It’s only natural that after Overwatch 2 heroes debut, Blizzard starts turning the knobs up and down to try and balance them out. Sometimes you’ve just gotta put something terribly disruptive into the game and see how the community reacts to know exactly how a character will affect the meta. That in mind, it’s now time for Illari, the game’s latest support hero, to suffer some major balance changes that will rein in all her raw power.
In its latest patch notes, Blizzard outlines the latest changes to Illari’s kit, most of which the studio says are in service of balancing her healing and damage output. When she first debuted, players (including us here at Kotaku) noticed she was less heal-oriented than her support peers, feeling more like a DPS hero who happened to have some healing abilities. With the tweaks, her utility hasn’t changed, but the numbers have shifted around so she can’t just passively heal with her placeable Healing Pylon and will have to rely on her secondary fire more often.
The Pylon itself is becoming much less durable too, with its shields decreasing from 75 to 50, making it easier to destroy. Its healing is also being dropped from 40 health per shot to 30. A lot of Illaris I’ve played with and against tend to set and forget the Pylon while it heals their team instead of doing active healing. So this change might at least incentivize players to use their secondary fire to heal while their Pylon is recharging after being destroyed.
The patch’s last major change is to her Ultimate Captive Sun. This ability sticks an explosive orb onto enemies that, when the afflicted hero is damaged up to a certain threshold, will explode and damage nearby foes. This can cause catastrophic damage to an enemy team, especially when paired with other high-damage, area-of-effect moves that can deal enough damage to ignite Captive Sun. Now, Blizzard has put a few new counters into the game. You can now block the initial Captive Sun projectile with barriers, as well as the explosion. So if one of your teammates gets got by Illari and her team, throw up a shield to defend yourself and others from the explosion.
On top of this, Blizzard is also decreasing the size of the projectile itself, which Lead Hero Designer Alec Dawson said on Twitter is a buff, as it allows aiming it with more precision and a lesser chance of it being blocked by barriers.
The full patch notes read as follows:
- Shields decreased from 75 to 50.
- Heal decreased from 40 to 30.
- Projectile Impact and explosion are now blocked by barriers.
- Projectile size decreased from 1.5 to 0.75 meters.
- Sunstruck duration decreased from 7 to 6 seconds.
“Illari has had a strong showing since her launch,” the patch notes read. “The following changes are meant to promote a better balance between healing and damage while adding more counterplay against her abilities. We are making the Healing Pylon weaker, as it’s often placed out of line-of-sight or at odd angles and isn’t being destroyed as often as we expect. Captive Sun ignoring barriers is not immediately intuitive, but we are also reducing the projectile size, so blocking or destroying will require more precision. Finally, the Sunstruck effect lasts too long to reasonably avoid the detonation damage threshold.”
All these changes come as Illari is unlocked for competitive play, as new heroes aren’t added into ranked games until a period of time after launch.
For more on Overwatch 2, check out our thoughts on the game’s new story missions.