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Overwatch's latest experimental mode is weirder than it's ever been before

Roadhog and Genji can fly, sort of

Last year, Overwatch introduced an experimental mode that Blizzard have mostly used to test potential balance changes, and show players what the devs have been messing around with internally. They tend to be fairly minor tweaks, and there hasn't been an experimental update in a little while. But last night we finally got a new one, and from what I've played it's full of daft and fun tweaks. Prepare yourselves for flying Roadhogs and Genjis, nanoboosted Anas, and a handful of wonderfully-timed voicelines.

You can look at the full experimental patch notes here, which detail changes to every character's kit. The ideas for each tweak were thought up by a bunch of Overwatch content creators, and most of them are rather over the top.

The first fun (and festive) change is to Orisa, who now has only one health point, but 399 armour to compensate. She isn't slowed down by shooting, so can just walk straight at people at regular speed while firing her giant arm gun. Also, she's wearing a santa hat.

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I jumped into a match to have a go of Roadhog's best change, because I just had to see if I could get him airborne. When using his ultimate, shooting downwards lifts him up. Honestly, it didn't look that great from my perspective, but the kill cam of this Orisa shooting at me as I rose to the sky was worth it.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to play as Genji to try out his tweaked jumping abilities, but you can catch the enemy Genji in the gif below simply never touching the ground (look out for him gliding across rooftops in the top left). Blizzard have made it so when he climbs a wall, it resets the cooldown on his double jump. He just, never comes down. I caught a couple players in text chat talking about how broken it is. And yes. Please, never let Genji do this for real.

Other highlights for me include Sigma, who now says, "Yes", everytime he throws a rock at someone, and Reinhardt who says, "You shame yourself", when you manage to block an enemy Rein's ult. Cassidy spawns an unusual number of tumbleweeds during his ult, rather than just the one. Hanzo's storm arrows ricochet off of walls, a lovely throwback to his much-disliked scatter arrows. And to top it all off, when Mercy's ultimate gets extended by three seconds every time she gets a killing blow. I think they should keep that one for realsies, let players have the battle Mercy they've always dreamed of.

Every single hero has received some sort of weird and wonderful change, so I highly recommend reading through them (or playing, that's the best way to see). I'm glad Bliz are using the experimental mode like this, previous tests have been kinda boring (except that old triple damage one), but it's an excellent playing ground for daft fun. The patch notes suggest that more creators will be deciding on future experimental stuff too, so I look forward to seeing what they come up with. Can we give Torbjorn a hammer the size of Reinhardt's? Or perhaps let Widow's grappling hook grab players to draw them in like Roadhog?

When talking about games published by Activision Blizzard, it's worth noting that the company has been investigated by several parties unearthing claims of sexual harrassment and discrimination. Most recently, employees have called for CEO Bobby Kotick to be removed after a Wall Street Journal report brought new allegations to light.

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About the Author
Imogen Beckhelling avatar

Imogen Beckhelling

Former News Reporter

Imogen is a lore enthusiast and lover of all the fun shenanigans game communities get up to. She spends too much time playing Overwatch, and not enough time having interests that aren't to do with video games.