Overwatch patch 1.5 – Sombra and the Arcade

Overwatch patch 1.5

Overwatch patch 1.5 is now live, adding Sombra – the new hacker hero – along with a new map, the Arcade, and your usual assortment of balance tweaks. The Arcade adds some exciting new game modes that don’t fit Casual or Competitive, like 1v1 duels, and offers Loot Box rewards as incentives to take part. The new map, Ecopoint: Antarctica, takes players to Mei’s old stomping ground, just before her decade-long cryosleep. All the changes below.

Here are the best Overwatch characters so far.

Overwatch Patch 1.5 release date

Overwatch patch 1.5 is now live for everyone.

Overwatch Patch 1.5 New Hero: Sombra

Sombra balance changes

“One of the world’s most notorious hackers is stepping out of the shadows: Sombra, a mysterious infiltrator who uses information to control those in power.”

For a full run-down of all ofSombra’s abilities, cosmetics and suchwe’ve got you covered in our seperate article. You can also find out about the long-running Sombra ARG on page two.

Overwatch Patch 1.5 New Feature: The Arcade

“Discover brand new ways to play Overwatch in the Arcade. Choose from a variety of regularly rotating game modes, maps, and rulesets that don’t quite fit into Quick Play or Competitive Play. Whether it’s 1-on-1 duels, 3-vs-3 skirmishes, our alternating selection of brawls, or special rulesets like ‘no hero switching,’ you should have no problem finding a game that fits your mood. Experience is earned just like any other mode, but you can also earn Arcade-specific rewards, like Loot Boxes!”

Here’s how this iteration of the arcade breaks down:

  • Mystery Duel – a first-to-five set of 1v1 mirror matches on the new map designed for small battles.
    • Your hero is randomised for each encounter, but your opponent gets the same.
    • Lucio and Mercy are not in the pool, presumably due to the time they would take. There are also no health packs.
    • Your first-ever win of this mode will provide a loot box.
  • Elimination – a first-to-three set of 3v3 games against an opposing team.
    • This is a fight to the death, with no respawns.
    • You can switch heroes between games, but when the pre-game timer runs out you’re randomly assigned for that round.
    • No banned heroes, health packs are spawned as normal.
  • Mystery Heroes – a return of the random-hero brawl. Changes on respawn.
  • No Limits – old quick play rule set with hero stacking.
  • All Brawls – a playlist of all brawls added to the game since release. Rotates as you play.

These will rotate as necessary, based on popularity and time. They’ll still all be available in custom games once Blizzard turns a few dials to get them working, but not always these playlists. Once Blizzard get that server browser working, they will of course be available to play at pretty much any time. You can also see which of the modes are proving most enjoyable to the community via the popularity pips on each card.

Most notable is the free loot boxes given in the Arcade. Whenever new game modes rotate in they’ll give a free loot box for the first win. You also can get three loot boxes per week, one per three wins in any Arcade modes.

Overwatch Patch 1.5 New Map: Ecopoint: Antarctica

Patch 1.5 new map Ecopoint: Antartica

“Bundle up for a journey to Ecopoint: Antarctica, the former Overwatch installation where climatologist Mei-Ling Zhou was once stationed. While researching severe weather anomalies in the region, the station was hit by an intense polar storm. Running out of options and low on supplies, the team decided to cryogenically freeze themselves until the storm passed. They believed that it would only be for a few months, but Mei awoke nearly a decade later.”

This new map is under the new Arena classification. This is designed for smaller games, like the 1v1 and 3v3 modes it’s currently supporting on the PTR. It has no objectives as these are pure deathmatch modes. There are also various easter eggs scattered throughout the map, like Mei’s incredibly sad birthday card to herself. More here, if you love tears.

Overwatch Season 3 Competitive

Overwatch competitive season 3

“Competitive Play’s second season will end on November 23 at 4PM PDT (November 24 at 0:00 UTC), and the third season will begin on November 30 at 4PM PDT (December 1 at 0:00 UTC). During the week-long off season, you’ll still be able to queue for matches using the Competitive Play ruleset, but your skill rating will not be affected and no Competitive Points will be awarded.”

Blizzard have also made a few adjustments to the skill rating system for season 3. Players will be distributed more broadly across the skill tiers, which means that your season three rating will probably be lower than the previous season.

Developer Comments:“When season two started, we had more players in the Gold and Platinum skill tiers than we originally intended. This meant that skill levels varied widely for players within those tiers, and some players were achieving inappropriately high rankings during their placement matches. These players typically began the season by having their skill rating adjusted downwards after their first few matches. For season three, skill ratings will be slightly lower after your placement matches, allowing them to increase as the season begins. After you play enough matches, your skill rating changes will return to normal.”

Overwatch Patch 1.5 General Updates


  • Made a number of data improvements, which should decrease load times and reduce the game’s storage space requirements
  • Made several adjustments to the amount of experience needed to level
    • The amount of experience needed to reach levels 2 through 13 remains unchanged
    • The amount of experience needed to reach levels 14 through 100 has been slightly reduced
    • The amount of experience needed to reach levels after 100 is now constant (20,000 XP) and will no longer reset after each promotion

Developer Comments:“With the way our experience curve works right now, players move fairly quickly through the first 23 levels of each tier (1-23, 101-123, 201-223, etc.). This is because when a player is promoted after 100 levels, the experience curve resets. While this reset has worked pretty well so far, it’s also encouraged some people to stop playing the game after they’re promoted—hoping to save those first 23 levels for a seasonal event. To help address this, the experience needed for all post-promotion levels (any level after 100) is now consistently 20,000 and will no longer reset. The total experience required to gain 100 levels after a promotion is roughly unchanged, but the total experience required to earn the first 100 levels (before the first promotion) has been slightly reduced.”

