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Overwatch 2 balance patch includes big changes for tanks, nerfs for Mercy

Tanks will play pretty differently in some game modes

Ramattra poses in his Nemesis form on the Shambali map in Overwatch 2 Image: Blizzard Entertainment
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Big balance changes are in store in season 3 of Overwatch 2, including substantial adjustments to the game’s tank heroes and a series of tweaks to Mercy, a hero constantly in flux. Tank players should play close attention to Blizzard’s patch notes, as that role is getting a game-changing nerf in certain modes.

One change that will affect all characters in Overwatch 2 starting with season 3 is how much ult charge players will retain when swapping to another hero. Thus far, Blizzard has let players keep 30% of their ultimate charge, but that will drop to 25% starting Tuesday.

As far as tanks are concerned, Blizzard is reducing the health totals for all tank heroes in game modes that do not have a role queue (e.g., Competitive Open Queue, arcade modes). The change, Blizzard says, will help “to address the relative power of those heroes in game modes where there can be multiple of them on the same team.” In practice, that will mean a character like D.Va will have a mech base health of 350 in role queue modes, but a mech base health of 200 in non-role queue modes. Doomfist’s health in role queue will be 450, while that will be reduced to 300 in non-role queue modes. The change may discourage teams from doubling or tripling up on tanks in certain modes.

Individual tank heroes are also getting some tweaks. Ramattra’s Annihilation ult is changing:

  • Damaging enemies with the ultimate now slows the duration timer down instead of pausing it entirely. Lasts up to 20 seconds
  • Ultimate cost increased 12%

And Reinhardt is getting a full suite of ability changes, as follows:

Charge

  • Cooldown reduced from 8 to 7 seconds

Fire Strike

  • Damage increased from 90 to 100

Earthshatter

  • Direct hit damage reduced from 250 to 170
  • Knockdown duration increased from 2.5 to 2.75 seconds
  • Ultimate cost increased 7%

Rocket Hammer

  • Knockback impulse reduced from 10 to 6

Elsewhere, like Ramattra and Reinhardt, tanks like Roadhog, Sigma, Wrecking Ball, and Zarya are seeing their ultimate costs increase to varying degrees. Damage and support characters like Mei, Phara, Brigitte, Lucio, and Moira will see their ultimate costs decreased by a few percentage points.

But the biggest changes are coming for Mercy players. Here’s the full list of tweaks and Blizzard’s justification for meddling with Mercy once again:

Guardian Angel

  • Cooldown increased from 1.5 to 2.5 seconds
  • Holding the backwards directional input and canceling the ability with Jump now moves 20% slower

Caduceus Staff

  • Healing-per-second reduced from 55 to 45
  • Healing is increased by 50% for allies under half health

Regeneration Passive

  • “Regeneration” Passive removed

New Passive: “Sympathetic Recovery”

  • Mercy heals herself for 25% of healing done with the Caduceus Staff

Blizzard says replacing Mercy’s Regeneration passive “with a more interesting interaction was something we wanted to do after all support heroes gained a similar version of it through their Role Passive.” Her healing ability through her Caduceus Staff will make Mercy “even more [of] a triage healer and enable her to more often save low health allies.”

Read on for the full and lengthy patch notes for Overwatch 2’s heroes.


HERO UPDATES

ALL HEROES

  • Maximum ultimate charge retained when swapping heroes reduced from 30 to 25%

Developer Comment: As part of this patch, there was a tuning pass for how often ultimate abilities are being generated, so expect to see several ultimate cost adjustments across multiple heroes.

TANK ROLE PASSIVE

  • The health totals for all tank heroes will be lower when playing any game mode that does not have a role queue. Health totals will remain the same for tanks when playing any Role Queue enabled game.

Developer Comment: This change to the tank HP pools helps to address the relative power of those heroes in game modes where there can be multiple of them on the same team.

TANK

D.Va

  • Mech base health in Role Queue modes remains the same at 350
  • Mech base health in non-Role Queue modes reduced from 350 to 200

Doomfist

  • Base health in Role Queue modes remains the same at 450
  • Base health in non-Role Queue modes reduced from 450 to 300

Junkerqueen

  • Base health in Role Queue modes increased to 450
  • Base health in non-Role Queue modes reduced from 425 to 300

Developer Comment: The overall base health for Junkerqueen is increased by 25 HP.

