Blizzard has announced major balance changes for the near feature. The most recent notes for the Public Test Realm included several buffs as well as one major nerf.
D.Va’s Defense Matrix Nerf
Many players have been waiting for significant nerfs to the “GOATS” comp that has been plaguing Overwatch. They may have just finally received their wish. One of the key heroes in GOATS, D.Va, has received a major nerf in the most recent PTR notes. The range on D.Va’s defense matrix is being reduced from 15 meters down to 10 meters. This nerf will significantly reduce D.Va’s defense capabilities.
By reducing D.Va’s ability to protect herself and her teammates, this nerf will make many more heroes viable. Her mobility plus the long range of Defense Matrix gave D.Va the ability to virtually shut down many DPS heroes. However, this significant nerf in Defense Matrix’s range means that DPS heroes, especially mobile ones that can outmaneuver D.Va, will have more chances to deal damage.
Furthermore, this nerf will have major implications in the GOATS vs. GOATS matchup. One of the most common uses of D.Va’s Defense Matrix is to shut down Zarya’s Gravaton Surge. Similar to her interaction with DPS heroes, D.Va will now have to position herself better in order to deny Zarya’s ultimate. In short, this nerf to D.Va’s Defense Matrix has the potential to be completely meta changing, especially on the professional level.
While certainly, the biggest balance change announced on the PTR, D.Va is not the only hero being tweaked. Several heroes are also receiving buffs. McCree is one of the most noteworthy. The recovery speed on his primary attack is being reduced from .5 seconds to .4 seconds. A reduction by .1 seconds may not seem like a huge deal. However, if you think of it in terms of percentages, this means that McCree fires 20% faster. Such a buff is nothing to take lightly. It is still unclear if this will skyrocket McCree into the “overpowered” zone, but such a major buff is certainly going to help him see more play, both at the professional and casual levels.
Bunker Comp Receives Several Buffs
GOATS has long dominated the competitive scene in terms of what team composition teams are choosing. However, its days might be numbered. Two heroes used in Bunker compositions are receiving buffs. The first of these is Baptiste who is receiving two buffs. First of all, his heal ammo is being increased from 10 to 12. Secondly, his Amplification Matrix’s duration is being increased from 8 seconds to 10 seconds. These buffs increase not only Baptiste’s healing potential, but also helps him increase his team’s damage output, making him a much more well-rounded Support.
Orisa is the second Bunker hero that is being buffed. On the PTR, Orisa is now able to drop her Protective Barrier while she is reloading. While this may not sound like the biggest change, it is quite significant for Orisa, who has a notoriously long reload time. This small buff will give Orisa players more flexibility. Orisa will now be able to re-position herself to better protect her teammates without sacrificing her damage output.
It is still too early to tell the significance of the buffs to Baptiste and Orisa. However, these buffs when combined together will potentially increase the composition’s healing and damage output. They will also slightly buff one of the composition’s biggest weaknesses, which is mobility. It is far too soon to tell whether these buffs will be enough to dethrone GOATS as the go-to composition in professional play. However, GOATS, which requires a lot of team coordination, is not seen much in lower ranks. Bunker, on the other hand, is much easier to play at lower ranks. These buffs could potentially increase the use of Bunker composition at the non-professional level.
Is GOATS Dead?
The one question everyone has with any balance patch is whether or not it will finally kill GOATS. We won’t know for certain until the balance changes hit the live server. However, these changes look like they will have a major impact on the current meta. D.Va, one of the cornerstones of the GOATS composition, is having her defensive capabilities significantly reduced. This could potentially open the door for more DPS-focused compositions, which we haven’t seen much of in 2019 at the professional level. Furthermore, two Bunker composition heroes being buffed is worth considering. While it might not make Bunker as strong as GOATS, it might make it more viable in certain situations or on specific maps.
The balance changes mentioned above are just a highlight of a much larger patch coming in the feature. Other lesser-played heroes are also receiving slight balance changes. There is also a slight tweak coming to Assault style maps. Finally, and most excitingly, it appears that a comprehensive replay system is coming to Overwatch. The entire list of changes can be seen on the PTR patch notes at the Blizzard Forums here.
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