Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Horizon - new Overwatch assault map now on PTR! McCree, Roadhog and Reaper balance changes!

It's actually a pret-ty interesting day in Overwatch news all around, so let's break it down. 


First up, as teased recently on Lijiang tower (where some screens changed to schematics of the Horizon lunar colony) and by Blizz themselves (a dev said on the forums that the next hero is "just over the horizon" - get it?), the next new core map is a 2 point capture map set on Horizon.  Horizon, of course, is the moon base where adorable Gorilla tank Winston was raised by brilliant scientist Harold Winston - his namesake, whose glasses he stole.

Here's the announcement trailer:

And here's Jeff Kaplan giving a few deets on the map, and why, no, it's not all low-gravity.

Which is cool!  Yay!  New map!  Some folks on forums are complaining that it's a two capture-point map, an assault, along the lines of Anubis, Hanamura and Volskaya - but what were they expecting?  There are three map types in Overwatch - payload (like new map Eichenwald), king of the hill (like new map Oasis) and assault - we've already got new maps for the other two, so naturally a 2CP is the next one coming.

But things are getting yet more exciting!  Here are the patch notes for today's PTR update. Of note..?

The devs said recently that D.Va's Officer skin and Genji's Oni skin - which were available only through playing Blizz's Heroes of the Storm during special events - would be made available as "regular loot boxes" in the future.  Nobody expected it would be this soon, but here we are!

They'll now pop up as normal legendary skins in loot boxes, and they can be purchased for 1,000 gold just like every other "vanilla" skin in the game, like D.Va's B.Va skin, or Genji's Sparrow.  Very nice - though D.Va's Cruiser is way better than Officer, for my money.

Please note - this change is only live on the PTR at the moment - the skins aren't freely available in the live game, yet.

Elsewhere, some big balance changes are coming down the pike.

Roadhog is getting some pretty major changes.

  • His hitbox for headshots is being reduced by 20%. 
  • The damage of his primary and alt fire is being reduced by 33%
  • The rate of fire of his scrap gun has been increased by 30%
  • The scrap gun's clip has been increased from 4 to 5 shots - something Hogs have been asking for, for a long time. 
So what does this mean, by the numbers?  Well, it means that Roadhog will no longer be able to delete a 200HP hero with anything less than a perfect hook-headshot-melee combo, and he won't be able to one-shot 150HP heroes without hooking them first, any more. 

The devs say that "the Scrap Gun changes reduce the power of his hook combo and alternate fire burst damage potential while still keeping his DPS roughly the same," and that the headshot hitbox size reduction should increase his survivability, but I gotta' say I think they're wrong.  

Roadhog exists, as he does in the game right now, with his prominence, because of his burst damage potential.  The way he can nab a Mercy and just - bam - gone.  These changes may "keep his DPS roughly the same," but their effect will be to remove his primary asset to any team - making fast, guaranteed picks every eight seconds.  I've already seen some streamers say they're giving up the hero if these changes go live.  

As a Squishy Main, I welcome New Hog and his totally reasonable adjustments!  As a realist, I'll be surprised if these changes make it to live. 


McCree's Deadeye is getting a huge buff (when the fuck're they gonna' buff Pulse Bomb, that's my question).  It's a bit technical, but

  • Targets now begin locking on after 0.2 seconds, instead of 0.8 seconds
  • Damage accumulated over the first 1.0 seconds increased from 20 to 80 (damage per second after the first 1.0 seconds is unchanged)

So basically, McCree's gonna' say "it's hiiiigh" and you're dead.  I don't know why this is necessary - I see a lot of McCrees still getting three, four, five picks with their ult - but I imagine Blizzard has crunched some numbers and discovered McCree isn't getting the value they feel he should.  Sooo... McCree gets a buff.  At least they're not fucking with the Peacekeeper's range again.

Finally, dig this...

Reaper will no longer pick up health orbs from killed enemies.  Instead, 20% of the damage he deals to enemy heroes will be returned to him as health.  One-shot a Mercy in the face?  You just got 40 health!  Bust out Death Blossom so you're hitting everyone on the enemy team?  You'll be unkillable.

That is fucking awesome and crazy and I love it.  And that's all of today's official news! unofficial news...

A leaker on 4chan posted a bunch of stuff  yesterday, including details of Horizon that today we learned are true:
The new map is based inside the Horizon Lunar Colony.
It is a 2CP map, and you fight to secure the control room, and an air-lock.
There are a few small areas where gravity is reduced."
What piques my interest is the fact that they're right about the airlock and the fact that most of the map is not low-G, but a little bit of it is.  If you paid attention to the post Blizzard put up yesterday about Horizon, you'll notice that the station's internal sensors cannot locate two test subjects - Winston and someone named Hammond.  Who is Hammond?  Unknown, but emails between scientists note that he's a "smaller test subject," indicating something other than a Gorilla.  (Personally I was keeping my fingers crossed for a return of the cat-on-a-jetpack idea that Jeff has tossed around sometimes - but he's like evil and Winston's arch-nemesis.)

"Well, Winston!  It seems you've anticipated my plan purrrfectly."

"You won't win this time, Hammond!"

"You think your band of halfwits and has-beens can defeat me?  You've gotta' be kitten!"

"Your puns are insufferable, and we're taking you down."

"At least you have a pawsitive catitude."
But anyway, this is what the 4chan leaker says about the next hero:
"The new hero is a Chimpanzee with cybernetic enhancements.
He is a support hero.
His abilities include placing anchor points that connect to form a barrier and placing a stun beacon.
The barrier drops after taking too much damage, but unless an anchor point is destroyed, it comes back up."
So this matches up with Hammond being an important character, Hammond being smaller than the other test subjects, annnd that's about it.  The only other thing that gives it a bit of credence is the fact that their Horizon predictions lined up pretty well.  We'll see.  Personally, I'd prefer a new support hero who heals.

Reaper buffs!  Crazy!

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