Widowmaker, D.Va, Pharah, and Mercy are characters that have somewhat fallen out of favour recently in the Overwatch meta, both for amateur and professional play. With both direct and in-direct changes to different characters, these heroes have had a hard time keeping up with the pace of the game. Blizzard are clearly keen to change this, as they have announced planned changes for the aforementioned heroes within the PTR.
For those that don't know what the PTR is, it is Blizzard's test environment for upcoming changes that they want play-tested and screened before they enter the live game. Whilst changes made within the this Public Test Realm are by no means guaranteed to make it into the main game, they rarely are rejected, meaning that there is a very good chance that the changes made to the characters mentioned here are going to make it to the live game with the next patch.
Geoff Goodman, the principle designer of Overwatch, attached the following extra patch notes on October 23rd to the pre-existing PTR change notes from the 21st of October:
- Call Mech
- Ultimate cost has been decreased by 20%
Developer Comments: This reduces the cost back down to what it was before the global ultimate cost change.
- Venom Mine
- Explosion no longer damages the player who placed the mine
- Widow’s Kiss
- Charge rate increased by 20%
- Rocket Launcher
- Minimum explosion damage has been increased to 25% of rocket’s total damage (formerly 12%)
- Minimum explosion knockback has been decreased to 0% of rocket’s total knockback (formerly 75%)
- Passive health regeneration now kicks in when Mercy avoids taking damage for 1 second (formerly 3 seconds)
These changes should come as a welcome addition to shake up the current meta for amateur and competitive play. Widowmaker has been out of the meta for quite a while since a huge nerf to her in June, Pharah has been consistently out-paced by Hanzo, Ana, and McCree, especially on PC, and Mercy had become a bottom of the pile support until her recent re-buff. D.Va's ability to regain her mech quickly had also been affected by the 25% Ultimate Cost Increase added on the 21st of October, something that Blizzard felt punished her too hard for being taken out of her mech.
With the constant changes to the meta and fine-tuning of heroes being a regular thing, it is clear that Blizzard are doing their best to make sure Overwatch solidifies itself as a long term, serious, competitive game.