The temptation when writing about these patch notes for Overwatch [official site] is not to write about the actual patch notes but to dance around the room shouting “IN YOUR FACE, MCCREE, YOU TURBOJERK”.
The notes detail nerfs to both Western-themed McCree and sniper character Widowmaker. The intention is to stop the characters – McCree in particular – from feeling like all-purpose must-pick heroes due to their strengths.
The McCree changes were on the table for a while as the combination of his flashbang grenade followed up with his alternate fire mode (Fan The Hammer) which unloads his remaining rounds as a burst was, frankly, OP. It was supposed to be good against squishy characters like Tracer but it was also taking out tanks.
Principal designer, Geoff Goodman noted a couple of weeks back that “[McCree’s Flashbang/Fan The Hammer combo] is probably a bit too good at dealing damage to higher health targets such as Tanks and barriers. I don’t have any concrete changes yet, but I’m going to be testing some things internally to see how he plays.”
The new patch makes some changes to Fan The Hammer decreasing the time before McCree starts reloading BUT almost halving the bullet damage, taking it from 70 to 45.
As per the developer comments:
“McCree was performing too well against all targets, making him feel like a must-pick in many situations. By reducing the damage of his alternate fire, McCree is now significantly weaker against tanks like Roadhog and Reinhardt, but still maintains his lethality against smaller targets like Tracer and Genji.”
The changes to Widowmaker also concern her alternate fire mode which is the scoped shot that’s key to sniping enemies. The changes reduce the base damage but increase the headshot damage multiplyer from x2 to x2.5. The idea here is to keep the danger for those accurate headshots, but reduce the damage for body shots. Essentially it’s about rewarding that pinpoint accuracy in sniper players.
Her ultimate also has a slight nerf in that it takes 10% longer to charge. If you don’t know the character well, her ultimate is Infra-sight which is the one which lets Widowmaker and her allies see heat signatures of enemies through walls. The point of this nerf is that, given it lets you all see where your enemy is it’s pretty strong, so having it charge up so fast was giving a lot of information, and therefore potential advantage to the players on that side. Giving access to Infra-sight less often means you get less access to that hugely impactful info.
Here’s the full text of the notes if you fancy reading through. I’m sad that no-one has nerfed Mei into the ocean yet, though.
HERO BALANCE CHANGES
– Peacekeeper – Alternate Fire
Recovery time (i.e. the amount of time before McCree starts reloading) decreased from 0.75 seconds to 0.3 seconds
Bullet damage decreased from 70 to 45
Developer Comments: McCree was performing too well against all targets, making him feel like a must-pick in many situations. By reducing the damage of his alternate fire, McCree is now significantly weaker against tanks like Roadhog and Reinhardt, but still maintains his lethality against smaller targets like Tracer and Genji.
– Widow’s Kiss – Alternate Fire (Scoped Shot)
Base damage decreased from 15 to 12
Note: Scoped shot damage multiplier remains unchanged
Headshot damage multiplier increased from 2x to 2.5x
Players must now wait for the unscoping animation to completely finish before scoping
Ultimate cost increased by 10%
Developer Comments: In the right hands, Widowmaker can often feel unstoppable—even when just landing body shots instead of critical heads shots. The changes to her alternate fire weaken body shot damage while leaving her headshot damage unchanged. Additionally, we felt her Ultimate ability, Infra-Sight, was coming up a little too frequently, especially considering its impact on the game.
– Improved stability of the High Bandwidth option in Custom Games
– Fixed a bug that allowed Mercy to gain Ultimate charge whenever damage boosting an ally who was attacking a barrier or Ice Wall
– Fixed a bug that allowed Reaper to Shadow Step to unintended locations on certain maps
– Fixed an issue with collision on certain areas of Dorado not blocking line of sight