The days of stacking heroes in Overwatch competitive games is coming to an end. No more double Lucio on Control (dammit). But on the flip side, no more Winston rushes. I’ll give up double Lucios if it means not having to deal with teams who stack four and five of the same hero.
Here’s what Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan had to say about the change.
In Quick Play, where things are intended to be more relaxed, this is fine. But in Competitive Play, we feel that hero stacking is becoming detrimental and leading to some not-so-great player experiences. For example, we’ve seen organized teams on Assault and Hybrid maps use hero stacking to overtake the first point before the defense has a chance to counter. We’ve also seen players use specific stacked compositions just to frustrate their opponents or cause indefinite delays in overtime (among other strategies). While this kind of thing is certainly possible in any mode, the higher stakes of Competitive Play means these kinds of tactics were popping up more often than anyone would like.
Ultimately, we found that we agreed with a lot of the community’s feedback and believe that hero stacking is making the game less fun for competitive players.
It’s hard to argue with any of that. Game balance should always trump everything else in the competitive mode. I look forward to playing games that aren’t full of D.Vas flying around. It should also make the initial fights over the point in Control more engaging. Plus, team composition will play a much more important role.
Blizzard doesn’t have a release date for this fix just yet. The change is live on the public test servers for PC. The developers want to see how the one-hero limit is received first. If all goes well, they will roll it out in upcoming PC, PS4 and Xbox One patches.
Besides reworking hero selection on competitive, Blizzard is making some major tweaks to several heroes.
D.Va might be your favorite, but Blizzard’s data shows she’s one of the least played tanks out there. They believe it’s because her damage absorption abilities are lacking.
The solution? Defense Matrix’s cooldown is decreased from 10 seconds to 1 second. Now, it works more like Reinhardt’s shield. A resource meter has been added and will deplete as Defense Matrix is active. At full meter, Defense Matrix lasts four seconds. It takes 10 seconds of not using it to recharge it fully. D.Va’s ultimate has also been retweaked. The explosion now goes off in three seconds instead of four.
I like those changes. Especially for her ultimate. It’s way too easy to dodge it right now.
Mercy is also getting a buff. Her damage boost now increases bonus damage to 50%. That’s up from 30%. But damage boost from two Mercys will no longer stack.
Mercy also gets some much-needed mobility while casting her ultimate (Resurrect). “Resurrect will now take a bit longer to charge, but Mercy will be a lot safer when activating the ability in the middle of combat,” reads the patch notes.
That increase bonus damage will make groupings like Mercy/Pharah and Mercy/Soldier even more potent.
Outside of D.VA, Zenyatta received the most tweaking. One issue Blizzard wanted to address was Zenyatta’s weakness in one-on-one matchups. To help him out, the developers increased his base shields by 50. That gives him 50 Health/150 Shields.
Zenyatta’s orbs will also move much faster. The projectile speed was bumped from 30 to 120. It’s more of a ‘quality of life’ change, but it should help Zenyatta players respond quicker in fights. And finally, Zenyatta’s movement speed is being doubled while his Transcendence ultimate is activated. The healing amount is also increased from 200 to 300.
The goal for these fixes is to make sure Zenyatta’s Transcendence ability can out heal sustained damage (think Road Hog and Hanzo’s ultimates), but still make heroes vulnerable to sudden bursts of damage (think D.Va and Junkrat ultimates).