Overwatch PTR update nerfs double barrier, changes McCree

Olivia R. January 24, 2020

A game-changing patch hit Overwatch's Public Test Realm yesterday. 

After patch 1.44 aimed to balance the hero roster, the most recent patch has made some additional changes to meta heroes like Orisa and Sigma. Many damage heroes were also targeted in hopes of further balancing the game. 

Overwatch targets double barrier meta in recent patch 

After GOATS was retired from the Overwatch League, double barrier meta took over the competitive Overwatch scene. The main heroes required in this 2-2-2 composition are Orisa and new hero Sigma. These two tanks have flexible barriers that allow for maximum coverage. 

As the meta remains dominant, Overwatch players are beginning to become sick of its constant nature. Developers are hoping the latest PTR updates will change that. 

Orisa

Orisa's primary fire had its damage reduced from 11 to 9. Her Fortify cooldown increased from eight to 10 seconds, while her Halt's snare duration was reduced from 1 to 0.65 seconds. 

With her decreased fire damage and a decrease in the time Orisa can stun her enemies, it seems like Orisa may become a bit easier for opponents to deal with. Her ever-present barrier is still a huge strength of hers, but many found Orisa oppressive when that shield was paired with her fire power from behind it. 

Sigma

Sigma's primary fire, the Hyperspheres, had their range reduced from 22 to 20 meters. Accretion's explosion damage was greatly redcued from 60 to 40. Gravitic Flux, his ultimate, can now be interupted before targets begin falling. Its impact slow duration has also been reduced from 0.9 to just 0.6 seconds. 

As the other half of double barrier, Sigma was also seen as oppresive since his introduction to the roster. Why play Reinhardt or D.Va, when Sigma not only has a flexible shield but can deal much more damage much faster? It seems that developers have attempted to fix this problem by making Sigma's damage output a little more bearable while also taking away his seeming immortality during his ultimate. 

DPS heroes see changes in latest PTR update

Hanzo

After becoming a must-pick in competitive matches, developers decided to nerf Hanzo even more. In the previous patch, Hanzo's projectile speed was reduced. Now, Storm Arrow's damage is reduced from 70 to 60. 

Reaper

One complaint players facing the ultimate edgelord always brought up was his passive, which allowed him to heal when he dealt damage. The latest update has his passive healing reduced from 40% to 30% of damage dealt. 

McCree gets some big buffs in patch

While all the aforementioned heroes have undergone a nerf of some sort, McCree's kit saw massive buffs in the PTR update. Patch 1.45 sees McCree's base health increased from 200 to 250. His primary fire, Peacekeeper, had its recovery time increased from 0.42 to 0.5.

But the biggest change is that McCree's ultimate, Deadeye, no longer locks him in place while aiming. Now, the cowboy can turn freely to get the best possible angle on the most possible targets. 

"New MCCREE DEADEYE doesn't lock your camera anymore so you can make full 180-360 degree turns as long as you have skulls locked in. Could be good if you build skull then Genji dashes behind you for example," Toronto Defiant streamer KarQ tweeted

Baptiste also sees more nerfs

Overwatch lead designer Jeff Kaplan teased a Baptiste nerf earlier in the month, hinting that there'd be changes but not revealing what they would be. Now it seems that the focus of the nerf was the healer's Biotic Launcher. The primary fire time increased from 0.36 to 0.45 seconds and the secondary fire's healing was reduced from 60 to 50. 

The previous patch saw Baptiste receive nerfs to his Immortality Field and Amplification Matrix after the Overwatch community argued that power creep was making the game unbalanced. Now it looks like developers are also looking to reduce his fire power and healing potential, since it was so above and beyond what other support heroes are capable of. 

Patch 1.45 will spend a week on PTR being tested before it goes live on Overwatch servers. These buffs and nerfs may end up changing before that point, or may not make it onto the game's servers at all.