The newest patch for Overwatch — simply named Patch 188.8.131.52 — brings a slew of new features and improvements to Blizzard’s popular shooter. The big focus this patch is on balance, but let’s run through some of the other changes.
In addition to the load of balance changes, there’s a new map called Rialto. The Escort map is built around some inspiration drawn from rustic Italian towns. Check out the trailer for the new map below.
The final major change is the introduction of the new Season of Competitive Play. As always, you must be level 25 and complete ten placement matches to obtain your initial skill rating — which will be between one and 5000 — and begin your journey to move up the ladder. That Skill Rating is dependent on a variety of factors including effective team play and overall match wins.
Here are the full notes for the hero updates:
- Shield Bash
- Cone angle reduced from 90 to 60
Developer Comments: When fighting against Brigitte, it often felt like Shield Bash was able to hit players who felt like they were out of its range and should have dodged it. On the flip side, when playing as Brigitte sometimes players would hit the wrong enemy in the middle of a fight. With the cone being reduced, the ability is more accurate to its visual representation.
- Hitbox size has been reduced
Developer Comments: The hitbox on Genji’s Deflect was big enough that it would sometimes reflect projectiles that were pretty far away from him. We’ve tightened up the hitbox, which should solve this problem while still fully protecting him from projectiles that would hit him from the front.
- Storm Bow
- Projectile speed increased from 85 to 100
- Sonic Arrow
- Cooldown decreased from 20 seconds to 12 seconds
- Duration decreased from 10 seconds to 6 seconds
- Radius decreased from 10 meters to 7 meters
- New Abilities
- Press jump while in the air to leap horizontally
- Storm Arrows
- Replaces his existing Scatter Arrow ability
- Hanzo can now rapidly fire up to 6 arrows that deal reduced damage but are always fired at full power
Developer Comments: The goal of these Hanzo changes is to allow him to have new options and maintain his high damage output, while removing the frustration of fighting against the old Scatter Arrow. Hanzo is now much more mobile with his new Lunge ability, and with the combination of the bow projectile speed increase and the new Storm Arrows ability he can now deal his high damage more consistently than ever before.
- Frag Launcher
- Projectile size decreased from 0.3 to 0.2
- Tire movement speed decreased from 13 to 12
Developer Comments: These changes are aimed at lowering some of the most frustrating parts about playing against Junkrat. Decreasing the Frag Launcher’s projectile size means he will have to aim a bit more carefully to land powerful direct hits and slowing the RIP-Tire’s movement speed gives his opponents slightly more time to destroy it before it detonates.
- Wall Ride
- Wall riding is less likely to be interrupted along a single surface
- Can now go around corners (both outside corners, and inside corners) without having to leave the wall
- Can now land back on the same wall after leaping away, provided his leap takes him far enough away from the original jumping off point
- Added a minimum time that the jump key must be held before Lúcio can ride around corners
- No longer consumes ammo
- Can now be used while reloading
Developer Comments: Wall Ride has been significantly overhauled to allow it to function more smoothly across more areas of every map. Lúcio players should instantly notice a huge improvement in where and how Wall Ride can be used. In addition, Sonic Amplifier’s Soundwave ability was unnecessarily controlled by both a cooldown and an ammo cost, so we’re removing the ammo cost.
- Pulse Bomb
- Max damage decreased from 400 to 300
Developer Comments: Pulse Bomb was too good at killing tanks, who can be easy to stick due to their size. This damage reduction makes it less powerful as a tank-destroyer, while keeping it lethal against most other heroes.
Hopefully, these changes will alleviate any frustration some may have, especially against Hanzo and Brigette. There’s a bunch of ability changes for other Heroes as well, so lots of players are hopefully going to have a fun time learning how to best adapt to this patch.