Overwatch 2 players are very particular about balance and fairness and their perception of both those things. So when I looked at these new patch notes and started skimming them, I was so concerned with seeing what changes were being made that I missed the “OVERWATCH 2 WIP VERY SERIOUS PATCH NOTES – DRAFT – DO NOT PUBLISH” up at the top and nearly had a heart attack. It’s still March and we have to be on our guard for April Fools’ jokes, and that includes an arcade mode with all these wacky balance changes.
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But, honestly, some of these proposed changes sound pretty cool. Take the chaos of Overwatch 2’s already established Total Mayhem mode that increases health and decreases cooldowns and crank it up to 11. That’s the game that’s left after these patch notes.
The chaos begins by proclaiming every hero getting a new Ultimate voice line. For those unaware, Ultimate voice lines are pretty iconic and they help signal to both teammates and opponents that a high-impact ability has been cast. The patch notes argue that Overwatch veterans have an unfair advantage because they’ve been hearing Junkrat scream “fire in the hole” and running away and hiding lest they get blown up by an armed tire. So by changing voice lines, one might not immediately know Reinhardt is coming up with an Earthshatter when, instead of yelling “hammer down,” he starts singing the opening of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” or something and could be taken off guard.
Honestly, points to whoever wrote the copy for the developer comments for really committing to the bit, such as this note here on a change to Junker Queen’s Commanding Shout ability. Usually, this gives some additional health and speed to her companions, but under this new world order, it inflicts Bleed status on her foes because she “yells so loud she damages the eardrums of her foes.”
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Other terrifying examples of balance for April Fools include removing Ramattra’s Omnic Form, only allowing him to exist as a hulking monstrosity that can punch most heroes through a wall without a cooldown. Oh, and Reinhardt can fly when he charges now because he apparently enlisted the help of Torbjorn. The patch notes include a quote from Reinhardt that reads, “I COULDN’T CHARGE THE ENEMIES THAT WERE IN THE AIR SO I ASKED TORBJORN TO HELP ME OUT. NOW I AM THE ULTIMATE CRUSHING MACHINE, EVEN IN THE SKY!!!!!”
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But honestly, some of these changes sound like they’d make for great plays. Tracer has two changes here, one for her Recall ability that allows her to rewind her position a few seconds and recover health, and her Pulse Bomb ultimate that lets her throw down a powerful, sticky grenade. The change here is that Tracer’s Recall would pull enemies into her original vicinity with a vacuum. The developer note says the team is “pretty sure this is how time travel works and will be taking no questions.” But imagine dropping your Pulse Bomb and then using Recall to pull people into its vicinity. That would be kinda dope.
Other notable, fun tweaks include making Ana’s rifle capable of headshots, which has always been weird that despite being a sniper, she just can’t do that shit. I know she’s a medic and her bullets are different but equal rights for equal sights. Kiriko can now use her Swift Step to travel across an entire map and help her teammates, rather than being beholden to what seemed reasonable for a…wait, let me check my notes, a “magical fox that lets her teleport through walls.” Oh, and Genji finally gets the healing he’s been asking for because now he self-heals when he spams the “I need healing” voice line. So really, this just seems like the game Overwatch 2 players need.
The full patch notes
- All heroes have new Ultimate Voice Lines
- Keep 50% of Ultimate Charge when swapping heroes
Developer Comment: Veteran players have an advantage over newer ones when it comes to voice line recognition. In order to level the playing field, we’ve written and recorded new Ultimate voice lines for every hero.
To help players learn these new callouts, we’ve also increased the amount of Ultimate charge retained when swapping heroes.
Tank Role Passive
- Gain Ultimate charge 10% faster
- The hero that gets the final blow on a tank gains a significant amount of ultimate charge
Developer Comment: Tank heroes are the raid bosses of teams. You should be fairly rewarded for defeating them, right?
Damage Role Passive
- Heal 50 health on elimination
Developer Comment: It’s frustrating when you dive the backline by yourself and get no healing, especially when your team’s support heroes are busy respawning. This change should help keep you alive, at least.
