Following her reveal at BlizzCon 2018, Ashe and her dynamic partner B.O.B. joined the PC testing community on the Overwatch PTR Server. After being subjected to relentless usage from both pro and causal players alike, Ashe now hits live servers and is finally available to both the PC and console communities. Though the highlight of the recent patch revolves around the Bonnie and Clyde duo, it also brings some much needed balance changes to staple heroes such as Mercy, Roadhog, Reaper, and Symmetra.
Welcome Ashe and B.O.B.
The leader of the Deadlock Gang now joins the fray as Overwatch’s hero 29. The newest edition within the damage category offers a little bit of something for everybody. Her primary weapon; The Viper, is a leaver-action rifle offering dominance at medium to long ranges throughout the battlefield. Its two firing modes offer an increased rate of fire while hip-fired, and increased damage with a slower fire-rate while scoped. The versatility provides an opportunity for dominance against heroes of all types.
When in sticky situations, Ashe’s Coach gun functions as a close range, high damage weapon as well as a tool of escape. While in combat, Ashe can utilize her Coach Gun to both damage and knock back her assailants with a swift blast. The hand cannon also offers unexpected maneuverability to the sharpshooter, giving her a potential advantage in map control and engagement management.
Regarded as her strongest ability, Ashe’s Dynamite offers explosive upside to the intimidating gang leader. Her delayed explosive provides immense area denial through a powerful explosion and continuous fire damage to those effected. A crack shot can shoot the Dynamite right out of the sky, flanking enemy shields and peaking corners. It also presents a flexibility similar to Hanzo’s Sonic Arrow. When peaking chokes or corners, the fire damage can provide reconnaissance for the team, exposing hidden enemies looking to strike.
Last but not least, Ashe’s ultimate ability, B.O.B. will leap into action when called upon. The fearsome omnic charges his enemies, sending them airborne, exposing the front and back lines to unthinkable damage. The combination of B.O.B.’s Arm Cannons and incoming team fire could very well be the answer against the popular and powerful GOATs composition.
Roll out the Rez Carpet
Along with Ashe’s arrival comes a series of balancing changes. These changes bring about a focused effort to buff four select heroes with hopes of raising their pick rates throughout competitive and casual play. Coupled with a universally established jump height across all heroes, the recent patch should be received as a harmoniously picky update meant to prepare the community for future changes to the established meta.
Mercy’s recent nerfs have caused a severe drop in her playtime. The fabled Mercy meta had finally ended following the conclusion of Overwatch League season one with the changes to her overall rate of healing. Since early August, Mercy’s selection rate has fallen drastically from a staggering 90 percent pick-rate to an unimpressive 38 percent pick-rate among pro teams. These changes have been a marvelous addition of support diversity within the meta. They’ve helped allow the current meta to develop and take hold.
Mercy will now acquire her Valkyrie 15 percent faster than previously obtained. While in Valkyrie, Mercy’s healing rate will be increased back to the powerful 60 percent for the duration of the ultimate. These small tweaks to her kit offer a more impressive use of the heroin’s key Valkyrie ability. With a reduced cost, team-fight’s have the potential to swing before the opposing support ensemble even obtains their ultimates to respond with.
Die In Harmony
Reapers changes come with an effort to increase damage consistency and survivability. Within the current firestorm of crowd control, heroes who possess abilities with cancellations are found at a disadvantage and often fail to take full advantage of their ultimates. Moira’s Coalescence, Reinhardt’s Earthshatter, Lucio’s Sound Barrier, and Reaper’s Death Blossom all can be canceled with a stun ability.
Although Reaper’s biggest provided threat is the destructive ability of Death Blossom, consistent damage is what can really improve his kit to it’s fullest extent. With spread randomization reduced by 50 percent and an adjusted spread pattern, users will experience a more consistent damage output. The additional 10 percent Life Steal increase helps insure that the more damage dealt equals a higher chance of survival.
Symmetra’s kit has recently received a major overhaul from her previous self. With much of Symmetra’s new found power currently deriving from her secondary fire, Blizzard chose to increase the charge rate of her primary fire by 20 percent. Potentially the new tank killing specialist duo, Reaper and Symmetra now each potentially represent unreasonably large amounts of damage.
Finally, Roadhog ends as the recipient of the most altercations. Like Mercy, Roadhog has seen his pick-rate fall to astronomical lows. What once was a moderately low 33 percent, now sits at a measly half of one percent in pro play. The current GOATs meta is dominated by D.Va, Reinhardt and Zarya. Roadhog’s inconsistencies had reached record highs and changes needed to be made.
First among these changes revolved around his Chain Hook. In order to promote more utilization of the hook, It’s cooldown was set to immediately begin after its immediate usage, as opposed to following the completed animation. Target momentum was reduced when hooked to enhance its effectiveness while the momentary stun received by the target was also reduced. Essentially, players will be getting hooked, and more often.
An adjustment to Roadhog’s scrap gun spread pattern was accompanied by a spread randomization reduction. This, accompanied with Whole Hog’s knockback velocity increase, it’s recoil reduction should all work to provide a more balanced experience for Roadhog players.
With these changes now available, it will take time for a wide array of results to come pouring in. With larger, more impactful changes on the horizon, be sure to stay with The Game Haus for insight on any future patches and changes.
Featured Image Courtesy of Polygon
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