Take a pause for thought there, dear reader, and look back at the first year of Overwatch (perhaps the beta phase is best forgotten) as Blizzard have just pushed out their Overwatch: Anniversary event to the masses.
Amongst the new cosmetics and emotes we find three new arena maps and some interesting balance changes that made it through from the PTR. A 5% damage decrease for Soldier 76 might be the most impactful change, especially when set against a backdrop of quality of life improvements for Genji, Hanzo and Reaper. On the tankier side of things the effectiveness of Earthshatter has been reined in, whilst Orisa finds herself with more barriers and less bang.
Don't take my word for it, check out the patch notes reproduced in full below:
New Seasonal Event: Overwatch Anniversary
We’re raising our glasses to toast the 30 million heroes who have answered the call to join us in Overwatch! From now until June 12, players can collect more than 100 Anniversary-themed rewards, and play three new Arena maps in the Arcade—all in celebration of our first year fighting for the future together. Put on your finest skins and join us for the festivities!
For more information, click here.
New Standard Loot Box Items
In addition to the new items in the Overwatch Anniversary event, we’re also adding new goodies to our standard loot boxes. Sombra, Orisa, and Tracer are all getting brand new emotes, and Reaper picks up several new unlocks based on the infamous shrug from the recent Uprising comic.
- Custom Games and Game Browser
- Added new rules sets for 3v3 and 1v1 Elimination modes on the Arena maps
- Added options for Hero Lockout, Limited Hero Pool, Tiebreakers, and Hero Reveal for Elimination mode
- Players can now disable secondary fire and secondary weapons in Custom Games
- You can now disable one Symmetra ultimate while leaving the other active
- Recoil Recovery Aim Compensation can now be disabled for Ana, McCree, and Widowmaker. The option can be found under the “Control” tab in the “Options” menu. Simply select the appropriate hero under the dropdown menu and look for the “Hero” section
Developer Comments: By default, weapon recoil recovery is overruled by downward crosshair movement. This means that downward movement during the weapon’s recoil recovery phase will override the weapon’s natural recoil recovery. This option allows you to remove this functionality, meaning a weapon’s natural recoil recovery movement acts independently from downward crosshair movement. In practice, this will make your crosshair move faster if you aim downward during the recoil recovery window.
- Removed the attack delay from Genji's wall climbing ability, allowing him to engage with enemies immediately after he finishes climbing
Developer Comments: This is a quality of life change to make wall climbing feel better.
Removed the attack cooldown from Hanzo’s wall climbing ability, allowing him to engage with enemies immediately after he finishes climbing
- Increase charge speed by 10%
- Charged arrows now maintain their charge after climbing a wall, provided the button is continuously held
Developer Comments: Decreasing Hanzo’s draw time gives him more overall DPS, while also letting him fully charge an arrow and more quickly return to full movement speed when needed. And, like the change to Genji’s wall climbing, this is a quality of life change that will make climbing feel better.
- Damage reduced by 9%
- Cooldown reduced from 12 seconds to 8 seconds
Developer Comments: To help Orisa maintain the front line for her team, we’re reducing the cooldown of her Protective Barrier. This change also helps her reposition the barrier more easily when needed. To compensate for this new defensive strength, we're reducing her Fusion Driver's damage, as it felt too high.
- Wraith Form
- Ammo is now entirely refilled when Wraith Form is used
Developer Comments: Wraith Form is typically used as an escape ability after firing. This change gives Reaper a fighting chance if an enemy chases him down as he uses it.
- Effective height has been lowered from 3 meters to 2 meters
- The height threshold of objects that Earthshatter can "climb" has been lowered from 3 meters to 2 meters, making Earthshatter less likely to climb tall objects as it moves along the ground.
Developer Comments: Earthshatter tended to climb unexpectedly high, frequently hitting targets that were significantly above the ground. These changes help the ability stay more grounded.