Support Role Passive
- Gain 30% increased movement speed for 4 seconds when reaching low health
Dev Comment: It’s tough to stay alive when flankers are about. This change should even out the odds a bit when you get ambushed. Please don’t use this offensively.
Developer Comment: The empowered Fist can also level a skyscraper or open a glass jar in a single attempt.
- Can be empowered by Power Block
- Damage increased from 50 to 75 when empowered
- Enemies hit by the shockwave are launched into the air
Developer Comment: It turns out the beams used to destroy projectiles also really hurt when used on people.
- After deflecting a projectile, Defense Matrix deals 30 damage to enemies within its area of effect over 1 second
- Defense Matrix killing blows grant an additional 5% Ult Charge
Developer Comment: Junker Queen yells so loud she damages the eardrums of her foes. Don’t worry though, it’s still a “friendly shout of encouragement” for her allies.
- Applies a bleed to enemies in range when activated
Developer Comment: It is believed that the threat of Orisa’s aerial body slam is the biggest crime deterrent in Numbani.
- While in the air, Javelin Spin pulls Orisa forward in her facing direction
- Increases falling speed and deals damage in an area when Orisa lands on the ground
Developer Comment: Ramattra is a lot more effective when he’s in Nemesis Form, so he’ll stay like that until everyone has suffered as much as he has.
- Omnic Form Disabled
- Ramatta is now always in Nemesis Form
- Bonus armor decreased from 225 to 125
- Now has a 1 second cooldown when disengaged
Reinhardt Comment: I COULDN’T CHARGE THE ENEMIES THAT WERE IN THE AIR SO I ASKED TORBJORN TO HELP ME OUT. NOW I AM THE ULTIMATE CRUSHING MACHINE, EVEN IN THE SKY!!!!!
- Now grants flight. Hold Jump to float up and Crouch to go down
- Steering increased by 33%
Developer Comment: In order to further align Roadhog as a tank who punishes bad positioning, we’ve increased the range of Hook to make all positioning bad positioning.
Developer Comment: Gravitic energy is quite potent. If it’s strong enough to lift a giant rock, it can lift anyone.
- Enemies hit by the impact are knocked back and experience low gravity for 4 seconds
- Cooldown decreased from 10 to 8 seconds
Dev Comment: Winston!
Developer Comment: Wrecking Ball unleashes his signature moves that made him the Champion of the Scrapyard battle arena.
- Maximum speed is temporarily increased when bouncing off walls
- Mines slowly move toward nearby enemies
Dev Comment: Gravity gravitates. That’s just science!
- Moves towards Zarya after deploying.
- Self-knockback on secondary fire scales with Energy level.
Dev Comment: In order to be more accurate to the fantasy, Dynamite fire now spreads between players.
- Fire spreads to nearby enemies up to 4 times
Developer Comment: Bastion downloaded a software update, upgrading “Configuration: Assault” and allowing it to simulate his old “Configuration: Tank”
- While active, Tactical Grenade has a 0.5 second cooldown
Developer Comment: Cassidy can dodge anything using his cat-like reflexes. It’s a bit rough on his spine, though.
- Now costs regenerating stamina instead of having a cooldown
- Dodge all damage when Combat Roll is active
- Ammo reloaded decreased from 6 to 2
Developer Comment: Echo now uses more of her fingers when shooting enemies.
- Now fires 2 additional projectiles
- Damage per projectile decreased from 17 to 12
Developer Comment: Spamming a voice line for healing finally does something after everyone else has tuned you out!
- Sometimes Genji heals himself when requesting healing
Developer Comment: Hanzo spent many years mastering the bow and geometry to pull off this feat. It DEFINITELY has nothing to do with magic.
- Storm arrows ricochet toward the Sonic Arrow
Developer Comment: Junkrat was a bit careless when packing his grenades, so now they spill out of his pockets whenever he knocks himself back.
- Drop grenades when launching yourself with Concussion Mine
Developer Comment: We noticed a decrease in Mei players helping their team “group up” in spawn with Ice Wall. This is core to Mei’s gameplay, so we added additional ice pillars to help facilitate it.
