Big Overwatch Balance Changes For Mercy, Junkrat, Mei, And Hanzo Outlined

Blizzard is making progress in addressing toxicity.

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Now Playing: Overwatch - Developer Update: Popular Community Topics

As always, change is afoot in Overwatch. Blizzard has released a new developer update video (above) in which game director Jeff Kaplan discusses some hot-button issues in the community, including potential balance changes to a variety of characters. He also touches on toxicity, which the company has been attempting to address for some time now.

In terms of balance, Kaplan first brings up Mercy, the game's most-played hero "by far." He references the changes currently in testing on the PTR version of the game, which he says are primarily intended to "tone down the impact of Resurrect and make Mercy more manageable when she's in her Valkyrie state during her Ultimate." There have been concerns among Mercy players that she could be nerfed too hard; if that happens, Kaplan says that they will be paying "very close attention" to these changes and will provide her with buffs if necessary. He notes that Blizzard isn't considering removing her from Competitive Play or replacing the Resurrect ability, as some players have suggested. "We do think it's a balanceable ability," Kaplan says.

Also in line for a nerf is Junkrat. This will start by adding damage falloff for Concussion Mine, so that it doesn't deal as much damage to targets who are further away from the explosion. As it stands, it deals an equal amount of damage to all enemies who are within its range regardless of how close they are. Kaplan says the goal is to make Junkrat players "be more accurate."

On the Hanzo front, it's Scatter Arrow that has Blizzard's attention. The studio wants to avoid situations where aiming the ability at a character's feet leads to an easy one-shot kill; Kaplan specifically notes this happening to Orisa. Blizzard is looking to balance the ability but also has ideas for things that could potentially replace the ability. Kaplan says Blizzard hasn't decided which of the two paths it will ultimately take.

Mei is also discussed, and Kaplan says he believes she is not in a "horrible place." That said, she may need a "slight adjustment to make her a little more relevant. Mei I put into this category of heroes we need to be really careful with. She can feel very oppressive to play against if she's too powerful."

Kaplan goes on to restate that Blizzard views Mei as a "more situational" character who isn't necessarily going to be a great pick in all situations. He also makes a similar point about Symmetra; she's being discussed, but the studio thinks she doesn't "need major buffs." Like Mei, "there are going to be occasions where Symmetra is not the right pick." Kaplan agrees that "she doesn't have enough usefulness across the board" currently, and while the intention is to help her out, Blizzard doesn't anticipate that her pick rate will ever skyrocket from where it currently stands.

Finally, Kaplan talks about toxicity. The added ability for console players to be able to report others has seen "great results," and the warnings for players who about to be subjected to discipline has "helped a lot." Combined with in-game notifications that tell you when action has been taken again someone you've reported, Overwatch has seen abusive chat decline by 17% in Competitive Play. Additionally, the number of player reports has increase by 20%. Kaplan sees these as positive signs but admitted they aren't as strong as they could be, nor does he think the problem has been resolved. He also noted that Blizzard is proactively seeking out evidence of toxic behavior on places like YouTube and is taking action before those players are even reported in-game.

Overwatch saw a big update recently that introduced the Blizzard World map and new skins. The variety of new cosmetics are hard to come across, as they were added straight into the base loot box, but Blizzard says the loot box odds remain unchanged.

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Avatar image for Dyin4Ryan
Dyin4Ryan

getting rid of Hanzo's scatter arrow would make him even less useful then he is now. I'd give him a third ability if anything

Avatar image for newbpwnr
newbpwnr

blizzard used to balance their games.

now that activision runs things they could care less.

Avatar image for uubershikamarux
uubershikamarux

Christmas and my birthday both come at once if they get rid of that god damn scatter arrow : )

Avatar image for genji_shimada
Genji_Shimada

My brother will not be able to defeat me so easily this time.

Avatar image for dostunuz
dostunuz

Anyone plays with Doomcrap? oh we don't i guess.

Avatar image for newbpwnr
newbpwnr

@JosephDMcDaniel: they ban players for wanting to play their favorite character. that's how activision balances their games.

Avatar image for mrdinghat
MrDinghat

Scatter shot should be changed so that when it's fired, it kills the Hanzo that shot it, takes them to the character select screen and forces them to pick a useful character.

Avatar image for baasgene
baasgene

@mrdinghat:They should at least then add a voice line to it, like Allahu Akbar :D

Avatar image for Kezzy123
Kezzy123

WHen is the patch to address the cluelessness about balancing.

Avatar image for dragonsama
dragonsama

I'm glad they are address toxicity in the game. It's pretty much why I stopped playing.

