Jeff Kaplan has released his latest update on balance changes to Overwatch heroes, and it’s big. Sombra has received substantial tweaks to different parts of her kit, whilst Mei and Doomfist have received some smaller changes. Hanzo has had some huge changes to his whole kit announced; however, while they’re fairly settled on, they aren’t due to hit the PTR just yet.
Sombra’s changes have largely been around relocating power from her ultimate into the rest of her kit, and incentivising her to play more aggressively. She no longer gets ult charge from hacked health packs, and her gun spread has been reduced a bit. The intention here was to make her charge her ultimate more through combat and less through random health packs.
With this combat focus, Sombra’s Hack has been improved. Hack is much quicker now, and blocks a wider range of abilities. For instance, while hacked Genji can’t double jump, Pharah can’t use her jets, Hanzo can’t wall climb, etc. Translocator also now lasts another 5 seconds, so Sombra has a bigger time window in which to decide whether to teleport away or not.
Finally, and crucially (as Jeff actually doesn’t mention this in the developer update video), Sombra’s Opportunist ability has been altered. Sombra can now see enemy health bars through walls if they are damaged at all, instead of only when the enemy reaches half health. It’s important to note, though, that this doesn’t apply to seeing the enemies themselves; that part still only works when they hit half health.
While Hanzo’s changes aren’t in this immediate patch, they’re big enough to merit a mention. In the current plans for him, Hanzo gets a new ability where he can shoot five arrows extremely rapidly. Furthermore, he has a horizontal leap in the direction he’s facing. The leap is intended to be used to escape, but could also be used to get into hard-to-reach places for sniping advantages.
These changes were reached through trial-and-error of some other changes. For example, one tested change was a “Piercing Arrow” in place of Scattershot, which could fire through shield’s like Reinhardt. Another option was adding an ability to Hanzo’s reload button, allowing him to use his Sonic or Piercing arrow more frequently. Finally, options were tested with Scatter Arrow needing to bounce off walls or ceilings instead of floors. These ideas, though, either felt clunky in practice or came a cross as a nerf, leading to the changes we’re currently expecting.
Mei and Doomfist:
Mei is receiving some quality of life changes; for example, her freeze will now linger on enemies for longer. This doesn’t mean that she freezes enemies in place for longer. Rather, the slow she applies will stay on enemies for longer — giving her a bigger window to catch up and finish freezing an enemy that dashes away or around a corner. Furthremore, her icicle ammo cost was reduced from 25 to 20, meaning she gets more shots with her alternate fire before needing to reload.
As for Doomfist, his ammo recovery rate is faster now. Changes were made to his gun not long ago, reducing his damage but increasing his fire rate with the hopes of arriving at the same rough DPS numbers. Considering those changes in tandem with this one, he should feel overall nicer to play.
The above changes are due to hit PTR in the next patch, barring Hanzo, whose changes are due out on PTR “soon™️”. You can find the raw version of the Patch Notes here, posted to Reddit via the Blizzard app.