- Spawns more pillars and has slightly different configurations
Developer Comment: Rocket Jump? Sounds dangerous. But it is a viable means of travel when you can’t afford enough fuel.
- Rockets deal no self-damage and have increased knockback
- Pharah can be knocked back while Barrage is active
- Barrage rockets now have self-knockback
Developer Comment: After getting shot one too many times, Reaper no longer poses in place before teleporting despite it looking very cool.
- Movement is no longer locked after confirming a teleport location
Developer Comment: Sojourn hasn’t been performing quite up to our expectations after reducing her one-shot potential. To remedy this, we’ve added a very fair stun to her kit
- Now impacts enemies dealing 75 damage, launching them upward, and knocking them down for 1.5 seconds
Developer Comment: Why leave it on the ground when you can keep it in your pocket instead?
- Now attached to Soldier: 76 when activated
Developer Comment: As a safety measure, the Translocator will forcibly separate solid objects that have been teleported into each other. Unfortunately, this process is also quite painful.
- Now deals 120 damage in an area at the teleport destination.
- Projectile speed increased from 25 to 40
- Cooldown decreased from 10 seconds to 6 seconds
Developer Comment: It turns out there was a setting on Sentry Turrets that let’s them immediately target enemies when thrown! Symmetra estimates this change increases their efficiency by 32.33%…repeating, of course!
- Turrets can now target enemies while in-flight
- Turrets have 60% damage resistance before sticking to terrain
Dev Comment: We noticed that Torbjorn relies a little too heavily on his turret to deal consistent damage, so you won’t believe this one simple balance change that fixes that and makes him 1000% overpowered!
- Now also causes Rivet Gun and Forge Hammer to ignite enemies, dealing 30 additional damage over time
Developer Comment: Tracer now leaves a vacuum when she Recalls into the past. We are pretty sure this is how time travel works and will be taking no questions.
- Pulls in nearby enemies when activated
- Arming time increased from 1 second to 2 seconds
Developer Comment: Poisonous bullets don’t work as quickly as normal ones do, but at least there’s more room for counterplay.
- Critical hits deal their damage over 3 seconds as poison
- Widowmaker can see poisoned enemies through walls
Developer Comment: Turns out whatever is in those syringes hurts a lot more when applied to the forehead.
Developer Comment: Rumor has it that Baptiste is the record holder for both high and long jump.
- Jumping with Exo Boots has more horizontal distance, scaling with the charge amount
- Hold Jump after using Exo Boots to keep bouncing
Developer Comment: Whip Shot now whips YOU! Works better if you say, “wheeeeee” while flailing about.
- Brigitte is pulled towards the flail head
Dev Comment: Kanezaka is a big town and Kiriko has lots of protecting to do. This change should help her get to where she needs to go in a timely fashion, especially during rush hour.
- Range increased from 35 to 350m
- Cooldown now scales with distance traveled
Developer Comment: We were alerted that Soundwave was able to knock back entire heroes but couldn’t do anything to projectiles. We’ve corrected this logical inconsistency.
- Now deflects projectiles
- Cooldown decreased from 4 to 3 seconds
Developer Comment: Our stats show that the “Battle Mercy” playstyle isn’t as common as we hoped. Here’s a small change that should nudge her damage potential in the right direction.
- Ammo increased from 25 to 125
- Projectile speed increased from 50 to 125
Developer Comment: You know that random Orb that killed you from across the map? That was 100% intentional. Biotics Orbs follow Moira’s every command, though they only understand “Stop” and “Go.”
- Pressing the ability input while Biotic Orbs are active causes them to stop or start moving
Developer Comment: Zenyatta calls this technique the “Flying Kick,” but since he’s always floating should it just be called “Kick”?
- Launches Zenyatta in his facing direction when used in the air
Overwatch 2 is close to wrapping up its third season, which means that we’re close to seeing the game’s next playable hero set to debut in season four. While Blizzard has yet to reveal this character, we do know at this point it will be a support hero.