After The Recent Patch, Overwatch's Bastion Is Already Changing Again
Bastion has been a source of complaints for many players since earlier this week.
Bastion received no attention from post-launch updates to Overwatch before now; he went from being a reviled character to a largely unplayed one. An update this week provided a major overhaul to the character, making him more powerful and self-sufficient. Among other things, it allows him to heal himself while on the move (and without being interrupted when taking damage).
After being one of the game's least-played characters, the update has led to a major spike in his usage, with many players suggesting he's now too powerful. Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan responded with a lengthy post on the game's forums sharing some thoughts on the situation.
Kaplan noted that any change--regardless of what it is--is likely to cause at least some negative feedback. "With that said, we'll make some changes to Bastion and put them up on the PTR this morning," he said. "We'd love to hear your feedback about those changes when they go up. I don't have details right now because we're still making the changes!"
Since that post, the PTR update in question has actually gone live. The most significant component is obviously the new character, Orisa, but it also has one tweak to Bastion, toning down the buff he receives in Sentry or Tank form that reduces damage he suffers. It now now causes him to take only 20 percent less damage, rather than 35 percent.
Given how quick the turnaround on this has been, this may not be the only adjustment that's made, and this change itself may not end up making it into the live game.
Besides this and Orisa, the patch is largely focused on bug fixes, though it also makes one change to Zarya: Her barriers no longer protect her and teammates from knockback. You can see the full patch notes here.
Kaplan's post continued on, discussing the perception of the meta and how it often conflicts with reality. One example he cites was the belief that, at one point, Mercy was rarely played; in fact, she was the fifth most played character overall.
"Balance changes can be very difficult to make when emotions run so high in the community," he continued. "There is outrage if a hero does not get played a lot (like with Bastion or Symmetra). We make changes to make those heroes more viable which means they will get played more. The result is, people need to adjust to playing against Symmetra and Bastion more... and they are more powerful. We cannot just magically make Bastion get picked more so the stats look pretty and not make changes to make him more viable at the same time.
"I want to share my personal opinion on Bastion (which is dangerous because I know I am a spokesperson for the game). I play every night. I'm playing both Quick Play and Competitive (I played 2 games of CTF to get my loot box). Over the past few nights I've played with, as and against Bastion. My perception is that he is a little too powerful right now."
Kaplan proceeded to highlight an encounter between him and a superior Tracer player. As Bastion, Kaplan won through what he described as attrition, as he was able to heal through enough damage to kill her.
"This part felt wrong to me. But a lot of the feedback I read feels wildly blown out of proportion," he said. "Bastion isn't the 'I Win button,' and he can be focused and countered. When a team is coordinated, he is far scarier than when a team is just playing a pick-up/deathmatch style of play--and I've witnessed both over the past few nights. I think complaints and praise of Bastion are both valid. I don't think he's perfect yet. But I do think there is a high amount of hyperbole around this particular situation."
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