While Reinhardt did receive a minor nerf to his Earthshatter ultimate in Overwatch’s last patch, many players have been complaining about an undocumented change to Reinhardt’s hammer. According to fans, it now takes twice as long for a hit of Reinhardt’s hammer to register.
Check out the (reported) balance changes from Overwatch patch 1.11.
First brought to light by user Kekstarter on the Overwatch forums, they reported that Reinhardt’s hammer now hits at the end of the swing, rather than in the middle of it. Because of this change, Reinhardt mains can no longer animation cancel their hammer swings to cause quick damage.
After multiple Reinhardt mains when into the lab to test this problem, players discovered that all of Reinhardt’s abilities had been slowed down. The current theory is that the issue is due to a netcode change in the Anniversary update which alters how Overwatch registers ability activation. According to user Palnatoke who went looking for answers on various Overwatch community Discords, Overwatch’s server apparently now sends players a confirmation that you pressed a button before it activates an ability, meaning there is a slight delay in when your move activates. If you are playing at a higher ping, this ability lag is more noticeable as it takes longer for the server confirmation to come back to you. While this change doesn’t seem to affect other characters, you can see how significant the delay is to Reinhardt in the video above.
Reinhardt mains are quite rightly irritated, as many say that this undocumented change drastically hurts Reinhardt’s place in the meta. While a fair few comments on the forum thread are nothing more than hyperbole, this ability speed reduction does reduce Reinhardt’s damage output and how he reacts to incoming threats.
Following four days of angry messages and bumps on the forum thread, lead software engineer Bill Warnecke finally gave a response via the forum. Warnecke states that Blizzard did not intend to “change Reinhardt’s hammer” and that the support team will “dig into this”.
We will no doubt find out if the ability delay was due to the aforementioned netcode change or an unintended side-effect of the Earthshatter nerf. Expect a hotfix and a potential explanation from Blizzard sometime next week.