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Overwatch Patch 1.5: The big changes coming to Blizzard’s shooter

Overwatch has been given a massive overhaul. Following on from numerous announcements out of Blizzcon, a huge 10gb patch has gone live that adds a host of new features, balancing refinements, a new character, new map, and some additional modes.

Safe to say that Overwatch has gone overboard, am I right?!

All of the changes and additions announced at Blizzcon were first put through the test in the Overwatch PTR, which is unfortunately only on PC but allows Blizzard to test potential changes out before releasing them to the public.

Now that testing and refinements are complete, players can jump in, download and install the update, and get down and dirty with Overwatch‘s latest features.

So, what can you expect in the new Overwatch? Here’s what’s coming in patch 1.5

Quick Play One-Hero-Limit

The decision to switch Quick Play to a one-hero-limit mode received a mixed response from Overwatch fans, who treated the mode as a casual breakaway from the more serious and skill-based shenanigans of Competition Play. Blizzard made it clear that the decision was made so as to make Quick Play a platform for player’s to jump off of into Competition Play. In other words, Blizzard wants more people playing Competitive Play, and they want Quick Play to act as some sort of practice phase before people jump into the more serious stuff.

Quick Thoughts

This could potentially be a very good move and stand to make Quick Play a more serious and skill-based experience leading into Competitive Play. I liked the idea of it being a bit more “off the wall” compared to Competitive Play, but I guess that’s being taken care of in Arcade Mode. I personally loved and hated seeing a team stacked of one character, but I think the experience can really benefit from this shift.


Pharah’s Massive Change

Pharah is a challenging character that, if you used correctly, can be absolutely devastating on an opposing team. Recent changes to her abilities mean she can now stay in the air endlessly, so if a player can time her boosts and aim accurately at the same time — it’s not easy! — then she proves to be highly efficient in both attack and defense situations. Blizzard has also now upped her damage output, making her an even more efficient killer. Her rocket launcher minimum explosion damage has increased by 13 percent, the knockback has been decreased to zero percent, while the jump jet’s lift has been increased by 35 percent.

Quick Thoughts

A change to Pharah last week made her a near-invincible bird, and this makes her a true goddess. I haven’t tried her out or played against her yet, but I still rate her as one of the more challenging characters to control, so you’re still going to get her being controlled by more skilled players, who are probably matchmaking with similarly-skilled players anyway.


Lucio And Zarya Get Nerfed

In what will surely cause a significant change to the dynamics of Competitive Play, two of the mode’s most popular characters have been “gifted” some fairly significant nerfs. First up is Lucio, who appears in pretty much every team be it in Quick Play or Competitive Play. His “Amp It Up” ultimate healing per second ability has been decreased by 10 percent in Competitive Play. Zarya has also seen some major changes, with power gained by particle barrier decreased by 20 percent, and power gained by projected barrier also seeing a drop of 20 percent.

Quick Thoughts

I’ve already noticed a difference in this regard. Lucio I imagine is a hard character to balance because he’s such a great team-centric offering, but I think this actually balances out the dynamics of a match rather well. There seems to be a more structured approach to team planning after this update, and Lucio, while still efficient, isn’t the over-powered medic he once was. That gives a losing team a better chance of picking themselves up and getting back involved in a match.


Sombra Gets Added To The Mix

Sombra is stealthy infiltrator who works alongside Widowmaker and Reaper (which you can watch in her animated short above). She has hacking abilities to disrupt enemies — she’s already treading OP territory — while her EMP has the ability to knock out the arsenal of multiple opponents at once. Her ability to use Machine Pistols, Hack, a Thermoptic camoflague ability, Translocator and EMP makes her one of the more varied and uniquely diverse characters in Overwatch.

Quick Thoughts

Some pro players called her overpowered, but I’ve come to like her for her balancing act between attack and defense. I’m very curious to see how she’ll be used in Competitive Play.


Arcade Mode

Arcade Mode replaces the Weekly Brawl mode, adding a host of new modes to the fray.

Mystery Duel: This is a 1v1 duel between you and another player, with both characters being selected at random. The new “Eco-Point Antarctica” map has been designed for this small, tight battles.

Elimination: This 3v3 best-of-5 battle has a permadeath and single-hero limit.

Mystery Heroes: A 6v6 brawl that is the same as Quick Play, except all characters are selected at random.

No Limits: Essentially Quick Play as it was before the single-hero limit.

All Brawls: All old modes from the initial Brawl mode will be included in this playlist.

Quick Thoughts

I like that by making Quick Play a more serious affair, they’ve utilised the space taken up by the Weekly Brawls to make an all-out chaotic Overwatch experience available to the players.


Soldier 76 Gets Buffed

Soldier 76 is getting a pretty significant damage buff. His dps has been bumped up by around 15 percent, which is rather significant, while the bullet spread has been broadened so as to balance out next to his sudden increase to damage output. The pulse rifle damage gets an increase to 20 from 17, while the maximum bullet spread from the pulse rifle increases from 2.2 to 2.4

Quick Thoughts

Soldier 76 is one of my favourite characters, and to be frank I’m not entirely sure I appreciate these changes. I thought he was underpowered, but his bullet spread made for good accuracy, so mixed with swift movement and mobility, I always saw him as one of the more balanced characters in the game.

What are your thoughts on the changes coming to Overwatch? Sound off in the comments below!

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