Orisa

  • Base health in Role Queue modes remains the same at 275
  • Base health in non-Role Queue modes reduced from 275 to 125

Augmented Fusion Driver

  • Damage falloff range reduced from 25 to 15 meters

Ramattra

  • Base health in Role Queue modes remains the same at 450
  • Base health in non-Role Queue modes reduced from 450 to 300

Annihilation

  • Damaging enemies with the ultimate now slows the duration timer down instead of pausing it entirely. Lasts up to 20 seconds
  • Ultimate cost increased 12%

Developer Comment: The idea of an ultimate ability potentially lasting forever is an exciting concept, but the reality is that if it’s too easy to do it causes a lot of frustrations and with Ramattra’s ultimate in particular, an excessive amount of visual noise. We’re limiting the maximum duration to 20 seconds, which is still highly impactful for most team fights, but it guarantees it’ll end in a reasonable amount of time.

Reinhardt

  • Base health in Role Queue modes remains the same at 325
  • Base health in non-Role Queue modes reduced from 325 to 175

Charge

  • Cooldown reduced from 8 to 7 seconds

Fire Strike

  • Damage increased from 90 to 100

Earthshatter

  • Direct hit damage reduced from 250 to 170
  • Knockdown duration increased from 2.5 to 2.75 seconds
  • Ultimate cost increased 7%

Rocket Hammer

  • Knockback impulse reduced from 10 to 6

Developer Comment: In similar fashion to Roadhog’s Chain Hook combo changes last season, we’d generally like to avoid heroes in the Tank role from killing enemies in one shot. Earthshatter direct hit damage is being reduced with that goal in mind. In most cases, targets on the receiving end would die anyway during the knockdown stun, but it does open up some potential for their allies to intervene.

For now, we’re fine with Charge pin staying lethal to many characters due to the difficulty and risk involved. The Fire Strike damage increase does mean it could once again one-shot when combined with Baptiste’s Amplification Matrix, but that requires an ultimate combo with another hero. We’ll see how it plays out and adjust if necessary.

The Rocket Hammer knockback reduction sounds like a loss of power though it is actually aiming to reduce the number of times Reinhardt accidentally knocks enemies out of his melee range.

Roadhog

  • Base health in Role Queue modes remains the same at 700
  • Base health in non-Role Queue modes reduced from 700 to 550

Whole Hog

  • Maximum duration increased from 6 to 8 seconds
  • Ultimate cost increased 8%

Developer Comment: Allowing Roadhog to use abilities during his ultimate made it much more reliable in a solo tank environment, though doing so was often much like just canceling the ultimate as it ran out of time. We’re adding a couple seconds to the maximum duration to increase the flexibility of player choices during the Whole Hog ultimate, but we’ll keep an eye on if it’s simply too much damage or knockback overall.

Sigma

  • Base health in Role Queue modes remains the same at 350
  • Base health in non-Role Queue modes reduced from 350 to 200

Gravitic Flux

  • Ultimate cost increased 7%

Winston

  • Base health in Role Queue modes remains the same at 350
  • Base health in none non-Role Queue modes reduced from 350 to 200

Barrier Projector

  • Health reduced from 700 to 650

Wrecking Ball

  • Base health in Role Queue modes reduced from 600 to 450
  • Base health in non-Role Queue modes reduced from 600 to 300
  • Shield health increased from 0 to 150

Pile Driver

  • Cooldown reduced from 10 to 8 seconds

Minefield

  • Ultimate cost increased 9%
  • Arming time reduced from 1.5 to 1 second

Developer Comments: Wrecking Ball received some of the fewest changes in the transition to 5v5 as he proved to be one of the most effective solo tanks in early testing. His extreme mobility and massive health pool enable him to choose when to fight much more freely than other heroes. These changes are aimed at reducing his downtime so he can press that advantage even further. The regenerating shield health pool often leads to not needing to search for as many health packs before getting back in position.

Zarya

  • Base health in Role Queue modes remains the same at 250
  • Base health in non-Role Queue modes reduced from 250 to 100

Graviton Surge

  • Ultimate cost increased 8%

DAMAGE

Cassidy

Combat Roll

  • Movement is no longer blocked by enemy player collision

Peacekeeper

  • Primary fire falloff range increased from 20 to 25 meters

Developer Comment: Combat Roll not being blocked by players is mostly a small quality-of-life change to make the ability feel smoother, particularly when rolling in a direction that you’re not facing.

