Wattson is finally getting some balance changes in Season 11, in response to the many complaints from players that she is underpowered, though the changes are not a straight buff so much as a rework to her kit.
Despite many players finding Wattson's kit to feel underpowered, her actual win rates are pretty solid according to the patch notes, so the developers decided to rework her, with a few nerfs balancing out the buffs. According to the devs, their goal is to 'redistribute her invisible power' into more active parts of her kit.
Let's start with the nerfs. First and foremost, Wattson will be easier to hit now. They have expanded her hitbox size across the board, making it so she no longer has a much of a hitbox advantage. Before the change, Wattson had the smallest hitbox in the game, post-change her hitbox is pretty similar to Lifeline's now.
In exchange for the nerf to her hitbox, Wattson had her tactical and ultimate abilities reworked.
Her tactical perimeter fence received the following changes:
- Damage crossing fence now deals 20 damage instead of 15
- The duration of the debuff was doubled from 1.5 seconds to 3 seconds
- The recharge time on her fences was decreased from 30 to 15 seconds
- The time allowance to be hit again by a Fence effect was increased from .5 to 1 second
- The delay between fences shutting off and reactivating due to an ally passing through was decreased by to .4 seconds from 1 second
- Wattson's movement speed while placing fences was increased
- Fence nodes can now be placed immediately instead of awaiting for the animation
Her ultimate ability Interception Pylon was also significantly reworked in Season 11, though the Pylon changes are not all good news to seasoned Wattson players. The Pylon ability received the following changes:
- They reduced the number of active Pylons Wattson can place down to only one (down from three)
- The Pylon no longer times out after 90 seconds
- The Pylon now has a pool of 250 shields that can be distributed to nearby players, instead of infinite shields
- The Pylon recharge rate was increased by 150%
- After the Pylon runs out of shields, it will continue to "zap" incoming ordnances
- Ordnances will only be zapped when they are set to land in range and line of sight of the pylon now
- The Pylon should now be more reliable for zapping things like airstrike abilities
This significantly alters the frequency of Pylon usage and the role the Pylon will play moving forward. It will be interesting to see how the community reacts to these changes.
Genearlly speaking, the rework should translate into a more reliable, more active use of both Wattson's tactical and ultimate ability in Apex Legends season 11. Time will tell if it's enough to increase her pick-rate or not.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.