Avatar image for Kezzy123
Kezzy123

@dragonsama: They made it worse on purpose to sell more secondary accounts.

people will find any reasons to report each other and upset each other then report each other then the banned guys will play on secondary accounts.

Avatar image for LesserAngel
LesserAngel

Nerfing Scatter Arrow

Good lord, it's about freaking time.

Avatar image for vie
Vie

@LesserAngel: You must be a Mercy main in plat.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@LesserAngel: I don't see what's so powerful about Scatter Arrow, it's hardly infallible, but I do agree it should be more like an AoE that can also pick off enemies from around corners or serve as a trap. He should be more about dealing damage on his primary fire anyway. They don't have any trouble restricting most of Widow's damage to her gun and she doesn't even have a damaging ult.

Avatar image for LesserAngel
LesserAngel

@Barighm: I've been one-shotted by scatter arrows aimed at my feet way more than i care to admit.

Avatar image for Kezzy123
Kezzy123

@LesserAngel: is he still not one of the worse heroes win% in ranked?

But "you dont like how you died"

Avatar image for LesserAngel
LesserAngel

@Kezzy123: The problem is that it's an ability that can be used to get cheap easy kills, and can one shot tanks. If I remember correctly, they nerfed McCree's Fan The Hammer ability specifically for those reasons, but have left Scatter Arrow untouched until now. Why should an ability be able to ohko someone without even having to aim at the head?

Avatar image for Kezzy123
Kezzy123

@LesserAngel:

Fan the hammer still does that

Also once you nerf that you make a chartacter that much weaker he gets a portion of his insufficient kills that way

Avatar image for spartanx169x
spartanx169x

Mei and Genji have got to be the most annoying characters to play against. But I have to say I have not touched Overwatch in at least two months.

Avatar image for tonyleo01
tonyleo01

@spartanx169x: I think every characters is annoying to play against when they keep killing me repeated lol.

Yeah I suck at OW...

Avatar image for spartanx169x
spartanx169x

@tonyleo01: To enjoy OW you just have to find a character that fits your playstyle and stick to that one character. If you are aggressive pick a character that suits that like Roadhog. Or if you want to be support be Mercy or the Music guy(can't think of his name)., so forth and so on. It took me a while to figure that out. I'm only good with Solider 76 or the robot.

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tonyleo01

@spartanx169x: no, I like OW; I just came to a realization that I'm just not that good with it. I think my SR this season is just around 2400 before I went on a long and painful losing spree. I'm super casual about it though. I might be spending around 25-30 hours at the most playing during a competitive season.

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spartanx169x

@tonyleo01: I'm more casual than you. lol. I have only played Quickplay since I got the game. I think maybe once I played the Halloween PvE event they had. haha.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@spartanx169x: Genji requires discipline to control, but it can be done. You just have to resist the urge to spray bullets at him until he completes his somersault roll and his head comes up. During that brief moment, he becomes extra floaty and is much easier to hit. You can also just wait for him to focus on someone else. He's easy to hit from the side.

Or you can just use the auto-aim heroes. Heroes like Moira and Symmetra wreck Genji.

Avatar image for spartanx169x
spartanx169x

@Barighm: My normal playstyle anyway is to hangback from the team with Soldier 76 and let the other team get focused on the rest of my team and i do cleanup kills. I usually get genji when he is focused on somebody else same with Mei. I can't go in guns blazing I get wrecked no matter the character I'm using.

Avatar image for LesserAngel
LesserAngel

@spartanx169x: Eh, Genji isn't too bad once you know how to deal with him (Zarya just straight up melts him), but Mei... one of the few reliable counters to her is to gang up on her, which is kinda BS that you need to have half of your team focus on a single character because of her ability set.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@LesserAngel: Yeah, but to be fair, Mei can only reliably control one hero at a time, and pretty slowly at that. She can only stall an enemy team without doing much damage, so it's mostly balanced. There is also no other hero quite like her in the game, so I'd rather she remains unchanged, although I wish they'd reduce the vertical radius of her ult. I've been frozen hovering well above it with Pharah or while beneath it in Egypt.

Avatar image for LesserAngel
LesserAngel

@Barighm: What annoys me the most about her is that she can heal and make herself invulnerable simultaneously.

Avatar image for spartanx169x
spartanx169x

@LesserAngel: What is incredibly irritating is when on your own team MEI will block a doorway at the beginning of the match. Then there is the whole going into a iceblock which just makes you get around behind her then take her out. I learned to just hit her from range. She is just annoying. I've only played against maybe one player that was truly good using her.

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gamingdevil800

@spartanx169x: And I haven't touched it in two years.

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fig56

@gamingdevil800: Hey guys, like me I’m cool because I don’t play a popular video game. . Hehe