When Cassidy pops his Deadeye ultimate, starts glowing orange, and yells "It's high noon," my seven years of experience playing Overwatch tell me to run for my life. But, according to Overwatch 2 scientist Marblr, the cowboy's ult isn't as threatening as it might seem.
Marblr breaks down several glaring problems with Cassidy's ultimate in their latest video: Cassidy's ult is supposed to lock onto targets (indicated by a closing red circle and skull) and fire at all of them when you pull the trigger. Walls and shields can block your bullets, but if enemies are out in the open, they're supposed to get hit. And yet sometimes, Cassidy misses.
For a long time, nobody could explain why Cassidy's ult sometimes fails to hit enemies who definitely should've been toast. There are plenty of videos out there of Mercy inexplicably parrying a Deadeye shot without taking any damage and other heroes living through the ultimate despite being in clear line-of-sight of Cassidy.
Marblr spent two weeks testing Cassidy's ult with Overwatch's included workshop tools and found that hero models and latency are the primary culprits for Cassidy's shaky aim.
Apparently, Cassidy's ult checks if enemies are in his line-of-sight by looking for "hardpoints," or specific points on a character model placed by the developers. Deadeye looks for two hardpoints on their chest and then one on their lower half to confirm a target is exposed enough to lock on. The problem comes from the fact that, when Cassidy shoots, the bullet always travels to a hardpoint on the chest, not the head, legs, or arms.
All of this means that it's possible to successfully lock onto an enemy in your vision and miss because the hardpoint on their chest is blocked by an object. With all of the lampposts, signage, and chest-high pieces of cover in Overwatch 2 maps, this can happen quite often.
There's also very clearly a bug with the way Deadeye checks for the location of that chest-level hardpoint. Some heroes, like Junkrat and Ana, slouch lower in their in-game pose than the default T-pose used for rigging characters. Currently, Cassidy's ult checks for their hardpoints as if they're in a straight T-pose (not their actual slouched location) and adjusts the moment you fire. And for some reason, the location of the hardpoint is maintained until the next time you ult, which not only causes you to miss, but adds inconsistency.
Marblr didn't figure out the exact reason for why Mercy and other heroes who change their pose when using abilities can cause Deadeye to miss, but it has something to do with hardpoints and latency. A Mercy in mid-flight or a hero knocked down by Reinhardt's Earthshatter have a window of time based on the Cassidy players' latency to be successfully shot. "The fact that your network condition determines whether or not Deadeye hits makes this truly bizarre and, to be honest, I'm not certain what's going on," Marblr said.
Cassidy's ult does have one consistent function though: it reloads his revolver faster than the normal reload animation if you immediately cancel it. Catch me on Route 66, popping Deadeye for another six shots to miss on the Tracer in my backline.