Friday, September 23, 2016

Overwatch news! Clip Show 19 : Mei Day.

A new balance patch went live on the PC's test servers yesterday with some interesting balance tweaks for Ana, in particular.
  • Nano Boost
    • Ultimate cost has been increased by 20%
  • Biotic Grenade
    • Radius has been increased from 3 to 4 meters
Developer Comments: So far, we haven't seen any indication that Ana is too strong overall, but her ultimate charges a little too fast, especially considering the impact it can have on a match. Also, her Biotic Grenades are getting a small boost to help her hit multiple targets. 
  • Widow's Kiss
    • Scoping-in animation time has been reduced from 0.5 to 0.3 seconds
Developer Comments: This change will help Widowmaker acquire new targets more quickly and speed up her reaction time in fast-paced situations. 
  • RIP-Tire
    • Ability now activates more quickly
Developer Comments: Junkrat can be an extremely effective hero in the right hands, but RIP-Tire often felt underpowered when compared to his counterparts.

Ana (obviously - as if you didn't already know) is currently the core of The 3/3 Meta.  The previous meta was two offense heroes, two tanks and two healers or 2/2/2.  The 3/3 is three healers (usually Lucio, Zen and Ana) and three tanks to intentionally take damage from the enemy team so the healers - and most crucially, Ana - can heal them up and gain her ult.  Ana's ult is, of course, best used on tanks (or an ulting Genji/Soldier, or a Reaper).

Ana gains ult charge super fast - so fast that she essentially has it ready to go for every single team fight.  The tanks and the supports all do damage in addition to their healing, the tanks' ults create team wipes, and Zenyatta and Lucio's ults protect the team from events that may wipe them.

It's incredibly powerful and effective at "pro-level" play, and it really put a spotlight on how quickly Ana is able to get her ult ready.  This change won't have a huge impact on her ability to build ult, and the buff to her grenade is actually pretty darned huge - but it's always... a little exciting when Blizz makes these changes.

Elsewhere... guess what showed up last night?  Just kidding you don't have to guess, I'm posting pics!

Behold!  Two (impressively high-quality) prints of T.Racer by the artist going by jn3.  The paper is like super heavy-gauge - you could use it for making boxes or immortal Christmas cards - and it fits perfectly in frames that I already had!  One for home, one for the office.

There is an insane amount of incredible fan art for Overwatch - the boggling wealth of fan-created media for the game, from music to comics to cartoons to the art, is one of the many things I adore about it - but for my money, the above piece is The Best Piece of Overwatch Fan Art.

I was, honestly, a bit worried about taking it into the office.  If you're not counting the sleek helmet and machine pistols, its most obvious feature is the curvature of a woman's back end.  So first thing this morning, when I overheard my boss talking Overwatch with another colleague, I rolled over, said "did somebody say Overwatch?" and steered him back towards my desk.  He proclaimed it "cool," so I am now safe until a harassment complaint appears.

Tee Racerrr!

Tracer, it's worth noting, barely appears in this week's Clip Show.

0:00 - 0:17 : Mercy PotGs are... a bit common, lately.  It's actually pretty cool!  Healing now seriously seems to be a thing that will win you PotG (more on that later), but Mercy rezzes have been getting PotG left and right - to the point that if I see my PotG splash come up and I know I never did more than a 2-rez, I'll apologize over chat for what the team is about to see.

I did not apologize over chat for this one.  Rare is the day your team is literally applauding you over the mics for your Play of the Game.  Hot stuff!

0:17 - 0:26 : Oh God I've been flanked by a Mei!


...annnd I'm frozen.

Annnd I'm dead.

Fucking Mei, man.  Fucking Mei.

0:26 - 0:43 : Zenyatta the lifesaver!  I was super-surprised when this popped up in my highlight reel, but it was a pretty cool moment.  This Mercy and I are alone, trying to stop the attackers at the payload on King's Row, and we're flanked by a McCree.  The McCree immediately goes after Mercy, but I drop the harmony orb on her and the discord on McCree as he ducks into cover to reload.

I wind up my barrage and move in for a clearer shot, but he nails me with his flashbang!  I had no idea this would happen, but when he nails me with it, it unleashes the barrage I've built up - at the precise moment I had my reticle exactly where it needed to be to kill him.


0:43 - 1:16 : I actually got Play of the Game for this Transcendence!  But the actual clip is all weirded out - the ulting Winston doesn't load, for example.  When it popped at the end of the game, one of the dudes in chat goes "seriously?  Zenyatta?" and another dude says "man, that was clutch.  That saved the point."

It was clutch :) that Transcendence did save the point.  And then I got to kill Mei who thinks she's about to take the point with her ult!  You ain't takin' shit, you soulless monster!

Meiii... so much fun to play as.

1:35 - 2:11 : I made this Lucio's life a living hell.  It's pretty common to receive a little crossfire, this way and that, as you play Overwatch, and a little bit of damage pinging your hud isn't a big deal... until you notice your movement speed slowing to a crawl.

Then, you get chills.  You know what's about to happen.  You pan the camera around.  You see her adorable face.  You see her ice-pistol-thing sweep up to your head.


It's an uncomfortable rhythm to get in to, as the attacking Mei.  Mei's alt fire - the icicle - actually fires off like a second of three-quarters of a second after you pull the trigger, and the effective moment of the freeze is always earlier than it seems.  You need to pull it super-early - before they even seem to be frozen - but once you get the hang of it you feel... very powerful.

There are few heroes in the game that a Mei can't solo, if she gets the drop on them.

Hahhh he used his ult and we shredded him like tissue.

