Why do they disguise nerfs as "bug fixes"?

For example this questionable nerf in particular:

Developer Comment: We uncovered a bug that was setting Tracer’s maximum weapon spread smaller than intended. We’ll be monitoring the results of this one closely, as fixing it may have a significant impact on her overall effectiveness.

  • Spread increased by 15%.

Like how was it a bug if Tracer’s spread was like this for years? I really don’t get it if I’m going to be honest? Why does Tracer’s aim need to be punished by spread, shouldn’t she be a hero rewarded for her mechanical skills?


Don’t forget the “bug fix” for Ashe so she can’t gain ult charge while B.O.B is out… Even though the devs came outright and said it was a feature sometime during OW1


Blizzard has no clue how make balance changes, so instead they’re shady as hell about the justification. Remember the Bob ultimate “bugfix” from earlier this year?

  • 2019: Fixed a bug where Ashe wasn’t gaining ultimate charge while B.O.B. existed
  • 2023: Fixed a bug that allowed Ashe to gain Ultimate while B.O.B was active

It might be tempting to call this an overreaction, like when it happened before, but this is the pattern. Braindead balance changes and incompetent reworks, ad nauseam.


I remember that one, B.O.B. isn’t even an issue so I was surprised maybe he was the team carry in bronze-gold since those guys don’t know what cover is and just let him exist but I never said " Ashe has bob too much, nerf her now :rage:"

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IIRC they found that the bug first appeared in alpha and wasn’t in OW1. Having said that, the bug only applied to either her min or max spread, whereas the nerf applies to all the spread, so it makes her spread worse than it would’ve been had the bug never existed. Oh well.

That’s partly my issue, they pretty much nerfed her instead of completely fixing it back to normal. Tracer is a hero who doesn’t need nerfs, her being dominant in GM and Top 500 will always be a thing and you have heroes like Sojourn (high burst on body shot rail and OHK also disruptor shot), Cassidy, and Mei who counter her at high level play.

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I’d rather they do it that way rather then have an Evolve Wraith repeat. Wraith for the longest time had a bug where her abduction did double instances of damage and it let her just melt hunters. They nerfed her and eventually they discovered that problem, fixed it and she was left a lot weaker.

Though, tbh, she had gameplay problems anyway. She had this ability to become invisible and spawn an ai clone of herself. Whenever I heard newbies describing evolve as a “walking sim”, in my mind, I knew its was this monster they were talking about.

Or just pick Illari and click in the general direction of her face. :laughing: Tracer is such a free kill. I’ll be honest that this is a guilty pleasure of mine.

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Illari is absolutely frustrating to play against as Tracer, it’s basically try not to get 2 tapped and constantly keep tabs on of her Pylon is up or not.

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Feels like you have to spend 50% of the match just taking out pylon. Same with Sombra.


I don’t mind it, so long as when the “Bug” is fixed the change is reverted.
Hypothetical Example: Baps can currently heal through thin walls via his splash, devs hotfix in a splash healing/splash radius nerf for Baps to address the bug for the time being, devs fix bug and undo the Baps nerfs that the bug was initially addressed by.

The Ashe thing is nutty though, I feel like the old team left behind nothing for the new team and they saw Ashe as nonstandard and just classified her exception as a bug instead of just nerfing her ult generation/required charge if B.O.B. had too much uptime.
Similarly they definitely should just fix the Tracer “bug” and revert her spread to what it is/was supposed to be.

If it’s not gone a good chunk of your damage is going to be negated, it’s so stupid IMO. Healing turrets was not a good idea in hindsight.

I’d like to add that from the point of a software engineer [but not a game dev] the Bob example is also a red flag for other issues:

  • Blizzard SEs apparently don’t know whether particular gameplay elements are by-design or by-accident: “Did we design it this way or is it a bug?”
  • This suggests the code quality may be fairly poor (or at least its documentation)
  • More importantly this indicates there isn’t well-managed communication between product/gameplay design and the engineering team

TLDR: Quality software companies should have structures and processes that prevent this garbage, it’s insane that a company of Blizzard’s size cannot figure it out.

What was both bug fixes specifically referring to though?

I quoted the linked patch notes above. Specifically: should Ashe continue building her next ultimate charge while B.O.B. is still alive? If it’s a bug when she does and a bug when she doesn’t, then who the hell is telling the engineers how to build this game!?

But it doesn’t say what bug it refers to. For all we know it could be two different bugs, and not the same one you guys are the under impression of. I had assumed someone had tested or had knowledge of this

Can you objectively prove this?

Fair enough, yes both could be different technical bugs bubbling up, but because of how it was worded and delivered to customers - “2019 team thinks Ult charge should build, 2023 team thinks it should not” - the discrepancy would not usually come from the underlying bugs.

I guess if the product design changed, then they may have communicated this internally and made the change secretly (but incorrectly), then bug-fixed the change later in 2023. In this case they’re making fully-broken design changes without telling us in the patch notes, and I don’t know what to say about that.

It wasnt like that for years, i dont remember the time line exactly but i think the bug appeared sometime during ow2.

Bugfixes are anyways important, i mean, brig had the armor calculation “bug” on her. And that was possibly one reason why blizzard devs didnt understand why she was so strong as she was.

Some bugs then are arguably “techs” at times and fixing those can be more debatable.

Because they believe we are vegetables. And, let’s be honest, I do not blame them for thinking they could pull one over on us. :pensive: