Update [7/1/2021]: The experimental patch testing the nerf to hitscan heroes is now live on retail servers
The Overwatch developers introduced a global nerf to Overwatch's hitscan heroes in their latest patch that was released on Thursday. The change will make hitscan heroes more limited in their effective range by adjusting their damage falloff across the board. Additionally, they pushed buffs for Bastion, Soldier 76, and Widowmaker, as well as a nerf to D.Va's Mech Call ability.
Overwatch developers introduce nerf hitscan damage
Hitscan damage will now scale to 30% at the heroes falloff range, which is down from the previous 50%. This 20% damage reduction at long range will affect Ashe, Baptiste, Bastion, McCree, Soldier: 76, Widowmaker, and Wrecking Ball. Post-patch, all hitscan heroes will be worse at long range than they were before, so this is a pretty significant blow to hitscan mains.
The developers discussed the new change in the patch notes, saying, "This change may be difficult to notice immediately as it scales damage over a range slightly more than before, but it will lower the impact of hitscan damage outside of their intended optimal ranges."
Other hero changes in July 1st patch
Bastion's weapon spread when in his Recon mode was reduced from 1.5 to 1.2. This will make his long and medium-range damage more accurate in his mobile state and has the potential to significantly improve Bastion's versatility as a hero.
D.Va received a slight nerf to her mech call. Its effective damage area was reduced from 3 meters to 2.5 meters and the charge for her mech call ability will no longer be buildable until the mech detonates. This change rolls back the power level of D.Va's new high damage mech call, while keeping the fundamental mechanics and intention behind the recent buff.
While Soldier: 76 received the global nerf to his damage fall off, his damage falloff will now be disabled completely while he is using his Tactical Visor ultimate ability. This is a much-needed buff to Solider's ultimate ability, which has been unquestionably underpowered for some time now. The developers explained, "This will make Tactical Visor effective for more than just the aim assist, which slightly loses some value as player aim improves."
The final change is included in the new patch is an adjustment to Widowmaker's optimal range. They are moving her damage fall-off range from 60-85 meters to 70-100 meters. This will make Widowmaker more effective at longer ranges.
"We're adjusting Widowmaker's optimal range to be slightly further out to account for some map locations where counter-sniping was common but just barely outside of the effective range with the damage falloff," the developers wrote in the patch notes. "For Widowmaker, the sniping damage falloff is mainly in place to restrict the lethality of mid-air grapple shots at the extreme distances possible on some maps."
This is the largest nerf to Hitscan in the history of Overwatch. Not only will it leave most hitscan characters, other than Widow, worse off than they were before, it will also make it harder to answer characters like Echo and Pharah. So it is very likely we will see a resurgence of Pharah, Echo, Doomfist, and projectile heroes in the near future.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.