The patch contains a ton of bug fixes and balance changes, boosting heroes like D.Va and McCree while altering the way Ultimate abilities get generated via self-healing abilities.
The update also contains Ana, a healing sniper who is also the mother of Pharah.
Update: Ana was previously unavailable while Blizzard repaired some issues relating to her inclusion on Xbox One, but she's now live and available for all to play!
The update shows Blizzard's commitment to continuing support for Overwatch, which features development-funding cosmetic micro-transactions. Ana should appeal to players who aren't traditionally interested in healing and support, bringing further playstyle diversity to the Overwatch roster.
For more information on Ana, check out our summary over here.
In addition to boosting D.Va's and Zenyatta's survivability, the patch also brings console-only reductions to Torbjorn and Symmetra's turrets. Since console players typically move and turn slower due to not having a keyboard and mouse, Blizzard hopes that bringing about damage nerfs to these auto-aim turrets should improve the way the game feels. The company has a habit of over-nerfing things, as we can see from this patch's boost to McCree, to counteract a previous reduction in his damage output. It remains to be seen if these cuts to Symmetra and Torbjorn are too harsh.
The full patch notes are as follows (via Blizzard):
- New Hero: Ana (Support)
After being out of the fight for several years, one of Overwatch's founding members is returning. Introducing Ana—a battle-scarred veteran who supports her teammates from a distance using a unique and highly specialized collection of weapons.
Ana's primary weapon is her Biotic Rifle, which fires long-range darts that can restore the health of her allies or deal ongoing damage to her enemies. Meanwhile, her Biotic Grenade is perfect for a close-quarters clash, simultaneously healing teammates and injuring foes caught in its small area of effect. (Affected allies will also receive a temporary increase to all incoming healing, while affected enemies can't be healed for a few moments.) And if the battle starts to get out of hand, Ana's sidearm can fire a Sleep Dart, knocking her adversaries unconscious.
Plus, Ana's ultimate ability, Nano Boost, empowers one of her teammates, granting faster movement, increased damage, and resistance to enemy attacks.
If a match goes into Overtime for more than 20 seconds, the fuse will now start to "burn down" more quickly.
Players now respawn more slowly during Overtime (increased spawn time by 2 seconds).
- Competitive Play
Competitive Play matches can now only have one of each hero per team.
Added Ana as an AI-controlled hero in Practice vs. AI, Play vs. AI, and Custom Game modes.
Timing on Zenyatta's Rapid Discord achievement is more lenient.
Targeted teammates now respond by saying "I'm with you," when players use the "Group Up" communication.
Renamed five sprays to avoid duplicate titles.
HERO BALANCE UPDATES
Self-healing abilities now charge ultimate abilities. As a result, some heroes' ultimate costs have been adjusted (see below).
- Configuration: Tank
Ultimate cost increased by 10%
- Defense Matrix
Cooldown decreased from 10 seconds to 1 second.
A new resource meter has been added. This meter will deplete while Defense Matrix is active and then recharge when it's not in use.
Defense Matrix takes 10 seconds to reach full charge from empty. At a full charge, Defense Matrix will last for 4 seconds.
Defense Matrix will now remain active as long as its assigned hotkey is held.
Defense Matrix has been reclassified as an alternate fire and is now bound to secondary fire (by default).
An option to "Toggle Defense Matrix" has been added under Options > Controls > D.Va.
Ultimate cost decreased by 15%.
Explosion delay reduced from 4 seconds to 3 seconds.
Explosion no longer damages D.Va (the player who activates it).
Developer Notes: D.Va isn't being selected as often as our other tanks, and we feel a lot of that stems from the underperformance of her damage absorption abilities. So, we've reconfigured her Defensive Matrix, making it more flexible and giving players the ability to use it more often. We've also given Self-Destruct a little more oomph, because it felt slightly underwhelming when compared to many of Overwatch's other ultimate abilities.
- Sound Barrier
Ultimate cost increased by 10%.
Now maintains full damage at longer distances, but will deal less damage at extreme ranges.
Developer Notes: While the game does feel better following the nerf to McCree's close-range damage in a previous patch, it left him a little too weak. So, we're increasing his effective distance, making his range similar to Soldier: 76's. This should hopefully give players another option for dealing with pesky long-range damage dealing heroes like Pharah and Hanzo.
- Caduceus Staff: Damage Boost
Effect will no longer stacks with bonus damage provided by another Mercy.
Ultimate charge cost increased by 30%.
Movement is no longer prevented during activation.
Guardian Angel instantly resets upon use.
Developer Notes: Mercy's ultimate is one of the most powerful abilities in the game; however, players would often fly into the fray and die while using it. With this update, Resurrect will now take a bit longer to charge, but Mercy will be a lot safer when activating the ability in the middle of combat.
- Whole Hog
Ultimate cost increased by 45%.
