Experimental Mode – Hero Balance February 2021

Hey everyone!

We’re back with another Experimental mode focused on testing some balance changes. As with all Experimental modes, these changes are not guaranteed to reach the live version of the game. Check out the patch notes here.

What are we trying to address?

While we don’t have an overarching theme for today’s Experimental patch, we’re hoping to get your feedback on a handful of heroes.

What are we testing?

For this Experimental patch, we’re adjusting four heroes:

Orisa – Orisa has been perceived as underwhelming on the Tank front recently. We’re looking to buff up her Fortify to remove the ability to receive critical headshots while the effect is active. We believe that, in addition to its CC immunity, this should make the ability more consistent in its defensive capabilities.

Reaper – Currently, Reaper is a very in-your-face hero, given the high damage potential but very short range on his Hellfire Shotguns. We’re experimenting with increasing his range slightly but decreasing the damage of each of his shotgun pellets by 1. This should give him the ability to combat enemies further away, but not do quite as much burst damage from distance.

Winston – We’re rebalancing the distribution of Amor and Health on Winston to make him more resistant to shotguns, beams, and weapons with high rates of fire. As another hero (like Reaper) that requires close range for maximum efficacy, there’s necessity to be up close to your opponents, which introduces high risk of being burst down. We want to make sure he has the tools he needs to survive while filling this role.

Wrecking Ball – Wrecking Ball can knock opponents back very often. We want to reduce the extremity of his knockback abilities to bring it more in line with other heroes’ knockback abilities that also have low cooldowns.

We hope you check out the new Experimental mode and provide us with your feedback! Science will reveal the truth – And all great science requires data! As always, this is an Experiment, so the changes in this test may not reach the live game.

Thank you!


Here are the changes:



  • Prevents critical headshot damage while effect is active

Developer Comments: This will make Fortify more reliable at preventing large bursts of incoming damage and should help it feel more consistent as a defensive ability.


Hellfire Shotguns

  • Spread reduced from 8 to 6
  • Damage per projectile reduced from 7 to 6

Developer Comments: Reaper’s shotguns have a high damage potential but require close range or large targets to fully utilize. We’re experimenting with smoothing this out by extending the range at which he can consistently deal damage while lowering the maximum damage of each shot.



  • Base Armor/Health has been redistributed from 100/400 to 150/350

Developer Comments: With this change Winston will be slightly more resilient against shotguns, beams, and weapons with a high rate of fire.

Wrecking Ball

Grappling Claw

  • Knockback strength reduced 25%

Developer Comments: For how often it can occur, Wrecking Ball’s knockback is potentially too strong. We’re reducing the distance it moves enemy players to bring it more in line with other low cooldown knockback abilities.


Glad that Winston is getting some love. Symmetra is trash, as usual.
How about reverting the beam damage on armors nerf from goats era?


Thats a big buff for Orisa.


Winston is instadead in his ult with 1000 health, hows redistributing his health/armor going to do anything?


Symmetra is an “in your face” hero yet gets nerfs left and right. This Winston buff makes him even better at already melting Symm.

RIP Symm even more.


I mean, it’s an okay patch. But when are they gonna make it so Plat and below isn’t “Rein or Lose”?

Just gotta remove the AntiDive on:

  • ShieldBash
  • RepairPack
  • Whipshot
  • Accretion
  • ImmortalityField
  • Make Mei a Tank with minimum needed HP

Then that clears the way to having strong Orisa Barriers, and strong Sigma barriers.
(Since BarrierHP doesn’t matter if you Dive right past it).

Also couldn’t hurt to refer the knockbacks that aren’t melee-based, to how they were in 2018.


Don’t know about that Orisa buff, but Winston is welcome.

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do you mean four or is the reaper one purely experimental

The Winston buffs are better than nothing, but I think it’s gonna be like the Dva armor changes that did nothing.


Goodbye boop spots :pensive:

Also Widow will be even harder to disrupt now, oof

I’m at least thankful for a good orisa buff but damn that knock back might not feel good. And rein+other tanks were already hard to displace too


always better to buff like that

Orisa - meh the hero is so unfun buffing her might fix her in meta doesn’t fix her meh play style.

Reaper - sure dmg nerf but more range. Mixes things up.

Winston - nice! Could be good or bad.

Ball - good start but more nerfs otw I’m sure.


I would rather:

  • reduce Orisa’s total fortify time
  • buff the damage resistance by 5%
  • turn it into a toggle ability like defense matrix
  • make it so that shooting while fortified doesn’t give Orisa a movement penalty

With Wrecking Ball, if you are going to lower his knock back strength, it would be nice to add in a bit of anti-stun/moving disadvantages while in his knock back state for a brief moment.

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Also I’m amazed that Echo isn’t being nerfed before anyone else is even looked at.


They all look good, just wish Dva wasn’t so bad.

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Okay well, this is a super duper interesting patch I really can’t wait to see the feedback

Right off the bat I fear that Reaper is gonna do too little damage but idk how he is in practice. I could be wrong but maybe if he’s too weak adding another pellet or 2 would perfect him

Orisa I’m interested to hear feedback on, Ball I’m gonna test a lot, Winston… I’m just worried this won’t do anything. He needs to not immediately die in Primal, though I can’t exactly complain about more sweet juicy armor

I mean, It’s an alright experimental, would have been better with an echo nerf instead a orisa buff tbh.

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