We’ve known for some time that Blizzard planned some kind of overhaul for Hanzo, Overwatch‘s bow-wielding hero. Now, we know exactly what it has in store for the character, as these changes have been implemented on the PC version’s Public Test Realm, alongside the new Rialto map and other changes.
Most significantly, Hanzo’s old Scatter Arrow ability–the one that shot a bunch of arrows that would ricochet off of surfaces–is gone. It’s been replaced by Storm Arrows, which allows him to “rapidly fire up to six arrows that deal reduced damage but are always fired at full power.” He also gains the ability to leap horizontally with Lunge (by pressing the jump key/button while in mid-air), and the projectile speed of his basic attacks has been increased from 85 to 100. Finally, Sonic Arrow–which reveals enemies near its impact–can now be used more often but is less effective: Its cooldown drops to 12 seconds from 20, but its duration is only six seconds (down from 10) and its radius is seven meters (down from 10).
“The goal of these Hanzo changes is to allow him to have new options and maintain his high damage output, while removing the frustration of fighting against the old Scatter Arrow,” Blizzard explained in the full patch notes. “Hanzo is now much more mobile with his new Lunge ability, and with the combination of the bow projectile speed increase and the new Storm Arrows ability he can now deal his high damage more consistently than ever before.”
While Hanzo’s changes are by far the most extensive, he’s not the only character with some balance tweaks in this update. Lucio’s Wall Ride has been reworked; Blizzard said it’s a “huge improvement,” and it’s now less likely to be interrupted if you’re sticking to the same surface. He can also go around corners using it without leaving the wall, and it’s possible to jump away from a wall and then return to it. Additionally, Soundwave no longer consumes ammo when used.
Brigitte, the game’s newest hero, has had her Shield Bash’s cone angle reduced from 90 to 60. Blizzard said this should prevent some frustration when using it (or being hit by it), as “the ability is more accurate to its visual representation.” Junkrat sees some minor adjustments; his default attack’s projectile size has been decreased (to 0.2 from 0.3), as has the movement speed of RIP-Tire (to 12 from 13).
Genji sees a bit of a nerf involving his Deflect ability; its hitbox size has been reduced. This sounds as if it’s specifically meant to avoid deflecting projectiles that are further away from him than it should. Finally, Tracer’s Pulse Bomb max damage has been decreased from 400 to 300, making it “less powerful as a tank-destroyer, while keeping it lethal against most other heroes.”
This PTR update also makes some other bug fixes and tweaks. This is all live on the PTR right now, which you can access through Blizzard Battle.net if you own the PC version. There’s no word on when these changes will make their way to the live game, although bear in mind that these specific changes could always be tweaked further.