New Heroes of the Storm Patch Adds Overwatch's Tracer, Tweaks Maps and Characters

Only those who have preordered Overwatch through Blizzard can play Tracer today.

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The newest update for Heroes of the Storm is now available. In addition to adding Tracer, the first Overwatch character, it also introduces a number of other changes and fixes, including an update to the way matchmaking works.

As has been revealed over the last few weeks, Tracer is an extremely mobile character who starts out matches with her Heroic ability. She's now playable in the game, but is only available to those who have preordered a digital copy of Overwatch: Origins Edition from Blizzard. Everyone else will get access to her next Tuesday, April 26.

Aside from the addition of Tracer, there are some other character-specific developments in this update. One of the talents for Greymane's Gilnean Cocktail ability, Incendiary Elixir, has been redesigned as a quest talent; it no longer functions as something that essentially renders it as a standard area-of-effect attack. Artanis also gets adjusted, with his health and health regeneration both taking a hit. He does, however, get a small buff by making Twin Blades charge a short distance toward enemies with his next basic attack. The talent that formerly did this now doubles the distance he charges.

Matchmaking for Quick Matches has been tweaked, too. The system will now consider the level you've reached with your chosen character when searching for matches. More specifically, you'll go up against opponents with slightly lower skill levels when first beginning to play a character, but be matched up with tougher competition when playing as a character you know well.

"This will result in a higher percentage of evenly matched games, in which each team has a 45% - 55% probability of victory, and should encourage more players to try out a greater variety of Heroes in Quick Match games," Blizzard said on its website. It also noted that queue times shouldn't be affected much unless you're an extreme case.

Infernal Shrines' Punishers, the giant bosses you summon as part of the map's objective, now have more health earlier in the game, but scale up more slowly so that late-game Punishers are similar to those prior to this patch. The goal is to make those spawned early in the match more important, as Blizzard has "notic[ed] a tendency to under-value the first couple of Punishers." The Tower of Doom map has also been tweaked so that three altars will show up only twice during the match: on the first and fifth altar spawns.

Click the thumbnails below to see more shots of Tracer in action
Click the thumbnails below to see more shots of Tracer in action
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Other changes of note include a "Mute Player Pings" option on the in-game scoreboard, a fix for using the /dance command while in the middle of a move (you'll now stop, dance, and then continue moving), and a fix so that Dehaka's Brushstalker doesn't go on cooldown if the selected travel location is blocked.

You can see the full patch notes here.

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