Overwatch 2 has some big plans in store, and they’re likely to split its audience right down the middle. Ahead of Overwatch 2 season 5, an update from game director Aaron Keller suggests some of the changes Blizzard is considering for its next balance patch, and they include a return of crowd control effects to the multiplayer game, as well as some potentially big nerfs to one-shot characters.
The removal of CC, or crowd control (that’s anything in the realm of stuns, slows, and boops), from almost all skills except from tanks was a big part of the changes to Overwatch 2. The goal, Blizzard says, was to put more of a focus on people creating plays rather than shutting them down, especially with the removal of the second tank player.
“Overall, we think that this was a positive change to the game,” Keller says, comparing the original game to a “pinball machine.” But, he explains, “we have a lot of high-mobility heroes on the roster, and a team can’t always rely on their tank to take care of them. So we’re softening our approach here.”
For season five, Blizzard has two characters in mind as a test bed of sorts – Mei and Cassidy. Mei’s primary, the Endothermic Blaster, will still slow as normal but “will also build up to an effect that will apply a much larger slow for 1.5 seconds” that Keller says “will feel familiar to the way her old weapon worked.” Presumably you’ll have a little more opportunity to counter it than being completely frozen solid, but that’s still rather terrifying.
Cassidy, meanwhile, is having his Magnetic Grenade reworked – it’ll do less damage than before, but will now apply an effect that slows targets and blocks them from using movement abilities. It’s unclear whether that will apply when the grenade sticks, or when it explodes – if it’s the former, that could make it a lot more deadly to heroes who can typically escape from its clutches.
Also likely to cause plenty of chatter is plans to “reduce the frequency” of one-shots from Widowmaker and Hanzo. Widow’s damage falloff is being dramatically shortened, while the amount the damage drops over distance is being increased, which will make her unable to kill even 200 health heroes past 50 meters with a single bullet.
Hanzo will see his damage slightly nerfed “so that he is no longer able to one-shot 250 health heroes.” Another change will make it easier for the enemy team to see where his Sonic Arrow has been used, meaning you’ll know when he’s got a bead on your position. Keller says “the intent here is to reduce his kills that feel like they come out of nowhere.”
Keller also notes that a Junker Queen nerf will see her Commanding Shout health gain dropped from 200 to 150 to make her a little less survivable, while Lifeweaver is set to receive “increases to his healing and damage output, a heal on Life Grip, a slightly reduced hitbox, and some quality-of-life changes to Petal Platform.”
Personally, I’ve always been a bit of a crowd control defender – I liked the slightly more MOBA-like aspects of the first Overwatch – but, having gotten used to the game without them, I’m not sure how I feel about their return.
I’m also torn on the one-shot changes, though I’ll undoubtedly benefit as someone who isn’t a particularly good sniper myself. Either way, these are likely to provide some dramatic alterations to how the game feels, so it’ll be fascinating to see how the Overwatch community responds.
Browse our Overwatch 2 tier list if you want to know who’s looking best in Overwatch 2 season 4. You might also want to run eyes over the best Overwatch 2 settings if you’re looking to optimize your FPS and in-game performance.