Director’s Take – Mixing Up the Meta in Midseason

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Director’s Take – Mixing Up the Meta in Midseason

Hello, wonderful people, and welcome to the mid-Season 9 Director's Take! This season had the most significant changes to the game that we've made in a long time. When we launched Season 9 in February, we wanted to make sure to keep an eye on your feedback and react to what we saw. We've had two patches so far, and we have another one, which is quite the stunner, coming up next week. Let's get into that… no, wait! ...Let's talk about where we're at… and then get into that.

The changes made this season were designed to address multiple issues in the game, based largely in part on your feedback. We're happy with how these modifications have shifted the game, but there are two areas we want to improve a bit: the Damage passive, and how some individual heroes have landed after the shakeup. We think the direction we’re heading in is correct but agree that some changes still need to be ironed out.

Let's start with the Damage passive. It's had quite a big impact on the game. It was designed to push our Damage heroes to the forefront of a fight. In terms of securing kills, it's definitely doing this. Overwatch is about eliminating the opponents and sending them back to spawn, so we think it's healthy for Damage heroes to have a large impact here… but it may be pushed a bit too far. There can be moments where it feels a bit too dangerous, even as a Tank, to expose yourself, or where your health can burn down quicker than expected while being healed.

One of the goals of the recent health increase was to soften some of the burst damage in the game. This is one of those effects that can be very difficult to tune just right, so we're going to take a small step back in the next patch and lessen the healing reduction from 20% to 15%. We'll keep an eye on it and go from there.

With balance, we're touching roughly half the heroes in the roster in this patch. The power of heroes moved around a lot this season, and while we think this type of change can be healthy for the game, we'd still like to make sure that all heroes feel viable. We'll release the full set of patch notes in a few days, but I'd like to get into a few of the more notable changes that we're making here.

On the Support side, we're making a fairly significant buff to Ana's grenade. Its damage and healing will move from 60 to 90 health to give her more self-survivability. Ana is an interesting hero, and one of the most played in the entire game.  So, we're hoping that this adjustment brings her to a place where she feels viable but not dominant.

We're also making a few adjustments to Lifeweaver to help with his healing burst potential . His maximum heal will increase from 70 to 80, with the maximum charge increasing from 1 to 1.15 seconds. Along with the reduced Damage role passive, we think both he and Mercy will be more reliable moving forward.

Doomfist and Mauga are two of the Tanks getting a tune up. Meteor Strike's minimum damage will increase from 15 to 50. While this might not seem like a big change, the amount of damage this Ultimate does scales from the edge of its effect to the center and should result in a lot more guaranteed damage. Ultimately, we want Meteor Strike to give Doomfist or his team the ability to follow it up and secure eliminations more reliably.

Mauga is getting changes to his Cardiac Overdrive ability: its duration will decrease from 5 to 4 seconds, and its cooldown will decrease from 12 to 10 seconds. Additionally, it will fill his passive overhealth by 100. We want the ability to be more reliable and more consistently give Mauga additional survivability. Mauga will also receive a buff to his Overrun: the Stomp damage will increase from 45 to 60.

A Tank we are not touching in this patch is Wrecking Ball, but we have a small rework coming to our loveable-yet-deranged, hamster in Season 10.

Expect all of these changes and more to go live for our Midseason Update next Tuesday, March 12.

I’d like to reiterate that we’ll be watching the game and listening to your feedback when these changes go live and react accordingly. In fact, we’re already talking about some of the modifications that we’ll be making in Season 10.

We're also going to be running our next Quick Play: Hacked later this season. This one is called Double Trouble and it removes the one hero limitation in game. Role Queue will still be active, but this means that players can choose two of the same hero for both Damage and Support roles. The hero limit was something that was implemented in Overwatch early into the original launch. At the time we didn’t have Role Queue in the game, and players could create a team of five Winstons and a Support. We called this strategy the “Quinston” and it won our first internal tournament!

 However, now that we do have Role Queue in the game, the possibility of creating comps like this is gone. Giving players more freedom in which hero they choose and more creativity in putting comps together could be great… we can’t wait to see what you come up with!

That's it for this update. We're looking forward to next week's patch, and let's make a great game!