Passionate PC gamer but ToeJam and Earl is still one of my favourite games.
The end of 2018 is fast approaching and we’re being bombarded by invitations to be sentimental. Spotify is telling me the songs I listened to which I’d now rather forget. Facebook has launched its year in review tool. And, because it’s December, Mariah Carey has been dusted down and is once again on the radio telling me what she wants for Christmas. Tis the season to be nostalgic – so let’s look back at some of Blizzard’s most broken updates to its Overwatch hero roster.
Ahh Mercy, everyone’s favourite healing support hero who has received 11 changes since Overwatch’s release in 2016. Her previous ultimate ability, Resurrect, allowed her to revive her fallen teammates within a radius. This led to a loathed play style where Mercy lurked surreptitiously in a covert spot away from the fight with her ultimate ready.
When her team got wiped by, say, a Zarya ultimate then Mercy would swoop in, resurrect all of her allies and undo the opposing team’s hard work. The counter? Play the ‘find the Mercy’ game which meant sending a flanker on an expedition to scour the map with the sole purpose of eliminating the Mercy before the team fight broke out.
Cue a re-work to Mercy then which saw her Resurrect changed so that it was no longer an ultimate and only targeted a single player. Sounds good, right? Nope. The problem was the cooldown of the ability was both reset and shortened when she used her new ultimate, Valkyrie. So, Mercy went from having her resurrect available once in a while to being able to use it potentially 3 times in about 12 seconds.
What then ensued was a barrage of nerfs to Mercy. Resurrect’s cast time was increased substantially, her movement speed was reduced whilst resurrecting and the ability’s cooldown being reset on activating Valkyrie was removed. Ouch. Let’s not even get on to the nerf to Mercy’s healing – down from 60 healing per second to 50 (#PrayForMercy).
If you missed playing hide n’ seek with Mercy then Blizzard had your back; you could now do the same thing with Symmetra’s Shield Generator!
Historically a support hero, Symmetra has now had a couple of reworks. Her first overhaul saw her Photon Shield ability removed. It was hardly missed as it only granted a teammate a paltry 25 shield points anyway. In its place came the Photon Barrier ability which created a shield in front of Symmetra that travelled forward blocking incoming damage.
The rework also gave her the option of choosing between two ultimates: Teleporter and the newly added Shield Generator – a deployable which granted allies 75 shields within a large radius. From my experience, as soon as the enemy deployed a Shield Generator my team’s voice comms became flooded with calls for someone to switch to Tracer to find and destroy it.
Blizzard ultimately felt that Symmetra was too much of a niche pick whose play style only suited a few situations. She was therefore reworked again into more of a damage focused hero. Her Shield Generator ultimate was jettisoned and replaced with a new iteration of her Photon Barrier which is now her ultimate ability.
Her revamp was a damp squib, though, and barely did anything to change her pick-rate as shown by data analysed by OmnicMeta. In fact, Symmetra continues to be neglected by the Overwatch community; last month she was the second least popular hero to be played according to Overbuff statistics. Rework number three, anybody?
I didn’t realise that the Death Star was a playable hero within Overwatch. Little did I know I was wrong when update 126.96.36.199A hit. This change saw D.Va’s mech health increased from 100 to 200 whilst her armour was kept at a whopping 400. For those that don’t know, armour in Overwatch mitigates damage. It is especially useful against weapons which fire rapid instances of modest damage such as shotguns and machine guns.
In the developer comments accompanying the patch, Blizzard said that these changes would “help D.Vas withstand attacks”. They weren’t wrong!
D.va was a fortress who could dive a target and win a 1-vs-1 pretty comfortably given her massive sustain. Even tank-busting specialist Reaper had a hard time against her. She was so difficult to take down that she received a heavy nerf only two months later. This update saw her armour cut in half, decreasing to 200, and the damage of her primary weapons was also reduced.
Including this hero is a bit of a cheat because technically there wasn’t an update which broke Brigitte. Many would actually say that Brigitte was broken on inception! But because she has attracted her very own “Delete Brig Movement” we really can’t pass up the opportunity to talk about this support-tank-damage hybrid hero.
Brigitte was released earlier this year and 4 out of the 5 patches which have tweaked her have been nerfs. This should already raise red flags that there seems to be a problem with Brigitte – but if you don’t believe me then feel free to check out topics about her on the Overwatch forums and subreddit.
Not only is Brigitte a support hero with armour – unlike any others in the support category – but she can also burst heal for a value of 150 and on top of that can one-shot a Tracer. As if that wasn’t enough, she also carries a 500hp personal shield which makes her incredibly tough to deal with.
The most controversial of her abilities is undoubtedly the Shield Bash. This sees Brigitte being able to stun an enemy almost instantly from behind the safety of her shield and is frequently used to bully Reinhardts. Amazingly, this ability used to be on a cooldown of 5 seconds but has since been ramped up to 7 seconds. When you compare this to a McCree flashbang, for instance, which also stuns but has a cooldown of 10 seconds and is more difficult to use, you can see how Shield Bash attracts a lot of criticism.
Frustrated Reinhardt players rejoice, though, as her most recent change – not yet live – will prevent her from being able to stun enemies through barriers. Christmas might come early for Tracer players too; the forthcoming patch is also set to nerf the Swedish engineer’s Shield Bash reducing the damage inflicted from 50 to 5 removing her ‘one shot’ potential.
Looking back, what do you think were some of Overwatch’s most broken hero updates? Use the comments section to tell us!