A new patch hit the Overwatch live servers this past Tuesday, and with it came some very interesting and very fun changes.
To start, the patch launched the beginning of the “Year of the Rooster”, a Chinese Lunar New Year themed event running until the 13th of February. The event features new skins, emotes, victory poses, and highlight intros for various characters, along with new sprays and voice lines for all. Also launching with the event is the arcade game mode “Capture the Rooster”, a capture the flag style game mode that Blizzard has been experimenting with for quite some time.
But, most importantly (to me), the patch came with several hero balance changes, affecting Ana, Roadhog, Lucio, Sombra, and D.Va. Instead of listing the numerous tweaks that were made, you can read them all here.
So is the tank meta dead? Is it gone forever? Well… maybe. Ana was the linchpin in the triple and quadruple tank compositions, and she did receive a nerf. While she might no longer be able to keep 4 tanks alive on her own, she is still quite powerful. She still out-heals all other supports, and her ultimate negating sleep-dart remains and incredibly useful utility. I predict at most a small decrease in usage, as no other supports saw buffs that might make them more desirable when compared to Ana’s flexibility.
Where, then, does this leave the tanks that have seen so much usage over the past few months? Reinhardt remains a well-balanced hero, usable in many situations, but the other 4 tanks have a more interesting future.
Let’s start with D.Va who, quite frankly, was hit pretty hard. Her previous health pool consisting of 400 armor and 200 health left her feeling powerful, if not un-killable when paired with a good healer and supporting team. Now that her health pool has been flipped (200 armor and 400 health), many players are reporting her play as feeling weak. While I think she is still more balanced now with tank busters like Reaper finally being able to threaten her, she might be slightly too vulnerable. A recently teased adjustment to her defense matrix should help her survivability and usefulness, but I still predict a serious fall in usage from her previous position of being almost required in any team composition.
Now, on to Roadhog, the hero that everyone suspected would be ruined in the current patch based on ptr comments. Surprisingly, after experiencing the new Hook 2.0 on the live servers, many players are actually complaining that he is too powerful, likely to game altering levels. It seems that with the changes to how his hook pulls enemies, landing a hook is essentially a guaranteed kill on any non-tank character (although some players have been reporting being killed by Roadhog’s combo while playing Zarya too). In Overwatch, getting a pick is incredibly important. Taking out even a single member of the enemy team during a stalemate instantly turns the tide heavily in your favor; it acts as a signal to your team to use ultimates to initiate a team fight, and leaves that fight a 5 versus 6 in your favor. Roadhog’s ability to secure picks already made him powerful, and now that his iconic combo is even more reliable I expect him to be nearly a must-pick on all mid to high-level teams.
Things only get more interesting and more complicated from here. The remaining tanks may be used in tandem with other characters to bring about a resurgence of a previous Overwatch meta. Stay tuned for next week’s look at the possibility of a flanker revival in Overwatch Meta Predictions Part II: The Return of the Dive Comp?
Title photo from http://www.ign.com