Overwatch PTR Potential Changes Header

Content Type: Gaming News
Date: November 9, 2016

This time around, the changes on the Overwatch PTR are quite vast. They cover a wide range of aspects of the game, including bug fixes and tweaks in the amount of experience required for leveling. However, this newest patch brings some of the biggest and most widespread hero changes yet, and so they will be the primary focus. Whether or not these changes will be added to the game is unclear, as they seem to be highly experimental at this stage. Hence the encouragement to try them out!

For more information on the Overwatch PTR, such as how to participate or more detailed patch notes for the October 20th, 22nd, and November 7th changes, visit the official overwatch site

overwatch competitive season 2 screenshot

The most important thing to consider here is that this PTR represents a lot of little experiments in hero balancing. There are multiple hero changes all being tested at once, and are subject to change as testing progresses. So we shouldn’t get our hopes up too high that the changes we like are going to hit live, because there is a chance they won’t.

It also offers a unique opportunity in the sense that you have a chance to play the game in a way that is so far from normal Overwatch. Sure, it is the same maps and game modes, and even the same characters. But what is different is, so many of our heroes have been changed that the way they interact and balance each other has been completely shifted. Now is your chance for an alternative Overwatch experience. One with a new meta, ridiculous team compositions, and maybe some overpowered plays. This is also a good break for some of the people who are feeling like the current quick play/competitive scene is getting a little stale.

These are the changes that are applied to every hero. There are only 2 so far, but they make a pretty big impact on the way teams will play together.

First, characters will no longer build ultimate charge for damaging non-player objects like turrets or Symmetra’s Teleporter.

Second, characters now have had their ultimate costs increased by 25%.

These are seemingly small changes that are pretty straightforward in explanation. But, they can make a huge impact on the pace of the game. Overwatch very much revolves around ultimate usage, and these changes will make it just a bit harder to build ult charge. This may slow the pace of the game and makes critical pushes or holds which revolve around ultimate use that much more significant. Ultimates are harder to charge and so are more valuable.

dva overwatch ptr screenshot
Image courtesy of hanzo-the-archer.tumblr.com

I absolutely adore D.Va, and so I am actually quite excited for her changes. As of now, she has an increase in health (from 100 to 200). Her armor remains at 400. This makes her even harder to kill, and makes her a bit tankier.

As if that wasn’t awesome enough, she now moves a bit faster while firing (25% movement speed increase). Finally it will be easier to confirm frags without the super slow chunky mech walk.

And to counteract the increase in ult charge for all characters, her Call Mech cost has been decreased by 20%. So, it won’t take quite as long to get back to your tanky self.

The biggest change for Torbjorn is his ability to generate scrap passively. He can even generate enough in spawn to create a few armor packs before the match starts (provided you picked him at the very start).

Besides this, scrap collected is now decreased by 40% and his hammer has been altered a bit. Its speed is increased but its damage has decreased, both at about 25%. This doesn’t seem to affect his dps with it much (as it isn’t too often you’ll find yourself using it to kill anyways) but it may make turret repair a bit more fluid.

zarya overwatch ptr image

There has been a lot of talk about the need (or absence of such a need) for Zarya nerfs. Her amazing synergy with a majority of ultimates as well as the usefulness of her barriers makes her a very useful character to have.

She is, at least in this PTR, slightly nerfed. The energy gained from both the barriers she places on herself and teammates has been decreased by 20%.  So her ult now takes even longer to charge from the universal increase, and it is a bit harder to get maximum energy.

It is unclear if this will make any severe impact on her usage if this patch goes live, but it could make her ultimate much more high stakes, pressuring Zarya player to insure it isn’t wasted.

Pharah has a few seemingly minor changes, with most being to her rockets. The minimum explosion damage she now does is double that of the original, moving from 12% to 25%. There is also a severe reduction in the minimum rocket knockback, as it drops to 0% when it was previously 75%.

Besides this, she is also getting a 35% increase to the lift of her hover jets.

Perhaps these small buffs will make a difference in her usage, as Pharmercy is seeing quite a bit of play across all levels of the varying servers.

So, Mercy isn’t getting a huge change, but it may make all the difference. She now regenerates her health 1 second after taking damage, when it was formerly 3 seconds. This passive regen can make all the difference in critical moments. The extra 2 seconds may mean the difference between life and death.

Ana Overwatch PTR Screenshot
Image Courtesy of zobra.info

Ana, as of now, has only one change. However, it is one of the most heavily impacting ones yet: Nano Boost no longer grants an increase in movement speed. So now, when you see a Boosted Reinhardt, you don’t have to worry quite so much. He will have to work a little harder to get those kills. Though Rein has already been replaced by the Reaper strategy and was seeing a little less usage. It doesn’t seem likely to me that the movement speed nerf will stop the Boosted Death Blossoms, but they will almost certainly hurt the Boosted Rein.

Widowmaker, after already receiving a slight decrease in her scoping animation time, is in for a few more slight changes. Her venom mine no longer damages her (it’s about time) and her charge rate for scoped shots is now increased by 20%. This all seems to be in an effort to make her a bit less clunky and better suited to Overwatch’s fast gameplay.

Mei is only getting another increase in her ultimate cost by 15%, in addition to the universal increase of 25%.

Since her ultimate already charged relatively quickly, and all other characters have had their costs increased too, it may not make that much of an impact for her overall.

Lucio is getting yet another small nerf, this time to his healing. His heal over time has now been decreased by 10%. Maybe we will finally see a drop in Lucio usage. Though a small reduction in healing and an increase in ultimate cost doesn’t seem like a strong enough nerf to push him out of meta. This is especially likely since no other healer has been boosted significantly enough to take his place. However, unexpected new combinations may arise from all the rapid changes we see to so many of the heroes.


You might be thinking we’ve forgotten someone. Maybe Sombra? Well, no we haven’t we just thought we’ve been waiting so long for her, that she deserved a post all of her own. Stay tuned.

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