Blizzard Entertainment rolled out a major update for Overwatch on Tuesday, bringing a new character, Sigma, and a new role queue system to the live version of the game on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.
Sigma is Overwatch’s 31st hero and has been available on public testing servers on PC since July 23. He’s a tank-class character and uses abilities based on gravity that will likely shake up how many players, including Overwatch League pros, play Overwatch.
Also new to Overwatch is the role queue system, which asks players to choose which role they want to play: tank, damage, or support. A 2-2-2 composition is enforced; players can only select heroes within their chosen roles. At the end of a match, players re-queue and select their role once again. If there’s a role that is limited, then players who queue for that role will receive rewards.
Tuesday’s patch also makes some wide-sweeping changes to existing heroes like Brigitte, Symmetra, and Sombra, with less impactful balance changes for Ashe, D.Va, Doomfist, Hanzo, Orisa, Tracer, and Wrecking Ball.
Blizzard’s full patch notes for Aug. 13 follow:
- Players can now endorse each other in the following game modes:
- Mystery Heroes
- No Limits
- Total Mayhem
- Low Grav
- All PvE Event game modes (Uprising, Retribution, Storm Rising)
- Mystery Heroes - On Control maps, heroes are now reset between rounds.
- Player Dealt Healing
- Player Received Healing
- Player Joined Match
- Player Left Match
- Start Transforming Throttle
- Stop Transforming Throttle
- Event Healing
- Host Player
Developer Comment: A commonly requested feature for the Workshop is the ability to track healing, so we’ve added two new event types and three new values to make this possible. We’ve also added events to make it easier to detect players joining and leaving matches. To support the creation of administrator-style privileges for custom games, the owner of the game can now be detected using Host Player. Finally, we’ve added the ability to scale, invert, and rotate a player’s input throttle to make controlling characters in third person easier.
- Global ultimate cost increased 12%.
Developer Comment: Considering how high impact they are, ultimates are coming up too often. We are reducing how quickly they charge so fewer fights will be determined by ultimate usage.
- Slowing Effects: Instead of stacking together, friendly and hostile slowing effects are now separate, and movement speed will be determined by whichever is slower.
Developer Comment: This change will mostly impact heroes who slow themselves, such as when Widowmaker scopes or Reinhardt puts up his barrier. In these cases, hostile slowing effects, such as Symmetra’s turrets or Mei’s freezing will not hinder these heroes unless they stop slowing themselves or the hostile effect’s slow value surpasses their own.
- Fixed a bug in which full damage was not dealt by abilities that rapidly gain/lose targets, such as fast-tracking with Zarya’s and Symmetra’s primary fire beams.
Developer Comment: This is a fairly significant bug fix that can cause beam weapons to do much more damage in certain situations. In particular, Zarya and Symmetra will sometimes feel much more powerful as a result of this bug fix. We’ll be keeping a close eye on these heroes to make sure they don’t end up too strong.
- Reload time per round decreased from 0.3 to 0.25 seconds.
Developer Comment: Ashe’s full reload time felt overly restrictive. However, a long reload time is intended to balance out the power of her gun, so we want to be careful not to eliminate that completely.
- Healing amount increased from 100 to 130
- Self-healing from Inspire is now halved
- Now has 3 charges
- Healing amount changed from 150 to 120
- Now heals over 2 seconds instead of instantly
- If you throw multiple packs at the same person, the current duration will be extended by 2 seconds
- Out-going velocity increased from 60 to 80
- Retracting time reduced from 0.6 seconds to 0.3
- Barrier health reduced from 500 to 200
- Stun duration reduced from 0.9 seconds to 0.75
- Ultimate cost increased 10%
Developer Comment: The goal of these changes is to make Brigitte more of a primary healer for your team, at the cost of weakening her survivability. Since Brigitte will now be only one of two support heroes for your team, it is important that she can provide enough healing to be valuable in that role.
- Pilot ultimate cost reduced by 12%
Developer Comment: This change is just meant to counteract the global increase in ultimate cost. The time it takes to generate a D.Va’s ultimate when out of her mech should remain the same as it was before this update.
- Quick melee no longer pauses ammo reload.
Developer Comment: This is a quality of life change which allows Doomfist to more freely use Quick Melee as part of his combos, without feeling punished for it.
- Storm Arrows ammo reduced from 6 to 5
Developer Comment: The overall damage output of Storm Arrows was too high so we’re reducing the maximum number of shots.
- Cooldown increased from 8 seconds to 9
Developer Comment: A common point of feedback for playing against Orisa was that it doesn’t feel useful to shoot the barrier as it comes back so quickly. Increasing the cooldown of Protective Barrier will make destroying it more rewarding.
