We examine the latest hero tweaks on the PTR and give our impressions of the so-called buffs and nerfs.
Having played around on the PTR, we’ve brought together our thoughts and opinions on the three heroes facing tweaks: Roadhog, McCree and Reaper. Once again, Blizzard is attempting to find the sweet spot for the tank without stripping him of his identity, while also trying to nudge Reaper and McCree back into the competitive fold.
The community’s reaction to the changes on the PTR have been strong and – in our humble opinion – a little too quick to pass judgement. We’ll argue that Reaper’s buffs aren’t all that they seem, Roadhog’s nerfs aren’t necessarily nerfs, and that we’ll definitely see more of McCree in the upper tiers of competitive play.
- Head hitbox size reduced by 20%
- Scrap Gun Bullet damage decreased by 33%
- Fire rate increased by 30%
- Clip size increased from 4 to 5.
There’s been a huge reaction to Roadhog’s changes in particular, and most of it has been pretty negative. Much of that seems to be because he’s no longer a tank with the ability to one-shot everyone anymore.
If you missed hooks and your scrap shots before the changes then you’d be a ghost presence on your team, and a character contributing very little. Conversely, if you get your moves right he’s a hero who can wipe an entire team by himself.
In his current iteration, going solo as Roadhog and flanking the enemy looking for hooks simply doesn’t work – he now shines when fighting alongside his team. Don’t get us wrong, he’s still able to deal great amounts of damage with his hook combo, but it’s now more of a utility tool that puts the enemy in a vulnerable position, as opposed to getting one-shot by his scrap gun.
The increased number of shots and shot speed also plays into his hands in extended team fights. He’s able to put out more damage, more reliably, over a longer period of time. In many ways, he feels more like a tank should feel, rather than an offense hero disguised as a tank.
Roadhog’s changes will open up opportunities for other heroes to shine (D.Va in particular), although we can’t help but feel that his new and improved shot speed feels a little contrary to his character design. He’s doesn’t feel like a lumbering heap of exposed flesh with immensely powerful abilities anymore. Instead, he’s a weird mix of heavy and rapid-firing – something we’ll have to get used to.
Perhaps this is because we’ve become attached to Roadhog’s previously overpowered kit. It’s sad to see it go, but it’s also a step towards putting him firmly in the tank bracket.
- His health orbs are gone, and he now regains 20% of all damage done to heroes as health.
We’ve seen a lot of knee-jerk reactions to Reaper’s changes, and all of them say he’s going to waltz into the meta and become some unstoppable, invincible, tank-shredding menace. Let’s just say that we’re not completely convinced ourselves.
Reaper’s now able to recover health with his shotgun pellets, as opposed to scavenging orbs from corpses he’s left in his wake. Thing is, he used to recover more health from eliminating vulnerable damage dealers and healers the old fashioned way.
With added power against tanks, Reaper might see some more play, especially with some of the Roadhog changes being tested out simultaneously. The trouble is, you don’t get much value for attacking vulnerable targets anymore. This means that other, more versatile offense heroes are better picks in the grand scheme of things.
In our humble opinion, we reckon Reaper hasn’t aged well, with a design that’s pretty outdated when you compare it to some of the other heroes in the roster. He suffers from a distinct lack of mobility, which means he can’t keep up with the action. His shots can easily be dodged or even lack impact against tanks – take DV.a’s Defense Matrix, or Winston’s Jetpack abilities as prime examples. Other heroes have too many tools to escape him or at least nullify most of his damage output.
The main positive we can draw from Reaper’s changes is the major buff to his Death Blossom. With his tweaked passive, he’s going to be difficult to take down when he’s twirling and simultaneously life-stealing like crazy.
With all this in mind, we reckon Reaper will gain a small increase in pick rate, but still remain a fairly niche pick.
- Targets now begin locking on after 0.2 seconds, instead of 0.8 seconds.
- Damage accumulated over the first 1.0 seconds increased from 20 to 80 (damage per second after the first 1.0 seconds is unchanged)
McCree’s Deadeye now feels truer to his character design. Popping his Ultimate always felt like committing yourself to an inevitable death, but the changes make it feel like you’re actually embodying a legend from the Wild West – one that’s finally able to devastate multiple targets with one lightning fast quickdraw.
Funny thing is, it’s not even overpowered. In many ways it’s just the change he needed, as it doesn’t necessarily make him any easier to play. If you weren’t great at him before, his new Ultimate isn’t really going to change anything for you.
McCree’s high skill-ceiling centres around having exceptional aiming skills, and his Ultimate doesn’t lower this in any way. Instead, it’s what Blizzard would call a ‘quality of life’ change that gives his Ultimate a little boost in versatility, making it a more useful tool in almost every way.
Before these changes, you’d be lucky not to get killed while channelling his Deadeye. Or you’d just end up saving it for the perfect six-man team wipe that would never happen. Now it feels like you’re being encouraged to use it more, whether it’s only to catch one or two targets, or zone the enemy off an objective briefly. You’re able to use it in more situations and it’s not always going to waste!
We believe that McCree’s pick rate will see a fair increase if his changes make it to the live servers. The impact he’ll have on teams will still depend on the skill of the player though, so if anything, these changes will reward those who are already decent at him.
Will he take over Soldier:76’s spot as reigning hit-scanner? With Soldier:76’s recent decrease in damage we reckon McCree will be a better offensive option due to his increased firepower overall. But his vulnerability and lack of self-healing makes him a less appealing defensive option overall.