  • Quick Play matches are now restricted to one of each hero per team

Developer Comments:“We’ve been monitoring your feedback to the 1-hero limit in Competitive Play. Overall, we believe the game is in a better place in terms of balance and stability with the hero limit in place. For this reason, we have decided to add the 1-hero limit to Quick Play. We understand that there are a lot of players who enjoy the ability to play multiples of the same hero, so we have introduced a new mode to the Arcade called ‘No Limits.’ This mode uses Quick Play’s original ruleset, which allows for hero stacking.”


  • The number of observer slots in Custom Games has been increased from 6 to 12

Overwatch Patch 1.5 Hero Balance Changes

As Blizzard said previously, they’re making a number of significant hero adjustments this patch and will also be experimenting with different balance tweaks throughout the duration of the PTR.

Don’t expect these changes to stay the same for the duration of the PTR, but we’ll update these notes as the tweaks happen.


  • Dealing damage to non-players (like Torbjorn’s turrets or Symmetra’s teleporter), no longer charges ultimate abilities
  • Ultimate costs have been increased by 25% for all heroes

Ana –nerfed

Ana balance changes

  • Nano Boost (Q):
    • No longer increases move speed

D.Va –buffed

D.Va balance changes

  • Mech health increased to 200 (formerly 100). Armor remains at 400
  • Movement speed while firing has been increased by 25%
  • Call Mech (Pilot-Form Q):
    • Ultimate cost has been decreased by 20%
      • “This reduces the cost back down to what it was before the global ultimate cost change.”

Lúcio –nerfed

Lucio balance changes

  • Amp It Up (E):
    • Healing-per-second has been decreased by 10%

Mei –nerfed

Mei balance changes

  • Blizzard (Q):
    • Ultimate cost has been increased by 15%

Mercy –buffed

Mercy balance changes

  • Passive health regeneration now kicks in when Mercy avoids taking damage for 1 second (formerly 3 seconds)

Pharah –buffed

Pharah balance changes

  • Rocket Launcher (Primary):
    • Minimum explosion damage has been increased by 13%
    • Minimum explosion knockback has been decreased to 0%
  • Hover Jets
    • Lift increased by 35%

Soldier: 76 –buffed

Soldier: 76 balance changes

  • Pulse Rifle (Primary):
    • Bullet damage increased from 17 to 20
    • Maximum bullet spread Increased from 2.2 to 2.4

Torbjörn –changed

Torbjorn balance changes

  • Scrap is now automatically generated over time
  • The amount of scrap collected from a fallen enemy has been decreased by 40%
  • Forge Hammer (Primary):
    • Swing speed increased by 25%
    • Damage decreased by 27%

Widowmaker –buffed

Widowmaker balance changes

  • Venom Mine (E):
    • Explosion no longer damages the player who placed the mine
  • Widow’s Kiss (Scope):
    • Charge rate increased by 20%

Zarya –nerfed

Zarya balance changes

  • Particle Barrier (Shift):
    • Power gained from barriers decreased by 20%
  • Projected Barrier (E):
    • Power gained from barriers decreased by 20%

Overwatch Patch 1.5 Bug Fixes

Every patch has ’em, and here’s all of them for 1.5:


  • Fixed an issue that sometimes prevented the PC client from closing properly, making the Battle.net application think the game was still running
  • Fixed a bug preventing players from receiving credit toward the Most Healing Done commendation
  • Fixed a bug that caused the columns on Recent Players to slightly overlap each other
  • Fixed a bug preventing the fourth column on the friends list from being displayed properly
  • Fixed a navigation error that could occur when attempting to adjust video options using a controller


  • Fixed a bug that caused McCree bots to Combat Roll into the well on Ilios
  • Fixed a bug that could cause bots to get stuck in a wall near objective B on Temple of Anubis
  • Fixed a bug that prevented bots from moving through certain locations on Volskaya Industries

Competitive Play

  • Fixed a bug that could cause overtime to continue indefinitely on Assault maps
  • Fixed a bug that could cause matches to begin with only 11 connected players


  • Fixed a bug that prevented Ana’s healing stats from showing up in the Career Profile page
  • Fixed a bug that prevented Ana’s custom crosshairs from displaying while zoomed
  • Fixed a bug causing irregular placement of the pumpkin on Genji’s “Pumpkin Carving” highlight intro with certain skins
  • Fixed a bug preventing Mercy’s staff from showing up in the “Guardian Angel” highlight intro with her Cobalt skin equipped
  • Fixed a bug preventing Reaper’s “R.I.P.” victory pose from animating correctly when the game client isn’t in focus
  • Fixed a bug that allowed Tracer to use Blink while rewinding with Recall
  • Fixed a bug preventing some of Tracer’s voice lines from activating with her Punk skin equipped
  • Fixed a bug preventing Zarya from gripping her gun’s handle in the “Deadlift” highlight Intro
  • Fixed a bug causing Zarya’s Graviton Surge to eject Reinhardt at high velocity


  • Fixed a typo on the bakery blackboard in Eichenwalde
  • Fixed a bug that allowed certain heroes to stand on unintended pillars on Ilios
  • Fixed a bug on Lijiang Tower that allowed heroes to reach unintended locations
  • Fixed a bug allowing Reaper to Shadow Step to unintended locations on Nepal
  • Fixed a bug that allowed players to contest the payload from a protected area above the gas station on Route 66
  • Fixed a bug that allowed Pharah to reach unintended locations on Volskaya Industries
  • Fixed a bug on Watchpoint: Gibraltar that allowed players to reach an unintended location near the final objective

That’s it for Overwatch patch 1.5 – check back for updates regularly or we’ll see you in the very near future for patch 1.6.