Blizzard updates Overwatch with its latest patch, enabling new hero Ana, while buffing and nerfing D.Va, Zenyatta, and Mercy, and making a big change to competitive.
Blizzard's turnaround for big Overwatch patches is quickening, as the second major patch in less than a month has now gone live on the PC version of the FPS multiplayer shooter, while console Overwatch players will have to wait a bit longer as Blizzard optimizes the patch for the platforms. The so-called "Ana" patch is full of meaningful changes, the largest of which is of course add the support sniper Ana herself. Hopefully, everyone's saved up some currency to purchase all of her premium animations and skins.
Ana isn't the entirety of the patch, however, as Blizzard's also packing together a bunch of balance changes and bug fixes to go with the new content. Regarding character-specific balance changes, D.Va, Mercy, and Zenyatta received the most attention. Zenyatta's getting some additional shielding to protect him from instant body shot deaths, as well as some ult buffs to make it more impactful, D.Va's shield is changed, allowing it to be activated at-will and rechargeable like Reinhardt's shield, and Mercy is getting her ultimate charge cost bumped up 30%, in trade for being able to move during Resurrect's animation.
Broader balance changes are just as prolific, with the most interesting being to Competitive Mode. No longer will teams be able to pick multiple of the same character, so hopefully that changes the meta away from multi-Tracer or multi-Winston rushes at the end of a match. Other changes include all self-healing adding to ultimate charge, with balance shifts to make self-healers take more to charge as a result.
To go further in-depth regarding the changes in the latest patch, game director Jeff Kaplan released another developer update video going into detail.
Beyond the nerfed Mercy players, the response to Overwatch's second major content patch has so far been extremely positive. Almost all of the changes Blizzard made in this latest patch were made in direct response to player feedback, or at the very least statistical analysis based on player trends. Even Ana was designed in effort to pull certain types of players into using support characters, and to diversify the support role in general.
What's next for Blizzard and Overwatch? Blizzard in general will be busy with the launch of World of Warcraft's Legion in August, so they might perhaps wait until October or September for their next major content drop. They have talked about several in-development maps that might make their way live soon, and there's always the possibility of a new character, which could be revealed as Sombra. The worst case scenario is that Blizzard goes dark all the way until BlizzCon in November, but with two big patches in less than a month that's highly unlikely. Either way, Ana is exciting enough for now.
Overwatch is out now on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, while Ana's patch is currently only available on PC, with a similar update for consoles currently in the works and likely to be released in the coming weeks.