cooldown dropped a second or two.
What do you guys think of the changes?