It’s been an active season for Overwatch, one that’s seen some pretty significant changes to many of the dominant heroes in the game. After tinkering with the kits and cooldowns for D. Va, Mercy, Lúcio, Roadhog, and Junkrat, the game is potentially the most balanced it’s ever been, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still changes to make. After the last round of updates altered some critical components of Lúcio and Mercy—both intentionally and unintentionally—a patch went live yesterday that addressed players’ comments and concerns.
First on the list is Lúcio, who had his Wall Ride speed reduced after Blizzard corrected an exploit that allowed players to generate huge speed boosts by kicking off of walls multiple times, usually by binding “Jump” to the scroll wheel. While it solved the unintended effects, a new bug reduced the speed he was supposed to receive, removing some of the potent mobility that makes Lúcio one of the most played characters in the game.
The patch that went live yesterday remedied this issue by giving our DJ friend a 65% increase to his speed after jumping from a wall ride. While the previous bug was far from crippling—Lúcio’s skill set is still one of a kind in Overwatch, so he would have remained powerful no matter what—this brings him back in line with his intended design.
Also included in the patch were changes to one of the most controversial characters in the game: Mercy. Easily the most-picked hero in Overwatch, her low skill floor and huge advantage with the one-of-a-kind Resurrect ability has led to some changes that were aimed at removing her immediate value. Previously capable of “rezzing” her entire team at once, Mercy now has that ability on a 30-second timer and a new ultimate attack, Valkyrie, which previously refreshed her Resurrect cooldown and set the timer to 10 seconds instead. Still deemed too powerful by the community and Blizzard alike, yesterday’s patch has provided players with a decent middle ground.
Valkyrie no longer resets the cooldown on Resurrect, nor does it set the timer from 30 to 10 seconds—however, it does reward players with an additional “charge” for the ability. In practice, this amount to just one more “rez,” instead of potentially three, four, or five over the course of her ultimate attack.
Finally, an advanced and not particularly intended maneuver in which Mercy could use her teammates to slingshot through the air has been both limited and added to the game as an intended effect. “Guardian Angel,” which the medic can use to fly toward a teammate every two seconds, can now be canceled by jumping, much like Widowmaker’s hook. This allows players to use the momentum to continue flying past, preserving that critical mobility for the somewhat fragile healer.
The Overwatch community is demanding and Blizzard has plenty more characters, maps, and modes in development. While things seem to have settled for the moment, a new balance patch is always around the corner.