Wires crossed at Blizzard this week when the latest Overwatch 2 patch notes indicated that a deliberate feature added almost four years prior was now considered a bug.
"Fixed a bug that allowed Ashe to gain Ultimate while B.O.B was active," reads the official patch notes for Overwatch 2's upcoming Season 4 update.
The change is a single bullet point among dozens of other minor fixes in the patch, but Overwatch Redditors were quick to notice that this "bug" actually contradicts a 2019 Overwatch patch that deliberately let Ashe build ultimate charge while B.O.B is active, citing the exact opposite behavior as a bug:
"Fixed a bug where Ashe wasn't gaining ultimate charge while B.O.B. existed," reads the 2019 patch.
So was this a bug or a balancing adjustment? 2023 Blizzard seems a little confused about the origins of the feature, or else prefers it be removed from Overwatch in its current form.
Reactions to the discovery have been a mix of gracious and critical, with some fans feeling their confidence in Blizzard's balancing team shaken by the small mixup.
"How are they this unaware of the state of their own game? What's going on in the Overwatch balance team that they don't even know what heroes do, and have done for years?" reads an Overwatch Reddit post by runawaylemon currently topping the forum.
An overreaction, if you ask me and user PurpsMaSquirt, who put it elegantly in their response: "We’re talking about a deep nuanced [change] related to one hero’s ult charge nearly four years ago. And in that same timeframe the balance team’s philosophy with ults has shifted. I think this is super nitpicky and not an actual big deal."
It's natural for skeptics to see this mixup as validation of perceived incompetence, but I reckon the reality is more boring. Maintaining a single canonical record of alterations to a project touched by hundreds of hands and updated as many times over seven years sounds like a logistical nightmare. Normal staff turnover (or in Blizzard's case, abnormally high turnover spurred by a toxic work culture) tends to create gaps of forgotten history that can lead to occasional inconsistency. Blizzard has yet to officially acknowledge or correct the not-bug fix.
I'd wager this happens fairly regularly in years-old online games, but players simply don't notice or the changes go unreported in patch notes. Still, it's a funny mistake. Unless you're an Ashe player…