The Overwatch developers released a new retail patch on Thursday, in which they pushed the changes from the recent experimental patch that buffed Sigma's Barrier, Pharah's Movement, and Genji's fire rate, among other things. While many of the adjustments were relatively minor, the new changes could usher in higher pick rates for both Genji and Sigma.
Hero balance changes:
Genji had his Shuriken recovery time lowered by about 9%, from .75 to .68. The increased fire rate should make Genji more viable in the meta since he will now deal primary damage faster. His ultimate cost was increased by 15%, so the new change won't increase the rate at which Genji's charge's his ultimate even though he will deal more damage overall.
The cooldown on Sigma's Experimental Barrier was reduced from 2.5 to 2.0 seconds. His barrier cooldown was changed from 1 second to 2 seconds in January, which was a significant nerf to the ability that was designed to increase the counter-play to Sigma's shield. Thursday's change takes Sigma's barrier cooldown to a comfortable middle ground.
Mei received a buff to her Cryo-Freeze ability in the new patch. She will now heal at the rate of 50 healing-per-second instead of 37.5.
This brings the total healing of Cryo-Freeze up to 200 from 150. According to the developer notes, the adjustment to Cryo-Freeze will help balance out a change they made a while ago that made is so that Mei couldn't be targeted by allies with healing abilities while in her iceblock form.
Pharah's Jet regeneration rate was increased from 35 to 43. This adjustment should help Pharah stay in the air slightly longer. Echo has been the clearly superior choice over Pharah lately, to the point where Pharah has been arguably the least useful DPS hero in the game over the past few months. This change will make her movement slightly better, though it remains to be seen if this will actually make Pharah more viable.
Reaper's damage per projectile from his Hellfire Shotgun was increased from 5.5 to 6. This increases his max body shot damage from 110 to 120, so it's not a huge adjustment when all is said and done.
The change is meant to give reaper a little bit of his damage back after a recent patch adjusted Reaper's damage model and damage-at-range to make him more effective from farther away. The change had a larger negative impact on the hero than was intended. Thursday's adjustment should help bring his damage back into balance.
Zarya had her energy drain rate increased from 1.6 to 1.8 per second. This won't affect Zarya's in-combat abilities or charge, but it will cause more decay of her energy charge between fights. While this nerf is notable, it will have a minor impact on the gameplay of most Zarya players.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.