- Heavy Pulse Rifle
Spread recovery will begin after a short delay (rather than instantly).
- Tactical Visor
Ultimate cost increased by 10%.
Turret damage reduced by 30%.
Turret damage reduced by 30%.
Base shields increased by 50 (now 50 Health/150 Shield).
Primary fire weapon damage decreased from 45 to 40.
Alternate fire weapon damage increased from 35 to 40.
- Orb of Discord and Orb of Harmony
Projectile speed has been increased from 30 to 120.
Movement speed is now doubled upon activation.
Healing amount increased from 200 to 300 health per second.
Developer Notes: While Zenyatta has never had the healing abilities of Lúcio or Mercy, he made up for it by dealing more damage. However, his lack of mobility and low health has meant he's struggled to find a place in many games. To increase his effectiveness, we've made several changes, the biggest of which is an increased shield pool. This will allow him to go head-to-head with more enemies. The Orb of Harmony and Discord changes are also a quality of life change, helping Zenyatta move his orbs around and apply their effects more quickly. And lastly, we've increased Transcendence's healing throughput. This ultimate was designed to be the most effective against sustained, high-damage fire and least effective against short, high-damage bursts (like D.Va's or Junkrat's ultimates). But, due to the amount of healing it provided, there were times when it was possible for even sustained fire to overcome Transcendence's output. We've made the heal powerful and also allowed Zenyatta to move around more quickly while it's active.
USER INTERFACE UPDATES
Mid-match tips can now be toggled on or off (this will enable/disable tips that pop up after a player dies).
- Social Features
Certain commendations will now appear less frequently during end-of-round voting (e.g. Zenyatta's Transcendence Healing and Zarya's Projected Barriers Applied).
The Hero Gallery now remembers the last hero you were looking at and will properly highlight that hero whenever returning to the gallery.
Reduced the chance for larger projectiles (i.e. Hanzo's arrows, Zenyatta's orbs) to hit targets around corners.
Fixed a bug that prevented Overtime music from playing on Escort and Assault/Escort maps, if the payload was nearing the final checkpoint.
Fixed a bug that caused the "payload is nearing its final destination" music to continue playing even after the match was over.
Fixed a bug where display settings weren't always saved after restarting the client.
Fixed a bug where sometimes the wrong player level would appear in the Social menu.
Fixed a bug that would sometimes cause visual healing effects to appear on the wrong hero whenever multiple players attempted to pick up a Health Pack.
Fixed a bug that would sometimes cause different heroes' victory poses to clip into each other.
Fixed several lighting issues with the killcam.
The payload on King's Row will no longer retreat back inside its starting location if the attacking team fails to push it.
Adjusted the Hero Select screen volume for the attacking team on Watchpoint: Gibraltar.
Added Spectator camera collision to most maps.
Fixed an issue with collision not blocking line of sight on certain areas of Nepal.
Fixed issues with player collision across multiple maps.
Fixed issues with ambient lighting and shadows across multiple maps.
Fixed a bug that was preventing friendly hero dialogue not being audible over long distances as intended.
Fixed a bug that caused D.Va to sometimes ignore player collision when summoning her mech.
Fixed several bugs where Mei's Ice Wall would persist in the game world even after the player switched heroes or left the game.
Fixed a bug that caused Mercy's Caduceus Staff beam to disconnect from its target if the player a) quickly switched between healing and damage beams and/or b) was facing away from the target at the time of the switch.
Fixed even more bugs that allowed Reaper to Shadow Step to unintended locations.
Fixed a bug that sometimes caused Reinhardt's Barrier Field to get stuck in the "on" position if the player used the "Toggle Barrier" setting.
Fixed a bug that sometimes caused Roadhog to accidentally Chain Hook targets standing behind him.
Fixed a bug that caused Winston's Barrier Projector shield to ignore the "Sound Effects Volume" setting.
Fixed a bug that caused Winston's melee attack during Primal Rage to inconsistently hit targets in range.
Fixed a bug that sometimes caused Zarya's alternate fire to scale incorrectly with her damage boost modifier.
Fixed a bug that sometimes caused players not to be able to rejoin games.
Fixed a bug that caused the "Top 500" icon to incorrectly display for certain players in various places throughout the game UI.
Overwatch is an incredibly fun, addictive and accessible multiplayer shooter from the creators of World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft. It needs to be experienced to be believed. The game is supported with cosmetic microtransactions, and should see a wealth of free content updates moving forward, from new heroes to new maps and new game modes. Blizzard has also previously said it would consider including a full-blown story campaign to the game, to accompany Overwatch's whimsical animated shorts and tie-in comic books.
Whether you're an Overwatch veteran or newcomer, we've put together a huge guide detailing the different ways you can exploit each hero's strengths and weaknesses to find victory in battle. Check out our full guide below, and we should have some tips for Ana up in the near future too.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!