New Passive: “Steadfast”
- Reduces knock back effects by 30%
Developer Comment: As a frontline, melee-range tank Reinhardt was more adversely affected by knock back abilities than most heroes. To reduce some of this frustration and enable Reinhardt to more easily fulfill his role, he is now more resistant to being knocked back.
- Duration on enemy players reduced from 6 to 5 seconds
- Activation time increased from 0.2 to 0.35 seconds
Developer Comment: Hack is a potent disabling ability with a long duration. Reducing the duration slightly will make it feel less oppressive as the hacked player without greatly reducing its effectiveness. The increased activation time on EMP allows for more time to react and opens up more counterplay opportunities for the opposing team.
- Now lasts an infinite duration until destroyed
- Players can destroy their Teleporter with the ability 2 input
- Cooldown now starts when Teleporter is destroyed
- Maximum range increased from 25 to 30 meters
- Teleporter is destroyed if the entrance is more than 40 meters from the exit
Developer Comment: Symmetra’s Teleporter is an interesting tool but often felt too restricting to use. Making the Teleporter last indefinitely opens up new opportunities for how Symmetra is used in various maps and group compositions.
- Damage increased from 300 to 350
Developer Comment: Pulse Bomb was reduced in power some time ago to make sure it was not overly punishing to Tanks, which are much easier to stick the bomb to. While this is still a goal, we’re restoring some of this lost power to help deal with other hefty targets such as Bastion, or enemies with bonus armor from Brigitte.
- Increased projectile speed from 10 to 12, causing the mines to spread out more
- Reduced the activation time from 0.25 to 0.1 seconds
Developer Comment: Wrecking Ball has a very active playstyle, but it often felt difficult to make good use out of his ultimate. This change allows him to spread out his Minefield further if he wants (especially from high in the air), while still allowing for a tighter cluster if he activates it near the ground.
- Fixed a bug that prevented subtitles from displaying when spectating while waiting to respawn
- Fixed a bug that caused charging heroes (Reinhardt, Doomfist, Brigitte) to inconsistently knock each other down when colliding
- Fixed a bug so that some abilities (Hanzo’s Dragon Strike and Roadhog’s Chain Hook) will appear smoother when time is slowed down (end of round or custom game)
- Fixed a bug that caused the Presets UI in Custom Game to be displayed in the wrong order
- Fixed a bug so that placement previews (Reaper’s Shadow Step, Mei’s Ice Wall) should now be much smoother
- Fixed a bug so that placement previews will now hold their position after clicking, until they’ve been confirmed by the server
- Fixed a bug where orientation toggles for placement previews could flicker at higher latencies (Mei’s Ice Wall, Baptiste’s Amplification Matrix, Symmetra’s Photon Barrier)
- Fixed a bug that allowed attackers to leave the spawn room before the round starts
- Fixed a bug that caused her gun to clip into the camera slightly when jumping while shooting down sights
- Fixed an issue that enables Doomfist to get through doorways while using Rocket Punch and clipping the corner
- Fixed a bug that prevented Rocket Punch from consistently destroying Sombra’s Translocator and not being stopped by it, similar to Symmetra’s turrets
- Fixed an issue so that targets hit by Rocket Punch will now go directly backwards, instead of maintaining any lateral momentum they had
- Fixed an issue so that targets that are immune to stun but not immune to knockback (Zarya’s Particle Barrier, Zenyatta during Transcendence) are no longer able to affect knockback trajectory
- Fixed a bug that caused Doomfist to move more slowly for the duration of Meteor Strike when using it while crouched
- Fixed a bug that caused Doomfist to move backwards slightly slower during Meteor Strike
- Fixed a bug that prevented Defense Matrix from pointing down when D.Va was aiming downward while moving
- Fixed an issue that caused false positives with Lúcio’s animation landing prediction when wall riding
- Fixed a bug that caused some VFX to stop playing upon successive viewings of Orisa’s “Oh!” highlight intro in Hero Gallery
- Fixed a bug that caused charge knockback to be applied multiple times
- Fixed a bug that caused Wrecking Ball to get stuck in his slam animation if he landed on very flat, slippery surfaces
- Fixed a bug that caused Wrecking Ball to be temporarily stuck when using Piledriver on slippery surfaces
- Fixed a bug that caused Wrecking Ball to gain an incorrect amount of shields when using Adaptive Shield
- Fixed a bug that caused Zarya’s weapon and arm to animate oddly during her emotes when viewed in third person
- Fixed a bug that caused a delay in Zenyatta’s first person quick melee animation when interrupting his primary fire