Blizzard has released a new patch for the Overwatch 2 beta, nerfing strong characters and buffing weaker ones. On top of that, Zenyatta got a new experimental ability.
In the patch, which is live now, a slew of changes and fixes have been made to try and shake up the current Overwatch 2 beta. The most drastic change is almost certainly to Zenyatta, who gets a brand new ability.
He now has a new passive, which should make him a little harder to approach, giving him some much-needed survivability. His new passive, “Snap Kick”, increases his melee damage by 50% and significantly increases his knockback. This allows him to push enemies away from his face, and more powerful melee makes him particularly dangerous for diving characters like Tracer who will now be afraid to get too close.
In the patch notes, the devs explained, “Zenyatta struggles to fight at close range, so he was at a disadvantage if an enemy flanked or jumped on him. His new passive, Snap Kick, will help him create space and bring enemies into his combat range.
“We think this new passive will be a fun tweak to his kit, but we also want this change to acknowledge community concerns. We understand that 5v5 has made support heroes more vulnerable, and we wanted to give Zenyatta tools to help create space between him and enemies.
On top of that, Zenyatta’s base shields are increased from 150 to 175 to give him more health.
Balance changes and bug fixes
Elsewhere, Wrecking Ball returns from a short stint out of Overwatch 2 due to its ability to kick all other players out of the game. On top of that, it returns with a buff, increasing its knockback by 36%, which should allow him to move the enemy team further.
Soldier 76, arguably the best Damage hero in the game, is also seeing some major nerfs in an effort to bring him up to par with the rest of the roster. Her bullets now deal 18 damage instead of 20 and her Sprint has had her speed reduced by 10%.
He did, however, receive some help in the form of buffs for his Ultimate. The Tactical Visor now allows critical hits and no longer removes its Heavy Pulse Rifle damage drop.
There are also quality of life changes, such as fixes for the kill stream not showing the correct information or health packs missing timers.
While this is just a balance fix for the beta, it’s exciting to see a fix just a week after the beta launch. Blizzard’s cadence of communication and action so far is encouraging, especially with two years of near radio silence right after us. If this level of engagement continues, players will certainly feel that their concerns are being heard.
Version 188.8.131.52 Beta 1 Patch Notes
Here is a full list of patch notes:
Fixed a bug where the “Thanks for reporting” message was unclear
Fixed a bug where names in the friends list would appear in alphabetical order regardless of game state
Fixed a bug where heroes who kill themselves would display incorrectly in the kill stream
Fixed a bug where health packs sometimes lacked timers
Fixed a bug where Reaper was sometimes auto-selected when selecting hero
Fixed a bug where the control progress bar was sometimes the wrong color
Made several sound volume and mix adjustments
Fixed several crashes
Fixed a bug where Wrecking Ball could crash other players
Fixed a bug where melee attacks were not dealing damage to Doomfist during Power Block
Fixed a bug where Roadhog’s hook cooldown would start on return instead of being cast
Fixed a bug where the soldier’s Heavy Pulse Rifle could clumsily break while in Tactical Visor
Fixed a bug where Soldier 76 had a tilted UI when wearing his Ugly Sweater skin
Fixed a bug where firing Symmetra’s turrets over the horizon would render the turrets unusable
Fixed a bug where Hanzo’s White Wolf skin would appear invisible
Fixed a bug where Brigitte’s shield was not blocking damage from above
Fixed a bug where using Nano Boost on Doomfist would overwrite its damage reduction
Fixed a bug where Sonic Amplifier could stall and not reload
Adjusted the geometry at the top of the train to prevent players from staying there indefinitely
Adjusted some geometries that could be abused by players
Railgun Alt Fire
Projectile width increased from 0.05m to 0.1m
Cooldown reduced from 7 to 6 seconds
We saw a lot of players of different skill levels struggling to land shots with his Alt Fire, so we widened the projectile width.
Sojourn is all about mobility, and we wanted her to move more freely across maps. We think this will help increase its efficiency and make it even more fun to play.
Heavy Pulse Rifle
Damage reduced from 20 to 18
Movement speed reduced from 50 to 40%
Now allows critical hits, if a hit would have been a critical hit without it working
No longer removes the damage falloff from his Heavy Pulse Rifle
We think Soldier 76 was over-optimized during the first week of the PvP beta. He was extremely mobile with the new damage passive that increases movement speed by 10%. We reduced his Sprint ability a bit with the new passive in mind.
Trooper 76 has always been a high damage hero, but we are seeing fewer counters against him with one less tank per team. We reduced the damage of his Heavy Pulse Rifle to make it 5v5.
We wanted to make Tactical Visor a more interesting ultimate for players who want to push their aiming skills through this ability. The purpose of this change isn’t just to buff him or offset nerfs. We wanted to make Soldier 76 more fun to play while rewarding mechanical skill.
Movement speed reduced from 65% to 50%
After a week of testing the new damage passive, we decided to balance Sombra’s stealth speed with the 10% increase in movement speed in mind.
This ability changed from a “channeled” ultimate (eg Pharah, Reaper, Cassidy) to a “transformed” ultimate (eg Soldier: 76, Genji, Winston). This is what it means:
The weapon no longer fires automatically and you must press Primary Fire to use the ultimate
You can use normal abilities during Whole Hog without canceling the ultimate
Stuns will no longer cancel the ultimate
We’ve seen Roadhog underperform, so we’re making his ultimate more interesting, efficient, and fun. Roadhog was dying frequently while using Whole Hog, so we’re trying to give him more options and flexibility in his ultimate.
Secondary fire ammo cost reduced from 20 to 12
This change to Winston’s secondary fire allows him to use it more often without sacrificing as much of his primary fire. We want his secondary fire to feel less restrictive to use and more fluid like his kit.
Recoil increased by 36%
We are restoring Roll’s recoil to the original value when Wrecking Ball was cast. We wanted to give Wrecking Ball a more unique role as a dive tank capable of splitting enemy teams. We made this change with the Tank passive of 30% recoil resistance in mind.
Duration reduced from 4 to 3.5 seconds
There are fewer counters in Graviton Surge with one fewer tank per team and phase effects no longer escape Zarya’s ultimate. We saw the ultimate outperformance, so this change brings it in line with 5v5 gameplay.
Self-healing penalty increased from 30% to 60%
Lucio had incredible survivability with Crossfade stacked with the new passive support role, so we’ve reduced the amount he heals himself.
Healing ammo increased from 10 to 13
Baptist is underperforming because the teams aren’t playing together right now. Increasing his healing ammo will allow him to heal more targets that aren’t necessarily grouped together.
Ammo increased from 12 to 15
Duration reduced from 4 to 3 seconds
Ana’s Biotic Grenade was too effective with one tank less and Barriers less frequent, so we’re reducing the duration of the ability. We’ve also seen Ana use her grenade less frequently on herself due to the new support passive ability. To help compensate for his grenade, we wanted to give him some more power by increasing the ammo of his Biotic Rifle.
Base shields increased from 150 to 175
New passive added: Instant Kick
This passive increases fast melee damage by 50% and greatly increases its knockback
Zenyatta struggles to fight at close range, so he was at a disadvantage if an enemy flanked or jumped on him. His new passive, Snap Kick, will help him create space and place enemies within his combat range.
We think this new passive will be a fun tweak to his kit, but we also want this change to acknowledge community concerns. We understand that 5v5 has made support heroes more vulnerable, and we wanted to give Zenyatta tools to help create space between him and enemies.
It’s hard to tell when Brigitte lands a Shield Bash as the impact of this ability wasn’t easily noticeable. This is a subtle change that will make the ability more satisfying.