- Heavy Pulse Rifle
- Bullet damage decreased from 20 to 19
Developer Comments: Soldier: 76 is in a much better place lately, but his damage output was making him a must pick, compared to similar roles.
USER INTERFACE UPDATES
- Your final blows are now highlighted by a white background in the Kill Feed
- Added new Kill Feed icons for environmental kills and a number of abilities
- Heroes resurrected by Mercy are now are now highlighted and color-coded in the Kill Feed
- Certain types of assists, like McCree’s Flashbang or Zenyatta’s Orb of Discord, now show up in the Kill Feed
- New Controller option: Force Keyboard/Mouse User Interface
Developer Comments: When PC players switch from using the Keyboard/Mouse to a game controller, the game’s user interface is dynamically updated to the console/controller version. Additionally, the button layout on many heroes (like Hanzo, Zenyatta, and Mercy) is different on console. In the past, when a player chose to play using a controller and a mouse, the UI would constantly switch, depending on which device was sending information to the game. This new option allows players to set a default user interface if they choose to use a controller along with a keyboard/mouse.
- Fixed an issue that prevented voice lines from being heard during the Play of the Game
- Fixed an issue causing shields to display the wrong team color during the Play of the Game
- Fixed a bug that caused high resolution screenshot captures to have visual issues
- Fixed a bug causing the introduction before 1v1 Mystery Duels to be interrupted
- [PS4] Fixed a bug that allowed the edge of the skybox to be seen on some Capture the Flag maps
- Fixed an issue causing parties to be split between teams when joining a Custom Game as a group
- Fixed an audio bug in Elimination games that could cause the end of round music to end abruptly
- Fixed a bug in Custom games that caused parties to be evenly split between teams when they joined as a group
- Fixed a bug that allowed bots to become stuck around the well on Ilios
Custom Game Browser
- A scroll bar has been added to the custom games settings window so players can see all changes if they extend below the screen
- Disabling Primary Fire will no longer disable secondary weapons for Mercy, D.Va, and Torbjorn
- Fixed a bug that prevented the cooldown modifier from functioning for Ana’s Sleep Dart
- Fixed a bug that caused some weapons to stop playing sound effects when “No Ammunition Requirement” was used
- Fixed a bug that caused parties to be split up between teams when joining a custom game
- Fixed an issue that could prevent the 30 and 60-second audio callouts from being played at the end of a match
- Fixed a bug that prevented players from grouping based on skill rating restrictions during the off season
- Fixed a bug that caused Lúcio’s healing and speed song auras to be inaccurately projected
- Fixed a bug that prevented Discord Orb from being removed when Mercy uses her Resurrect Ultimate
- Fixed a bug that prevented Orisa’s Fortify from blocking the alternate fire from Lúcio’s Sonic Amplifier
- Fixed a bug that prevented Roadhog's hook from pulling enemies into the reticle when the target was on higher ground
- Fixed a bug that prevented Orisa’s Protective Barrier from deploying in certain situations
- Fixed an issue that affected some graphics cards, causing an inaccurate ammo count to be displayed with Pharah’s Mechaqueen and Raptorion skins equipped
- Fixed a bug that could prevent two charging Reinhardts from being able to kill each other
- Fixed a bug that allowed Reinhardt to damage himself twice when charging a Fortified Orisa
- [XB1/PS4] Fixed a bug that caused Strike Commander Morrison’s coat to clip through his legs during the Push-ups emote
- Fixed a bug that prevented Winston’s Primal Rage ultimate from restoring his health when hit by Ana’s Biotic Grenade
- Fixed a bug that caused Tracer to move oddly when she first appeared in the tutorial
- Fixed an issue causing asymmetry between pillars on the Ruins capture point on Ilios
- Fixed a bug that allowed Sombra to reach unintended locations on Numbani
- Fixed a bug that allowed players to reach an unintended location on Route 66
- Fixed a bug that allowed Sombra to reach unintended locations on Watchpoint: Gibraltar