Director's Take – Hero Balance Preview for Overwatch 2: Invasion
There is a lot coming to the game in Overwatch 2: Invasion. We've talked about the new Story Missions, the Event Mission, our new game mode Flashpoint, the new Hero Progression System, as well as Hero Mastery Missions… and we'll be talking about our newest Support Hero soon. On top of these new additions, there are also a lot of changes coming to our current heroes next season. Nearly half of our heroes are getting balance changes. I won't go over every change in the season here—they'll all be in the patch notes—but I'll go over some of the larger ones.
But two quick bits first.
There was a lesson in the Lifeweaver release where our newest hero was interesting, but just wasn’t strong enough on release, and we don’t want to repeat that. For Overwatch 2: Invasion, our aim is to have our newest hero be exciting and impactful on day 1. It’s not our intent to release a hero that’s way overpowered, but we’d prefer that people play her because she brings value, not just because she’s new. We will be watching her very closely, listening to player feedback, and will make early changes if necessary.
We’re making a change to the way we calculate damage against armor. Armor damage reduction is now additive with other sources of damage reduction and respects the current cap of 50%. It used to be multiplicative with damage reduction from abilities, creating situations where certain heroes were much more difficult to damage than intended since they were bypassing the damage reduction cap. This shouldn’t be a big change and will mostly affect Ramattra and Orisa.
Ok. On to balance.
One of the themes for balance changes this season is reacting to some of our recent tuning tweaks. We made several changes to Cassidy's Magnetic Grenade this season, and going forward, we'll be refining it in to address some of the extremes of the ability. Its maximum range will shorten quite a bit with a 1.5-second max travel time. Cassidy will also get a health buff and some changes to his damage falloff. We're happy with the power of Torbjorn's turrets following this season's change, but we’d like to increase the damage potential of his primary fire, which will be getting a faster fire rate. We’re also speeding up his weapon swap so that he’s more effective at keeping his turret up. Soldier:76 got quite a buff in Season 5. We don't think he's oppressive, but there's room to lower his damage output. We'll be reducing the damage on his Helix Rocket and slightly increasing the cost of his Ult. Lastly, we're continuing to make changes to Orisa. Her Fortify ability will now grant 125 bonus health, and the start of her damage falloff will be slightly extended. We wanted to see how much the midseason changes would bring her up before the armor/damage reduction hit and think she needs a bit more to compensate.
While we’re releasing a new Support in Invasion, we're also making quite a few changes to our current Support heroes. We're continuing to focus on Lifeweaver: we think he's in a much better state now than at his launch but would like to focus on two aspects of his kit - giving his Ult more impact and giving Lifeweaver himself more survivability. Part of Tree of Life's healing will now be converted into Overhealth, up to a maximum of 100 health per player. He will also get added survivability by converting some of his health to shields and upping the amount of healing done by Rejuvenating Dash.
We're also making some changes to Kiriko's Protection Suzu. It will now heal slightly less, but when it cleanses a negative effect, it will do an additional burst of healing. The slight knockback on Suzu is also being removed. We’d like this ability to feel more pointed, we don’t want players to feel like they have to hold it, and would like to reward them more for using it situationally.
We are planning tweaks for several of our other Support heroes, but the last one I'll go over here is a reduction in Mercy's damage boost. It won't be a lot - we'll be reducing it from 30% to 25%. At this value, we feel that the ability will still feel effective while giving us room to rein in certain damage spikes. We're aware this is a contentious topic and are doing our best to be receptive to the various community opinions.
There are a few other notable mentions. Sombra has a few small changes coming next season, but in Season 7, she'll debut her larger rework - complete with a new ability! Ramattra and Doomfist's blocks will now reduce stuck damage and we’re making changes to Bastion’s kit to help him feel more fluid and increase the potential for his Tactical Grenade.
All of this, as well as the rest of Overwatch 2: Invasion, goes live on August 10. I can't wait and hope to see you all in-game. Till next time!