That big Overwatch update you may be downloading this very instant means that the hamster hero Wrecking Ball is off the PTR and rolling loose on live servers. Today's update also makes significant changes to Sombra, who can now take advantage of limitless stealth, nerfs Hanzo, and decreases weapon damage falloff for some characters, which translates into a buff for McCree.
Wrecking Ball is obviously the big attraction here: Lead animator Ryan Denniston talked in the patch notes about the evolution of the character from concept to today, saying that the sentient rodent in the mechanical murder-ball went through multiple "personality iterations" before Blizzard locked him down.
"At first, we made him maniacal, but he felt too evil, so we tried instead to highlight the difference between Hammond the critter—cute, cuddly, mischievous—and the Wrecking Ball mech—powerful, imposing, cold, and impersonal," Denniston explained. "Our eureka moment was nailing his 'Relaxed' emote; I feel like it captures Hammond’s character and personality perfectly. He exudes confidence with the way he shifts his weight in the seat to get comfortable, then throws a cheese puff into the air and catches it in his mouth. After seeing it, we knew we has something special."
In non-hamster news, Hanzo has been toned down slightly after Blizzard determined that his new kit was a little too powerful. As a result, his Storm Arrows duration has been reduced slightly, from six seconds to five, and the cooldown has been increased from eight to ten seconds.
Sombra has also been adjusted to make her more effective as a behind-the-lines scout: Her stealth ability is now indefinite and her enemy detection radius has been doubled, from two meters to four, but she cannot take objectives while invisible, and her movement speed buff has been cut from 70 percent to 50 percent. Her translocator beacon will also last indefinitely following the update.
Bastion, McCree, and Soldier 76 have all had their minimum damage at maximum range boosted from 30 percent to 50 percent, enabling them to hit a little harder, a little sooner, and the secondary fire on Mei's endothermic blaster now has no damage falloff. Widowmaker's 'Widow's Kiss' rifle now has 50 percent maximum range damage falloff applied to its primary automatic fire, however.
Blizzard has also reduced the amount of time allowed to capture points on Assault Maps in Quickplay and the Arcade, from five minutes to four, which will also reduce the overall game time. "In some games, Point A would be captured rather quickly resulting in what could be lengthy battle over Point B. Point B is typically more defendable than Point A and, in some games, defenders were able to hold for the entire duration of remaining time which could potentially be 8 minutes or more," the developer notes state.
"We felt that in these instances the overall time was simply too long for either team, with attackers unable to take the point and defenders having to hold. The reduction in time is now consistent with the Competitive Play times which provides an ample amount of time for both attackers and defenders, but hopefully removes the occasional game where it feels like you are playing against the timer and not the other team."
The full rundown of fixes, tweaks, and other changes is up at playoverwatch.com.