Olivia R. January 9, 2020
One Reddit user's prayers were answered when Jeff Kaplan responded to their pleas for a Baptiste nerf.
When they put forward the idea that Baptiste's Immortality Field cooldown should start after it's destroyed, the Overwatch lead designer responded. Blizzard's popular executive said they have been "trying out some changes" to make Baptiste's Immortality Field "less oppressive."
It's not clear what changes will come to the new support hero, but Baptiste's current 20-second Immortality Field cooldown starts as soon as the Haitian hero's ability is deployed, allowing the timer to tick down even as the Immortality Field is on the field.
This makes the downtime between throwing out a field as short as 12 seconds, if the opposing team doesn't destroy it. With the power to keep allies alive during even the strongest of ultimate combos, this is a powerful tool that many players feel is a bit OP.
Even though fans are not sure what the nerf will actually be, they were grateful for the update from Kaplan.
"Thank you for communicating with us," one Reddit user replied. "We always love it when we know what's going on with the dev team and your plans. I feel that the entire community would agree with me when I say that talking with us, even with small things like this, is better than no communication at all. Even if you get things wrong sometimes or if things don't go as planned it still feels amazing to at least know that you're addressing a problem or at least aware of it."
Overwatch community argues against Baptiste nerf
While Overwatch fans were quick to applaud Kaplan for discussing the nerf, many players were not actually in favor of the possible change.
"The issue isn’t that Baptiste is overpowered. The issue is that no other support can actually keep a team alive, and if we keep going down this slippery slope, soon enough every support will have been nerfed just about as many times as Symmetra has been reworked," one fan posted on the Overwatch forum.
Another fan posted in the forum that developers should nerf power creeping instead of nerfing defense and support heroes.
Overwatch developer Josh Noh responded to this critique in great detail. In the post, Noh stated that the Overwatch team considers hero win rates in "un-mirrored competitive ladder stats" when choosing which heroes to balance.
"We don’t balance solely off of stats anyway, but they help inform us when something could be really out of whack or can give us a slightly more unbiased lens when trying to identify the root causes of gameplay issues," Noh explained.
He went on to admit that the "most common feedback" he's received lately is that Baptiste and Mei are overpowered. This is something he says the team is currently looking to change. Meanwhile, fans have told him that Genji and Soldier: 76 are too weak, something he wasn't too sure about himself when he looked at their pick rates and win rates.
"My post above was intending to get people to consider that this data, while not absolute or conclusive of anything on its own, may suggest off-meta heroes are much more viable on the competitive ladder than players tend to expect, even at the highest levels. Professional play is likely another story," Noh concluded.
The competitive Overwatch community was very displeased with his response. One player asked Noh if he was serious, since he's noticed an "extreme power creep" that he felt the developer was denying.
"You kept buffing Baptiste with his ammo and then his fire rate. Now you’ve made an incredibly powercreeped support that outshines Ana and Moira in a huge majority of situations, due to his high AoE healing capabilities and mid range damage that deals more than S76," he ranted.
They went on to say that "top-down balance" needs to happen if the game wants to survive in a competitive environment like the Overwatch League, listing Orisa's major nerf as the reason for the double shield meta.
D.Va receiving major buff in next PTR cycle
While a lot of the focus has been on Baptiste's nerf, Noh also confirmed that other heroes are getting some big changes in the upcoming PTR. This includes a shortened cooldown to D.Va's Boosters.
“We’ve actually been playtesting a Boosters cooldown reduction recently. It sounded kind of intimidating on paper (tested a three second cooldown first) but in practice hasn’t been that crazy and allows D.Va to play the midfield more freely, which works well with the current 10 meter Defense Matrix range," Noh explained.
It's not yet clear what the exact details of D.Va's buff will be, but the reduced cooldown will more than likely make the Korean superstar more mobile than ever. With D.Va's close-range damage and recently shortened Defense Matrix radius, being up close and personal is a big part of D.Va's strategy. This will give her a possible hit-and-run playstyle, making her more effective against Pharah, Reaper, Mei, and Doomfist.
There is currently no date for the next PTR update.