On August 6, Overwatch developers announced an Experimental Card that tackles the game's ever-present barrier meta. Since the introduction of Sigma, competitive play has been largely revolved around the now-dreaded double barrier meta. While this has shined a light on previously lesser-played heroes like Orisa, it only continued Brigitte's reign.
The support hero was introduced in March 2018, ultimately ending dive meta and filling the Overwatch League and ushering GOATS into the competitive scene. Standing for "go all tank and support" due to its use of three supports and three tanks, GOATS became a dominant meta that no other composition could compete with.
In response, game designer Jeff Kaplan decided to reveal 2-2-2 role lock and Sigma, a new tank. While this shook up the meta a bit, Brigitte was still one of the top supports. In fact, she made it all the more possible to play double barrier even after multiple nerfs to her kit.
Now, Overwatch developers are trying once again to shake up the meta.
"We've seen the meta become more defined due to certain heroes over-performing. We hope these changes will help to diversify hero choices and team compositions," community manager Molly Fender said on a Blizzard forum.
Overwatch Experimental Card hero changes
Brigitte is less tanky, heals nerfed
Brigitte's base health was lowered from 200 down to 150. Her ultimate, Inspire, will now heal less, from 130 to 90 while its passive healing is also reduced from 21 to 15 health per second. While her self-healing is no longer reduced by half, Brigitte will no longer out-heal her fellow support heroes.
Orisa's armor reduced, Halt weakened
Orisa's base armor was reduced from 250 to 200. Her Halt's radius was also reduced from seven to four meters. By nerfing her Halt, developers are hoping that Orisa players won't be able to disrupt and stun the opposing team so effortlessly. Meanwhile, the tank's projectile speed was increased from 20 to 30.
Sigma's barrier has less health, recovers slower
Sigma's Experimental Barrier had its health reduced from 900 all the way to 700. Its regeneration rate was also reduced, going from 120 to 80 per second, in an effort to balance out the big change. Sigma's Kinetic Grasp cooldown was increased from 10 to 12 seconds, since this barrier-heavy hero was starting to feel oppressive.
Overwatch community responds to double barrier nerfs
Many Overwatch players didn't seem to agree with Overwatch's massive changes. Since Overwatch developers focused on Brigitte's stats and healing it made Brigitte less useful in higher competitive ranks, but the problem is that this weakens her even further in lower-level play. Brigitte was already the second-least-played support in the game.
One YouTuber suggested focusing on her Repair Packs instead, making them projectiles instead of targeted. This would require a bit more aim and precision, effectively nerfing the hero while keeping her useful to more skilled players.
On the Blizzard forum, some players expressed concern that the nerfs were "too harsh," especially when it came to Sigma and Orisa. Others called the nerfs "unfair" since it felt like Sigma's shield was depleted way too quickly and easily.
Since it's an Experimental Card update, the changes are not guaranteed to hit live servers as-is, or ever. Overwatch developers will most likely be listening to player feedback and watching the changes in action before making their decision.