Junkrat

Concussion Mine

  • Maximum damage reduced from 120 to 100

Developer Comment: As the Concussion Mine already has damage falloff the further from the explosion the enemy player is, lowering the maximum damage will require Junkrat to be slightly more accurate to achieve the same lethality with some of his combos.

Mei

Blizzard

  • Ultimate cost reduced 5%

Pharah

Barrage

  • Ultimate cost reduced 5%

Reaper

Death Blossom

  • Ultimate cost reduced 8%

Soldier:76

Heavy Pulse Rifle

  • Number of shots to reach maximum recoil increased from 4 to 6
  • Recoil reduced 12%

Developer Comment: This is more an adjustment for the gun feels rather than strictly trying to add power, but it does have an effect on both. It makes the weapon handle more similar to the original version in that you can burst fire more accurately before the recoil kicks in.

Sombra

Machine Pistol

  • Damage per projectile increased from 7 to 7.5

Hack

  • Health pack hacked duration increased from 30 to 45 seconds

Developer Comments: Sombra is underperforming after her last round of changes. While we make progress on a small rework for her abilities, this damage increase will help strengthen Sombra even against targets that aren’t affected by her Hack effect. It’s a small increase per projectile, but it adds up quickly due to her fast fire rate. The health pack duration increase is a minor buff to avoid needing to re-hack them quite so often.

Symmetra

Photon Barrier

  • Ultimate cost increased 10%

Torbjorn

Deploy Turret

  • Turret base health reduced from 250 to 225

Developer Comment: With the move to 5v5 and one less player to shoot at it, Torbjorn’s turret tends to survive longer than ever. We’re reducing its health slightly to help it feel less like a sixth player and be easier to deal with once someone turns their attention to it.

Widowmaker

  • Base health reduced from 200 to 175

Developer Comment: We experimented with Widowmaker at 200 health for a while due to concerns that the increased power of tanks made her too vulnerable to them. Ultimately she gains more advantages from 5v5 than she loses so we’re returning her back to 175 HP to better enable more heroes to contest her lethal ranged capabilities.

SUPPORT

Ana

Biotic Grenade

  • Effect duration reduced from 4 to 3.5 seconds

Brigitte

Repair Pack

  • Healing over time reduced from 55 to 50 per second
  • Applying a Repair Pack now instantly heals for 25 health on impact

Rally

  • Ultimate cost reduced 10%

Developer Comment: Repair Pack having a small amount of instant healing will help Brigitte have more agency in saving an injured ally and generally makes the ability feel more responsive and impactful.

Lucio

Sound Barrier

  • Ultimate cost reduced 7%

Mercy

Guardian Angel

  • Cooldown increased from 1.5 to 2.5 seconds
  • Holding the backwards directional input and canceling the ability with Jump now moves 20% slower

Caduceus Staff

  • Healing-per-second reduced from 55 to 45
  • Healing is increased by 50% for allies under half health

Regeneration Passive

  • “Regeneration” Passive removed

New Passive: “Sympathetic Recovery”

  • Mercy heals herself for 25% of healing done with the Caduceus Staff

Developer Comment: Replacing Mercy’s Regeneration passive with a more interesting interaction was something we wanted to do after all support heroes gained a similar version of it through their Role Passive.

For the Caduceus Staff change, this will empower Mercy even more as a triage healer and enable her to more often save low health allies. The overall time it takes to fully heal a 200-health hero from 1 hp is about the same as before.

For Guardian Angel, the cooldown increase is necessary to reduce the greatly increased mobility resulting from the recent rework to the jump cancel. It enabled Mercy to quickly launch herself long distances in any direction and be overly evasive for such a short downtime.

Moira

Coalescence

  • Ultimate cost reduced 5%

Zenyatta

Orb of Destruction

  • Ammo increased from 20 to 25

Developer Comment: We’ve been discussing options to potentially increase Zenyatta’s survivability. We’ve seen previously in the beta that Zenyatta is on somewhat of a knife’s edge for balance. Even just 25 more shield health pushed him into overpowered-must-pick territory at the pro level. To balance his powerful damage output, the lack of mobility is an intentional disadvantage by design, so we’d prefer not to change that too much. Instead, we’re adding more ammo to lengthen the times between when Zenyatta is most vulnerable, which is when he is reloading.

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