Season 5 of Overwatch 2 is right around the corner, and game director Aaron Keller has revealed some details about upcoming balance chances for several heroes. A few DPS heroes are being tweaked, along with Lifeweaver, Junker Queen and some other characters.
Let’s start with Junker Queen, given how popular a pick she’s become in recent weeks. In the latter half of Season 4, she and Reinhardt were the two most-used tanks at most skill tiers. At Masters and above, though, Junker Queen is “is far and away the most picked tank,” Keller wrote in his latest director’s take. Her win rate jumped up by 5% following her midseason buffs, but Team 4 feels she’s too survivable right now, so the devs are pulling that back a bit.
Once Season 5 gets underway, Junker Queen will receive 150 health rather than 200 when she activates Commanding Shout. This is to compensate for her boosted self-heal passive. She’ll also have a slightly higher ultimate cost, meaning it’ll take her longer to build up Rampage.
Blizzard hasn’t yet quite found the sweet spot for Lifeweaver. The game’s latest hero has had several tweaks since he joined the lineup at the start of Season 4. However, he’s still “not powerful enough to be a solid pick for most players,” Keller said.
“At the moment, we are looking for the best way to bring Lifeweaver to a baseline. Once people are playing him more, we will get a cleaner read on the character. Players will either start utilizing the varied parts of his kit, or we can look into adding something else into it.”
To that end, Lifeweaver is getting a bunch more changes at the start of Season 5. Most of these will be buffs, Keller notes. Expect quality-of-life changes to his Petal Platform and increased damage and healing output. Life Grip will also heal the targeted ally, while Lifeweaver will have a slightly smaller hitbox.
Next up, let’s talk about snipers. With fewer tanks in the mix, there aren’t as many shields in Overwatch 2. That’s given skilled Widowmaker and Hanzo players more bandwidth to cause havoc.
To address player concerns about the frequency of one-shotting, Team 4 is nerfing both heroes. “Widow’s damage falloff will change from 70-100 meters to 40-60 meters,” Keller wrote. “The damage falloff scalar will also increase from 30%-50%.” In practical terms, that means Widow will no longer be able to one-shot a hero with 200 health who is further than 50 meters away. Inside that range, a fully-charged headshot will still be a death blow.
As for Hanzo, his nerf means he won’t be able to one-shot a hero with 250 health. It’ll be easier for enemies to spot his Sonic Arrow as well.
Whether these changes undermine the point of snipers and the skill needed to nail a one-shot kill with them is up for debate. In any case, I’m sure Widow and Hanzo mains won’t be super happy.
Finally for now, Mei and Cassidy are getting back some of their crowd control utility.
Mei’s primary fire will “still slow targets, but it will also build up to an effect that will apply a much larger slow for 1.5 seconds,” Keller wrote. “For players of the original game, this will feel familiar to the way her old weapon worked.” As a long-time Mei main, I’m delighted. Apologies to my enemies.
While Blizzard won’t be restoring Cassidy’s Flashbang, the Magnetic Grenade is getting some tweaks too. It will deal less damage, but it will slow enemies and momentarily prevent them from using movement abilities.
Team 4 removed the vast majority of crowd control abilities from support and damage heroes amid the launch of Overwatch 2 and the shift to 5v5. While the devs think this was a positive change for the most part, “we have a lot of high-mobility heroes in the roster, and a team can’t always rely on their tank to take of them,” Keller wrote. “So we’re softening our approach here. We don’t want to return to the state the game was in previously, but we feel like there is room for more CC, especially soft CC, in our lineup.”
We’ve seen some other crowd control abilities slip back into the game, namely with the changes to Brigitte’s ultimate, while Ana’s Sleep Dart is blessedly still around. I agree that things can’t go back to how they were at the tail end of Overwatch with regards to CC, but it seems like a reasonable idea to pepper in a little more crowd control here and there.
Expect to find out more details about these updates and balance changes for other heroes early next week, when Season 5 of Overwatch 2 will get underway.
For more news and updates on Overwatch 2 and other games, follow my Forbes blog! You’ll get a weekly round-up email that includes everything I publish. You’d be doing me a solid, too — it’s a great way to support me and my work at no cost.
Read the full article here