With several weeks in the books, we’ve been so humbled and honored that over 25 million players have answered the call to Overwatch 2. With the live service now more stable, we’d like to take some time to focus on what we have planned for Hero balance in an upcoming game update, prior to the changes that we have planned for Season 2 (something we’ll have more to say on later).
While we talked about our plans for Season 2 in our previous Dev Blog, there are some Hero balance adjustments we’d like to make sooner. As promised, we’re focused on some tactical adjustments meant to bring current standouts like D.Va, Zarya, Genji, and Sombra more in line with the rest of the roster.
Hack ability lockout duration reduced from 1.75 to 1.5 seconds
Hacked enemies are no longer valid targets for hacking for the duration of the effect
Hacked damage multiplier reduced from 40 to 25%
Dev Comment: With Sombra’s rework, she gained a lot more damage to help account for the reduced ability lockout duration of Hack. This has proven to be too deadly for a flanker with easy access to the enemy backlines, and we’ve similarly had to address the damage output of heroes like Tracer, Reaper, and now, Genji, in the 5v5 format.
She can also no longer channel hack on an already hacked target as feedback indicated the reduced cooldown combined with hacking from stealth proved to be too frustrating for many players. This is essentially a per-target cooldown that enables Hack to keep its current 4 second cooldown for potentially hacking multiple targets.
Maximum ammo reduced from 30 to 24
Shuriken damage reduced from 29 to 27
Dev Comment: Genji is a Hero that has greatly benefited from the move to 5v5. Changing to a single Tank and the reduction of crowd control has meant Genji has had less obstacles in his way, however he hasn’t received tuning updates since he wasn’t actively in the meta until launch (something also informed by our general preference to avoid preemptive adjustments when possible). We also saw that, in early beta tests, other flanking Heroes such as Tracer and Reaper were also significantly more effective in OW2. These changes will bring Genji more in line with the other flanking damage heroes.
- Barrier duration reduced from 2.5 to 2 seconds
- Barrier cooldown increased from 10 to 11 seconds
Dev Comment: Early player sentiment predicted Zarya as one of the weakest solo tanks in 5v5 though her high damage potential and barrier uptime have proven to be extremely effective. For opponents, feedback has indicated this can feel as though Zarya has very limited windows of vulnerability, which feels difficult to deal with when combined with her ramping damage potential.
These changes will reduce the barrier uptime, making it slightly more difficult for her to gain energy and will provide enemies with more time to deal damage to her.
- Fusion Cannon spread increased from 3.5 to 3.75
- Boosters impact damage reduced from 25 to 15
Dev Comment: D.va ended up feeling too deadly after the last round of changes given how resilient she can be with the improved Defense Matrix. Both our stats and high-level player feedback regarded her as not effective enough before that compared with other tanks, so this is a partial revert to establish some middle ground there.
- Swift Step invulnerability duration reduced from 0.4 to 0.25 seconds
Dev Comment: This invulnerability window is primarily intended to help avoid instantly dying to something unseen after teleporting through walls, but it ended up being a little too long and led to some confusion when shooting at Kiriko
Our current goal is to deploy these changes in an upcoming update on November 15th, 2022. Should that plan change, we will be sure to update you here. For those wanting a preview of how these changes will play, check out the Overwatch League Playoffs on October 30th.
Lead Hero Designer, Alec Dawson, will be hosting a Twitter Spaces later today at 11:00AM PDT on the PlayOverwatch Twitter, with a live Twitter Q&A to follow from his personal account, @gw_alec. We invite you to join us to go deeper about our current thoughts around live balance and Hero design.