Overwatch – Experimental mode received a Patch last weekPublished June 2, 2021
Experimental mode for Overwatch received a patch last week that could suggest some nerfs or rebalancing may be on the way. Some heroes were too strong or not strong enough, which affected the popularity and utility of certain heroes, particularly at the highest levels of competitive play. Read here to find out more!
Overwatch’s Experimental mode is a temporary game mode that allows the Overwatch development team at Blizzard to experiment with changes outside of the regular monthly patch cycle for the standard mode of gameplay and allows players to try out potential new balance updates, game modes, or changes to the game’s rules. Sometimes, the experimental mode changes will be carried over to the standard game modes, and sometimes not. Often it depends on how well those changes reflect the developer’s intention and how well the community of Overwatch players receives them.
The changes made for Experimental mode in the patch just a few days ago affect some of the most popular and commonly played heroes over the last few months. It seems that the Blizzard team is focusing on heroes that have been disproportionately dominant in competitive play due to abilities that may be slightly overpowered. Based on how the community reacts to these balancing changes in Experimental mode may determine whether we see the same changes made to the regular game.
Over the past few months, Baptiste has received a series of nerfs in order to make him less dominant in teamfights. The most recent significant reduction to his strength was to his ‘Immortality Field’, but this one is not as severe. Reversing a change made in March last year, Baptiste’s ‘Exo Boots’ will have their charge time increased from 0.7 seconds to a full second. This will help reduce his already very powerful defensive maneuverability.
Since receiving a decent buff to his health and reload time last October, McCree has become among the most powerful heroes. Observing that playtime for McCree has been overwhelming the usage of other heroes, the developers decided to nerf him by decreasing his Combat Roll distance by 20% and increasing his ‘Peacekeeper’ reload time from 1.2 seconds to 1.5 seconds.
Zarya’s ‘Particle Cannon’ has had its damage scale adjusted to 75-170 damage-per-second, down from 95-170 dps. As this weapon’s damage depends on how long the beam has been charged, this change means that while the full charge damage for the weapon will remain the same, the lower levels of charge (or no charge) will deal slightly less damage than before.
Aside from nerfing some heroes to make them less overpowered, some heroes will be receiving buffs to improve the balance and ensure that players are not overwhelming picking some heroes too frequently and leaving other heroes underutilized. With that in mind, Moira received a buff for her ‘Biotic Grasp’ ability, which now regenerates biotic energy three times faster while channeling ‘Coalescence.’ Reaper also received a buff to his Life Steal from 30% to 35%, effecting his ‘Hellfire Shotguns’.
It will be interesting to see whether any of these changes will be scrapped or be made permanent. We will observe Overwatch closely over the next few weeks and update the readers again if there are any new updates.
Overwatch is a multiplayer first-person shooter developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment and was released in 2016. It is currently available on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Its sequel Overwatch 2 was announced in the Fall of 2019 and is currently in development, with the release expected sometime in 2022.