Hello, heroes! I hope you were having fun with the last few updates, because the time has come for Blizzard to implement more on the PTR server! For this update, Blizzard has taken the time to change some interface as well as test balances in relation to four of the characters!
Jeff Kaplan has come to his audience again with an aesthetically pleasing update. Players will be able to bind more than just one voice line, spray, and emote with these new adjustments to the emote wheel! Playing a new character? Like to express how much fun you’re having? Now you don’t have to worry about switching out one repeatedly!

Players can access the menu through the L/R mouse buttons, and can alter their keybinds to have different accessories latched onto different buttons. How cool is that?!

*Unlike the voice lines, sprays are still subject to only one at a time on the field. They’re easier to access though!

Kaplan has taken into consideration the players pleas to force people into voice chat while putting a bit of a spin onto the request. Kaplan never wants to make the community feel pressured to join the voice chat during a game, but rather allow them to accept or reject the opportunity. As a result, this neat little “Join Team Chat” button can be found when selecting a hero prior to the game beginning!

 

Outside of the mechanical updates lies the heroes that have been selected to be balance for future games: Roadhog, D. Va, Ana, and Sombra – with Roadhog and Ana, in my opinion, getting hit the hardest out of the entire update.

Sombra’s changes weren’t anything too heavy of impact; with her time for hacking reduced from 1.0 to 0.8 seconds. Developers have said that the intention was to ensure that players who have a hard time hacking can get a grip on her abilities a little better than they could before.

D.Va was also a character who had slight adjustments come into play: less armor, more HP, and bullet amounts both decreased and increased simultaneously. She now has 400 HP and only 200 Armor, still totalling to a combined 600. D.Va’s Fusion Cannons have also been updated, with the bullet damage decreased from 3 to 2, while the number of bullets fired per round have increased from 8 to 11! The developers changed D.Va in hopes of making her balanced enough for harder-hitting characters to have a chance to take her down, but still allowing her to remain a viable pick.

In my opinion, Ana and Roadhog were the two characters that received major tweaking to make gameplay seem fair. For example, Ana’s Biotic Grenade could heal (and, in some ways, overheal) most of the characters – now it cannot. With her healing boost reduced by half, I’m starting to wonder how Ana will fare in competitive mode and I wonder what Ana players will do to make up for that drastic change.

Last but not least, a lot of Roadhog’s major mechanics were altered this update. The developers have tinkered with the Hog’s hooking capabilities. Roadhog’s hook now lies in character positioning; he can only pull players to face him directly rather than towards him, no longer subjecting the enemy team to being tugged around the corner. Alongside this adjustment comes the ability for players to escape Roadhog’s hook, but this can only happen if they run away from him in time before they’re pulled. They have made the hook much more line-of-sight based, and I feel that it’s something people are going to have to adjust to… though I don’t think it’ll be long beforehand.

D.Va’s needed a little bit of a change, and perhaps Sombra too – but my question still lies in Ana and Roadhog’s capabilities. I’ve heard praise about both of these characters, but I’ve also heard several complaints about them. If anything, where does Ana stand on a team now that she can’t heal as much as she did before? Is it detrimental? Will there be a sudden rise or drop in Roadhog players now that his hook has been adjusted? I can’t wait until these updates go live, particularly because I want to see how competitive teams that utilize her will fare in keeping their team up and in the fight!
Jeff Kaplan has hinted at a little more for future updates in the Developer Blog linked below, and the PTR patch notes were posted earlier today by Blizzard!

 

Again, these updates are out on the PTR, so what are you waiting for?! Go out and get ‘em, heroes; fight the good fight!

 

*Thank you to Anzu for providing the screenshots of the new additions to the interface!

Robyn Urbina
I'm a Junior attending university with a major in Creative Writing and a minor in Sociology. I aspire to be a fantasy author, but watching and taking note on how people interact in the world is pretty great, too! The eSports community is no different.