McCree, Widowmaker Nerfed In Overwatch Patch

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.



– 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

– Infra-Sight
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


  1. jon_hill987 says:

    It’s Hiiiiigh Time.

  2. Qsaws says:

    Widowmaker can still shoot a bit fast to my tastes.

  3. Gribbstar says:

    Widow still needs some work, although I’m glad they are taking a light approach to the balancing thus far.

    Even though the lower damage means she cant get a 1 bodyshot kill on Zen/Tracer, it’s still really easy to follow up with a second shot in no time at all due to the quick charge of the rifle.

    In addition, her close range damage needs a look. As a wallhacking long range sniper, she should be outclassed by all when they get in her face and yet she performs ridiculously well.

    • Gnoupi says:

      I don’t know, I think that her smg damage is correct. It’s below soldier’s, with a bigger spread. At least you can get next to the payload and ot be a blind sitting duck whenever a flanker comes.

      I don’t think that the smg is owerpowered for those cases when you want to get her down her sniping perch. Because for those, you’d take advantage of the element of surprise, or just use Winston/D:va and be at a clear advantage anyway.

      They did nerf the wallhacking frequency a bit.

      Making her outclassed completely at close range means you discourage all the ones who try to “get on the bloody objective point/payload” and push them to stay far, far away from the action.

      • jon_hill987 says:

        I am not sure she has much of an advantage vs Widow SMG at close range. It seems to do much more damage than you would expect. I think it is down to the fact that D.Va has a massive head hitbox in MEKA, something they should remove IMO to make her into a propper tank.

      • Gribbstar says:

        I agree completelty with not discouraging Widow’s from standing on the objective.

        Fact is though, a good Widow (at least on PC) can totally shut the enemy team down, even after her damage change. If you arent dead by the time you get to her, she can just swing away or finish you off with her assault rifle.

        I’m hoping ranked competitive mode and more coordination from teams will give a clearer picture of how she stands but as it is in casual quick play, she still dominates with ease.

        • Gnoupi says:

          But that’s mostly the thing, she can just pick targets and shoot them down fast, even faster than in a lot of other FPS (like TF2, for example).

          But this is not the same world. Here is a world of blinking and dashing enemies, a world where tanks have shields block long range shots.

          So I feel like this owerpowered effect comes mostly from the disorganized teams, with everyone running around like headless chickens.

    • QSpec says:

      I’m glad to see Zen receive an effective buff by this. He was hard to play with a decent WM floating around. Just charge a shot, hit him in the body, profit.

      I’m less glad to see Tracer receive the same effective buff. She’s got an itty bitty head, is one of the best characters in the game (that will scale with skill aka only get better), and doesn’t have many “hard” counters since her dash makes her so hard to hit.

      I do think her rifle fires too fast though for the reason you listed. Unless Zen especially is headed toward cover already, WM is just going to pop him a second time.

      I also agree that her SMG is way too damn good. Drop a mine on the ground and use the SMG and the damage adds up fast. She’s missing some of the core cheese up close (like McCree’s flashbang), but in a straight up fight, she’s as viable as any character in the game. I regularly kill non-ulted Genji who come to the backlines to kill me… and isn’t that his job? Shouldn’t he excel at it?

      Finally, I would like to offer some balance too. Part of the “problem” with WM is that she’s a sniper. Snipers are historically not fun to face (ask any full meter Medic or rampaging Heavy in TF2). Often the only counter for them is another sniper, and they do disgusting damage across the board. They are generally still balanced… but they don’t feel like it, and so people generally seem more interested in nerfs until unviability which is something we need be cautious about.

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        Widow was never meant to be a hard counter to Tracer- who actually has plenty of counters. Symmetra and Winston are the most obvious, but even post-nerf McCree is still a good anti-Tracer.

    • crazyd says:

      Almost halving the fan the hammer damage is a “light approach”? They basically completely changed a way a character can be played, turning him from a flanking attacker to a mid-range sniper that’s worse in just about every way than the existing mid-range sniper. Yeah, the Widowmaker nerf was treated much more delicately, but they just nerfed McCree into obsoleteness.

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        Psshh. The change means McCree always wins 1v1’s against 75% of the roster instead of 100%. Tanks can actually live longer than 2 seconds when a McCree walks up to them, boo freakin’ hoo.

        • crazyd says:

          Sounds to me like you’ve never played him, and are completely unaware of his many weaknesses. My problem with this is that the character’s playstyle has completely changed to be less fun, anyway. He went from a flanking attacker, to a shitty mid-range sniper that is outclassed in every way by Hanzo. He may have been OP before, but now he has no utility at all on a team.

          • Shinard says:

            He’s absolutely still a flanking attacker, just not one that can kill tanks. His Fan still deals 270 damage (theoretically, probably more like 200 on average) which is plenty to kill anything but a tank, and he can still roll for an insta-reload and Fan again. That can take out anybody reliably, apart from the tanks. Plus, hard counter to Tracer, Genji, arguably Reaper and Pharaoh – McCree’s in a fine place.

          • crazyd says:

            Except you can’t effectively flank if you have no solution to running around a corner and seeing a Tank. The other Attack characters have a way out of this scenario, but McCree does not. He has no special movement options except for a tiny roll that barely covers any distance, and it’s not like Flashbang lasts long enough to run away. Without movement abilities to handle running into a tank, and no ability to play as a counter-tank, he can’t really be an effective flanker anymore.