2:11 - 2:23 : You'll see a lot of less-than-great uses of my Mei ult, in this clip show.  I'm... still coming to terms with it - but I have this thing where I have to throw it out when a Zarya uses hers and anyone gets caught in it - but when you're pushin' and it's goin' well and you get caught up in the swing of things why not fling your ult in there and contribute like 20% to a quad kill?  I'll take it!

2:23 - 2:36 : Tracer Vs. Mei generally favors Tracer, with a big IF in between.  IF that Mei can land a headshot on the Tracer with her icicle, she wins, end of story.  If Mei can't land that (in all honesty very difficult on a fast-moving target) shot, Tracer still has to negotiate Mei's wall, keep enough distance to steer clear of Mei's freezing primary fire (which drastically reduces Tracer's potential damage), and even then Mei might just pop into her deep freeze and regain that health back.

I've had a lot of Tracers try to nab me with the pulse bomb when I use deep freeze, but it's a tricky timing to master.  Mei's deep freeze lasts four seconds (and she can cancel it), while Tracer's pulse bomb has a 2 or 1.5 second fuse (no one's really sure).

So pulling this off was sweeter than candy.

2:36 - 3:07 : Behold, some fine-ass Mei work on King's Row.  I have no idea why I own King's Row so hard with Mei, but this time - much like the last memorable time - began with me hoping the reds wouldn't notice me slipping out the second-story window of the right flank, and sneaking around behind them.  They were all off the point, keeping pressure on the choke, so I had to go for it.  And it worked out so well!

  1. A nicely-timed ice wall keeps Junkrat off the point for a few more precious seconds. 
  2. A charismatic wave lowers the defending D.Va's guard enough to emote back, which buys me a free freeze-and-headshot combo. 
  3. My brother and our whole crew rolls in as I heal up, and our Zarya keeps them away from the point with her ult, giving me time to sweep forward and wall off the Junkrat - the only class that could have lobbed damage at us from afar.  

3:07 - 4:10 : Mei leads the way!

  1. A quick wall on the choke forces Bastion to set up in a corner, which makes him very easy to focus fire. 
  2. Oh noooes Roadhog's got me with his ult!  Where the hell did he come from?  And why didn't I use my cryo freeze?!
  3. Thanks Mercy!  I won't let'cha down!
  4. Oh shits it's D.Va's ult!  Our Mercy has nowhere to run!  But Mei will save the day!  Also you'll notice our Zarya runs in to gain ult charge off the D.Va ult, and then like disappears when I pop the wall - did I ruin her ult charge?  No!  You can tell by the glow that she's got it when she gets hit by the sleep dart.  That all worked out lovely
  5. The red Zarya fires her ult just behind the payload - and I don't even need a wall to block my team from the incoming damage.  Mei's cryo freeze will protect everyone behind her from incoming fire - it also blocks a D.Va ult, the buff of an enemy Lucio's sound barrier and the area of effect of an enemy Mei's ult!  Handy.  
  6. I set up a wall just beyond the payload to earn a few more free feet, and slip around to... charge right into their tanks and pick a fight with their Zarya.  Her charge is low, but she's got a lot of fight in her.  Why didn't she use her primary fire at the end there, when it would've done way more damage than her alt grenades?  Probably the same reason I used my primary instead of my alt-fire, which would've finished that fight way sooner - we're dumb!
  7. Another exceedingly mediocre use of Mei's ult sees the payload another twenty feet.  My dumbness returns as I use my primary fire on Junk's tire instead of just snappin' an icicle into it.  Doi!

4:10 - 5:26 : Mei leads the charge down the final stretch!

  1. I was surprised when I landed two headshots on that Ana too. 
  2. A quick wall renders their Zarya, D.Va and Torb's turrets useless as we gain a few more precious yards. 
  3. Oh shits the Roadhog is ulting again!  I screw up the wall and he comes flying in, but this is where Mei's superpower comes into play.  I freeze 'em and we all DPS him down. 
  4. It seems like Mercy and I are the only ones left, here, and she switches to damage boost as I ineffectually harass the closest of the defenders - but there's too many to deal with, and I'm about to withdraw when the D.Va fires her ult behind Mercy and I.  
  5. I don't have the presence of mind to try to wall off the Mercy and protect her, so I bail into the nearby room - which was also not... a great idea. 
  6. Ana, Zarya and D.Va all gang up on me!  They're hurtin' for some payback, and Ana knows her biotic grenade is gonna' screw me big time.  That's why she starts teabagging me when I go into my deep freeze - she knows I'm not getting any health back, thanks to her grenade, and there's no way I'll be able to throw a wall up to protect myself before they kill me.  But I can pop my ult as the Roadhog trundles into the room... 
  7. ...which sets up my brother to get Play of the Game while they're all frozen.  The D.Va makes it out thanks to her boosters, but their Torb wanders into the path of the explosion.  Very nice, Chris!

5:26 - 5:41 : Ugh I was so proud of walling this Zarya off when she pushed forward on us.  She just wanted to poke ahead to get a little charge and shrink back into her team!  But newp.

5:41 - 6:30 : Remember that epic stretch on Nepal where I wiped like the entire enemy team with Tracer?  This is the same thing, but with Reaper on Gibraltar.

  1. Pharah's already half-dead, and goes down easy. 
  2. It actually felt super cool to leap off the back of the payload, shooting down at this Zarya, who immediately backs off into her team as our Mei blocks them off.  But I ain't done
  3. I sweep around the side of Mei's wall and keep on slapping Zarya - and nearly die before she falls - but go wraith at just the right moment to slip in a side door and grab a little health pack.  
  4. I stay back, waiting for my moment.  It comes, in the form of our Mei. 
  5. She pops her ult.  I run in. 
  6. And there goes the rest of their team.  That.  Was.  Delicious.  
  7. For the record, after I emoted "thanks," the Mei emoted "understood!"
It's Friday.  I think I'll play some more Mei tonight...

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