Safe to say that Blizzard will be battling a never-ending stream of community requests and criticisms when it comes to Overwatch‘s hero roster.
The studio has been hard at work tweaking and refining the experience since its May launch, and while the game is significantly different (and better) compared to what it was at release, there’s still a long road to perfection ahead.
Case in point: the not-so-perfect changes to Roadhog and D.Va.
Last week, Blizzard announced plans to reign in the effectiveness and downright ridiculousness that was Roadhog’s hook.
Overwatch principal designer Geoff Goodman reached out to the community on the official forums, confirming that Roadhog would indeed be nerfed, and the changes could hit the Public Test Realm (PTR) as early the weekend, which they did.
He also detailed how the changes will make Roadhog a slightly less powerful hero.
“The hook victim will now move in to the position directly in front of Roadhog, rather than just a straight line towards him,” Goodman explained. “There is a cap on how far ‘to the side’ you can be pulled, so you can’t just hook someone, spin 180, and dump someone off a cliff. This part (along with some other bug fixes) should generally make the hook feel more consistent as to where the victims get pulled.”
Goodman also said that the line-of-sight check to see if a hook should connect or not is now checked to Roadhog’s position instead of the hook’s position.
“This basically means the hook can’t connect to targets that Roadhog himself can’t see,” he continued.
The general consensus from the community was that this was a good thing: Roadhog’s hook needed to be fixed in order to balance the effectiveness of the hook next to hero counteraction.
However, the execution is not quite what the community had in mind, and Blizzard’s being pounded on forums and Reddit.
One of the main changes coming to “Hook 2.0”, as it was dubbed by the Overwatch community, was in the way of mobility: Roadhog would no longer be able to hook an opponent, do a 180 and throw them off a cliff.
However, while that change was promised, it doesn’t actually appear to work, as can be seen in the below gif.
The problem is that, while Blizzard made tweaks to ensure Roadhog can’t do a 180, it’s still possible to throw enemies off a cliff directly behind Roadhog by doing a 160-degree turn or less.
Roadhog’s would also now be able to fling opponents directly into the line-of-sight of teammates.
This might seem like a skilful and necessary tactic, but it’s the complete opposite of what Blizzard had actually intended to do to the character.
Roadhog players will undoubtedly be happy about this specific change, but Blizzard appeared intent on creating a more rounded and restricted “Hook 2.0”: the act of actually hooking an opponent is tougher than ever.
The hook has essentially been nerfed into oblivion, bordering on making Roadhog unplayable. The hook defines the character, and fans are complaining that in the PTR, they can’t hook players that other heroes would otherwise be able to headshot.
Roadhog has gone from a character with a hook that could pull opponents through walls and in a 180 over a cliff, to a character that can barely hook onto opponents at all.
Principal designer Geoff Goodman wrote on the Blizzard forums that the PTR update still had a lot of fixes to come, and that it wasn’t working as intended.
“We have a fix for this coming soon onto the PTR, as well as other fixes (such as being able to throw people behind you if you spin before the hook lands),” he said. “I’m also playing around with the ability for the hook to slow down a player when it impacts them, especially if they are in the air. This should help some of the more extreme cases where a player was strafe jumping and got hooked, but just before they get pulled they traveled a good 3-4 meters before breaking LOS, causing the hook to fail.”
As for D.Va, she’s received a very significant nerf, and fans on Reddit are not happy at all.
Now active on the PTR, this severely underpowered D.Va has seen her Health increase from 200 to 400, Armor decrease from 400 to 200, Fusion Cannons Bullet damage decreased from 3 to 2, and the number of bullets per shot increased from 8 to 11.
Blizzars said of the nerf: “D.Va’s armor often made her feel like she had no weaknesses, even against heroes that are often effective against bigger targets (like Reaper). The changes to her Fusion Cannons will result in a small overall decrease in damage, but they should feel more consistent now.”
It’s not active in the public game now, but almost every change that has appeared in the PTR has come over to the full game as is.
“Her survivability was the only thing holding her kit together, as it allowed her to get into enemy’s face. If D.Va can’t survive getting into enemies faces, it makes her gun — which is meant for close-range — useless,” said one commenter.
One popular thread breaks down the nerf, saying the changes, “absolutely obliterate D.Va’s pick-rate at the pro and high-competitive levels,” and “barely change how effective D.Va is at annoying mid-level players with non-stop Defense Matrix.”
“This nerf basically punishes D.Va in general. It fails to distinguish between selective DM use and spamming the DM. It won’t stop spamming either — it will simply make it occur in more discrete chunks,” they said.
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