The latest Overwatch patch, which adds the Game Browser feature as well as the Capture the Flag custom game mode, is now live across all platforms. The latest patch, which has been brewing on the Overwatch Public Testing server for several weeks, also heavily reworks Bastion and adds buffs for Mercy, Mei, and Winston. Additional significant changes include a new Respawn Delay for defenders on Escort maps, as well as a nerf to the second gate on Eichenwald.
By far the most significant addition in this latest Overwatch patch is the Game Browser, building off of the Custom Game mode. Blizzard originally called it the Server Browser in their Developer Update video three weeks ago, but it’s the same thing as the Game Browser. It allows players to create or join custom games with unique rule-sets, such as recreating competitive environments or crazy modes Blizzard can’t provide on its own.
Next to the Game Browser, the addition of Capture the Flag mode to Custom Games is the most meaningful content change. Blizzard already discussed Capture the Flag’s inclusion as a custom game mode back when the patch first hit the PTR. It was originally launched as part of the Year of the Rooster celebration event and quickly became Overwatch‘s most popular brawl. The Year of the Rooster may be over, but Capture the Flag is back — and expanded. It’s now available across 12 different maps with unique rules available through Custom Games.
Despite some exciting new content added via the Game Browser and Capture the Flag custom game, the most meaningful changes to Overwatch are more balance-focused. The most notable change is the rework of Bastion. Blizzard felt like Bastion was essentially viable only as a turret, meaning games with Bastion hinged entirely on his team’s ability to protect him. The changes buff his non-turret mode, even giving him mobile self-healing, while nerfing his turret mode a bit. Word is that Bastion’s finding his way into high-level Overwatch competition, so prepare for a new Bastion meta to take Overwatch by storm.
The surprise of the patch is Blizzard’s introduction of a Respawn Delay. Before detailing the change, here’s Blizzard’s thought process that led to it in the first place:
“Until now, stalling an attack by repeatedly throwing yourself at the point has been a common defensive strategy on Assault, Escort and Assault/Escort maps—even when the attackers have a decisive advantage. Typically, this tactic doesn’t change the outcome of battle; it simply delays the attackers’ progress.”
Blizzard’s Respawn Delay will increase defenders’ respawn times based on whether attackers outnumber defenders on a control point or escort objective. This change doesn’t effect the Control mode. Essentially, Blizzard wants to do away with the ability of defenders to endlessly stream players one by one to a control point, with a goal of drawing out the timer rather than actually contesting. Some players worry Blizzard is overstepping, enforcing a meta where teams must group up to contest points — not always a reality for teams in low-to-medium skill brackets.
Of course, there are plenty of additional changes to Overwatch in today’s patch. There are plenty of bug fixes, like how the Roadhog-bot in AI won’t spin when it hooks a player anymore. Mercy’s now temporarily invulnerable while she Resurrects, which is a blessing. Also, skill ratings below 500 will no longer be shown in Competitive Play, because some players were deliberately throwing games to achieve the lowest possible rating. Just another day in Overwatch.
Overwatch‘s Game Browser and Capture the Flag 1.8 patch is now live on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.