Overwatch 2 has quite a lot in the pipeline, and the latest Director’s Take blog from Blizzard’s Aaron Keller gives us a tease at the next Overwatch 2 support hero as well as showing off how spawns will work in the new Flashpoint mode coming to the multiplayer game next season. However, perhaps the most intriguing point, snuck out in passing, is an upcoming nerf to one of Overwatch 2’s most problematic abilities.
I love Zenyatta. He’s my boy, my beautiful orb-pondering son. Something about the way he flings his balls about just feels incredibly satisfying, and he gets a solid heal over time that requires minimal maintenance. His real kicker, however, the reason you actually want to pick Zen, is his Discord Orb – the ability to boost all damage dealt by a target by 25%.
That’s a huge winner, a fight-swinger, and it’s been a perpetual source of balance struggles since the game launched. It actually doesn’t tend to be the defining factor of whether Zen is favored in the meta so much as whether the slow-moving, fragile Omnic is able to stay alive amid the preferred dives and flankers, but it’s made him a consistent problem over the years. In Overwatch 2, he’s able to dramatically influence how quickly a team can burn down the enemy tank’s health pool, or help rapidly delete squishier heroes.
The scary thing about Discord orb is, if you’re not a high-level player, it can be easy to miss how much work it’s doing. Because it simply floats near a character and passively amplifies the damage they take, it can be tough to realize why someone’s been absolutely melted. In the current season five landscape, where tanks are already struggling, Zen continues to be a real threat. But there’s intriguing news.
Keller discusses several changes coming in the mid-season five patch. These include “slight adjustments to weaken Zenyatta’s Discord Orb ability.” There’s not yet an indication what it’ll be – in the past we’ve seen everything from changes to how large its damage multiplier is to tweaks to how long it remains on a target once they’re out of Zen’s line of sight. Personally, I’m of a similar mind to Overwatch streamer ‘Flats,’ who suggests that the orb should have a lower multiplier when applied to tanks.
Among the other changes mentioned, one that will have some big influence on the lower ranks is “shifting power for Torbjörn and Symmetra away from their turrets and into the rest of their kit,” as the pair have long been dominant at levels where their auto-aim companions can function as effectively a sixth player.
The team is also looking to “improve the control over Sojourn’s Railgun primary fire spread,” making her a little more consistent at bursting targets at long range, and “increasing the front-line capability of Reinhardt and Orisa” to give the pair an easier time holding down the fort in brawls.
The full blog also includes a very fun hand-drawn map, MS Paint-style, showing off how Flashpoint spawns will work – essentially, imagine the five control points in an ‘X’ shape, with each team getting a forward spawn for the two points that are furthest from their starting safe room. There’s also a very brief image teaser for the upcoming hero, though we’ll be waiting a bit longer for the full reveal, so stay tuned for more.