      • Neoviper says:

        Spotted the McSkill main.

        • crazyd says:

          I don’t “main” anyone. It’s a class based team game, and I play whatever characters are needed for the scenario. I did enjoy playing McCree as a flanking attack character, though, and am annoyed that this entire playstyle has been effectively removed from the game by this heavy handed nerf. I have no problem with them nerfing him, but think they just handled it badly, in that they 100% changed the style of playing him. He now fills the same role as Hanzo, except he’s worse in pretty much every way.

  4. kraken says:

    Wasn’t D.Va supposed to get a buff?

    • Gnoupi says:

      She is, but it’s not as clear as the McCree nerf to which direction devs will take her: more tanky, or more damage, so they said it will take more time.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      They said they want to make few changes at the same time. Which makes sense as a change to one character can affect others, of example this Widowmaker nerf may mean Zenyata does not need a buff which he otherwise would. Changing too much at one time is not a good way to balance a game, it just swings characters from one extreme to the other.

  5. Aitrus says:

    Good now they can remove Mei.

    • Premium User Badge

      Oakreef says:

      Nooo I love Mei

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      *builds ice wall around this comment*

    • QSpec says:

      She needs something… cooldown changes? Not sure, but something.

      I literally had 3 guys chasing me around the other day an though they ultimately killed me, my team had pushed an entire point. While they absolutely shouldn’t have tunneled me that hard, there’s no reason for a character to be *that* survivable.

      If Mei manages her cooldowns, she’s half invincible.

  6. MrFinnishDude says:

    McCree is actually more fun to play now.
    You can sharp-shoot things without feeling that you’re wasting your time, the reduced reload time in Fan the Hammer makes it more useful in the front lines, your Combat Roll can now be used as a maneuver technique instead of that absolutely necessary instant reload.
    Also McCree’s gameplay rewards accuracy more now, making winning as him so much more satisfying.

    • Bluestormzion says:

      The problem is that it’s the style that’s changed. I switched to McCree when it was time for a desperate holdout; I don’t enjoy trying to get headshots at mid range. I CERTAINLY don’t like that now I’m pretty much DISCOURAGED from using his Ability and Alt-Fire. It’s no longer viable. Who gives a damn that the reload is faster? Flashbang, Right Click, fail to kill the enem- aaand I’m dead. If you get it done, who cares how long it takes to reload? If you DON’T, you DIE. The End.

      Maybe he’s more fun for you… but you didn’t like the playstyle. I DID. I’ve LOST what I had. You never had it, and bam, you get a bonus.

      • Rane2k says:

        You have “lost” what you had, but what you had was not fun for a large amount of people.

        I often choose Winston, but with a McCree on the board it was often Flashbang > Dead, as its almost impossible to miss a target as large as Winston or Roadhog with Fan the Hammer if it can not move.

        That is most certainly not the way it was supposed to be.

  7. Cerulean Shaman says:

    I’m just going to leave this here…

    • Menthalion says:

      Since it’s the case with everyone’s projectiles, I don’t see what the big deal is. They can basically scale missiles vs. hitscan weapons that way.

    • Gribbstar says:

      Woah… I knew it was bad but this is a JOKE.

      • Arkayjiya says:

        The point he’s making is not entirely wrong (hitboxes are bigger than in most game of the genre) but the protocole he’s using is terrible on top of the problems like the video directly contradicting what he’s saying at one point.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      The thing is, they are the same for everyone, the best player will still win.

  8. Don Reba says:

    The temptation when writing about these patch notes for Overwatch is not to write about the actual patch notes but to dance around the room shouting “IN YOUR FACE, MCCREE, YOU TURBOJERK”.

    You can do both, Philippa!

  9. X_kot says:

    I’m sad that no-one has nerfed Mei into the ocean yet, though.

    Doesn’t Mei hard-counter luxury cruise liners, though?

  10. aircool says:

    Haven’t noticed anything different when playing with Widow. McCheese feels more balanced though.

  11. Jetsetlemming says:

    Mei is fine. Yes, she’s very difficult for new players, but so are many others, and Bastion’s worse in that regard. Mei is an important defensive counter against certain characters, Roadhog especially, that otherwise can tango with an entire team without dying because of his 600HP and fast recharging self-heal. Being able to debuff him so he can’t retreat and heal is vital unless you focus fire with multiple people.
    Mei, on the other hand, with only 250, dies faster than she can trigger her heal to Pharah, Hanzo, Junkrat, or pre-nerf McCree, and it takes a long time to recharge. She’s very effective if she sneaks up on squishy enemies or tanks who have overextended themselves, but dies very quickly if exposed. Basically a defense-focused mirror to Genji.

    For real though, if a Mei is giving you a bad day definitely switch to Pharah. Her damage is huge with knockback, and she has her secondary missile as an emergency “get TF away” button.

    • Jetsetlemming says:

      By the way, for Mei’s self heal, it’s got a set max timer and makes a sound cue before ending, and many people have gotten familiar with that. At least half my Mei deaths come from a headshot or rocket hitting me as soon as the ice breaks. Unless her team comes to the rescue during those three seconds she’s only really delayed her respawn.