A new Overwatch Experimental Mode patch has gone live on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch bringing in some massive changes to a variety of heroes including fan favorites such as Genji, Pharah, and even Sigma.
The March 4 update may only be experimental, but these tests have their changes go through to the live game more often than not, so expect to see them in the ranked and quick play modes next week.
Genji is one of the big winners of this patch as his Shuriken recovery has been reduced from 0.75 to 0.68 seconds. This should make the cyborg ninja even more effective outside of just Nanoblade.
Speaking of his ultimate, however, to compensate, the cost of Dragon Blade has been increased by 15%.
Mei also becomes a lot tankier this patch. Now, her Cryo-Freeze healing will more reliably get the ice queen back to full health as it sees a buff with its healing per second improved from 37.5 to 50.
Pharah is getting a massive aerial buff that sees her Hover Jets regeneration rate increased. According to Community Manager Josh Nash, the dev team is “adjusting Pharah’s fuel regeneration rate to more easily allow her to maintain uptime at reasonable heights. These changes are mindful of not allowing too high a regeneration rate to avoid her being able to maintain extreme heights.”
Reaper’s shotgun rework is looking even more like a buff with these changes too. While his spread and damage were changed up a few weeks ago, these new buffs will see the damage per projectile increased from 5.5 to 6.
On the tank side, Sigma’s barrier is going to be online far more often now. While the cooldown was nerfed to 2.5 seconds, it’s now been buffed again and it’s been reduced to just two seconds. This should greatly help Sigma assert dominance in the main tank role.
Finally, Zarya is getting nerfed. The only nerf this patch sees her energy drain rate increased from 1.6 to 1.8 seconds. The devs say this is because, “Zarya is a consistent hero within the Tank category for a number of team compositions. We’re slightly increasing her energy drain rate to bring her average energy down between engagements.”
EXPERIMENTAL HERO UPDATES
The next experiment begins! This time we’re hoping to get your feedback on some balance changes. We’re using the 2-2-2 Role Queue ruleset so that you can get a feel for how these balance changes might affect the live game.
HERO UPDATES (ONLY IN EXPERIMENTAL)
- Recovery lowered from 0.75 to 0.68
- Ultimate cost increased 15%
Developer Comments: We’re increasing Genji’s Shuriken fire rate to enable him to have more impact outside of his ultimate and increasing the cost of Dragonblade to account for the increased damage potential.
- Healing-per-second increased from 37.5 to 50
Developer Comments: A while ago there was a change to make Mei’s Cryo-Freeze collision consistent with her Ice Wall, meaning she could no longer be targeted by allies while inside the block of ice. We’re increasing her Cryo-Freeze healing rate since she isn’t able to be easily healed up by her allies during that time.
- Hover Jets regeneration rate increased from 35 to 43
Developer Comments: The intent for Pharah’s Hover Jet fuel adjustments is to find a balance where it enables her to maintain an altitude reasonably well with careful fuel and cooldown management, but not so easily climb to the extreme heights some map ceilings allow for as it can lead to less interactive gameplay.
- Damage per projectile increased from 5.5 to 6
Developer Comments: The recent adjustment to Reaper’s shotguns ended up being less beneficial than intended so we’re increasing the damage per projectile slightly.
- Cooldown reduced from 2.5 to 2.0 seconds
Developer Comments: While the previous cooldown increase for Experimental Barrier had the intended effect of opening up more counterplay, there may be a tuning value that feels less restrictive for Sigma and still achieves those goals.
- Energy drain rate increased from 1.6 to 1.8 per second
Developer Comments: Zarya has been overperforming in a variety of team compositions so the increased drain rate will bring her average energy level down slightly between engagements.