Update March 02, 2017: The aformentioned patch is now available on the PTR, with it reducing the damage reduction of Bastion’s Ironclad passive.
Ironclad now only reduces 20% of incoming damage, instead of the previous 35%. Zarya also received a nerf, with her Barriers no longer negating knockback.
Who could be coming to Overwatch soon? Here are our best guesses.
Original Story March 02, 2017: Following the massive changes to Bastion which saw the bird loving robot turn into unstoppable killing machine, feedback has quite forthcoming from the Overwatch community about Bastion’s current power level. Responding to the feedback over on the forums, Overwatch’s game director Jeff Kaplan has even admitted that Bastion “is a little too powerful right now.”
Responding to a thread about Bastion, Kaplan stated that some Bastion changes are set to go up on the PTR sometime today. He was unable to explain the exact shape of these changes as the balance team were still “still making the changes” at time of writing. From his own personal experience of playing the reworked Bastion, Kaplan thought that while “Bastion isn’t the “I Win button” that many are claiming him to be, the changes to self heal and his Recon Mode made it so he could beat better players “almost through attrition.” As such, expect that these changes may alter the strength of Bastion’s self heal to stop him beating enemies in a firefight simply by outliving them.
As the changes to Bastion were to increase his viability, there will be an adjustment period where the character is (briefly) too powerful, as the balance team try to find a new niche in the current meta. “Complaints and praise of Bastion are both valid” at this time Kaplan says, but unchecked hyperbole about him being an insta-win character does not help the process of balancing.
Kaplan was also keen to point out his own thoughts on the perceived competitive meta versus the actual meta the average player will go up against in a standard match. While reports about the pro scene helpfully break down the meta picks from that small subset of players, they are “not necessarily representative of the playerbase at large”. So, during the height of the three tank meta where Ana and Lucio were proclaimed as the only viable heroes, “Mercy was the 5th most played hero OVERALL”, despite the pro scene viewing her as an out of meta hero.
“The perception of what the meta is does not match what the actual meta is” says Kaplan, so fans should just hold fire on jumping on balance changes that don’t exactly fix aspects thrown up by pro play, when the majority of Overwatch play does not match that upper echelon of competition.
The PTR change is available right now so jump into the test environment to take the changes for a spin. There may also be some hints about the new hero, so cross your fingers for an actual reveal, rather than 100 more hints.