The Overwatch 2 balance team reflects on the first full week of Blizzard’s newest free game following its public launch on October 4. It’s been a rather rocky launch around the edges, with an Overwatch 2 free legendary skin on the way as a make-good for players following lengthy queues, an Overwatch 2 Bastion exploit that broke things in several ways, and multiple instances of OW2 server downtime. Despite that, the game itself has mostly been very well received, with players largely positive about the 5v5 gameplay and hero balance.
The team remarks that, despite the shake-up of the Overwatch 2 meta thanks to the arrival of newcomers Sojourn, Junker Queen, and Kiriko, it has “been happy to see that no hero’s overall power level is far out of line with our goals.” The blog reports that “Every hero on the roster has a win rate between 45% and 55%, and we are not planning any immediate balance changes based on what we are seeing, with the exception of a targeted adjustment to Zarya in Total Mayhem.”
As someone who’s been diving in a lot, I have to say I largely agree. There’s certainly the occasional standout, especially on particular maps, but on the whole it feels like most of the Overwatch 2 heroes are pretty viable right now. Compare that to the previous public beta and Overwatch League’s Summer Showdown, where the newly released Junker Queen “was a dominant force” that saw her top a 99% pick rate during the professional OWL matches.
Given this relatively even balance state, the team says it is instead focused on “planning to make a series of balance changes for season two [scheduled to start on December 6] that are in line with our design goal of ensuring the overall game feels balanced and fair while giving each season a more distinct identity.” Blizzard has previously suggested that it would consider making changes on a season by season basis to such ends, pointing to the new DPS role passive briefly granting increased movement and reload speed after an elimination as one such option to “shake up the meta.”
“One of the most talked about heroes on the roster right now is D.Va,” Blizzard remarks, thanks to buffs received just prior to the public launch. However, it notes that in tank terms, “Reinhardt, Sigma, and Zarya actually currently lead up the competition with an average 53% unmirrored win rate.” In particular, the team says it is “keeping a close eye on” Zarya’s ability to rapidly build energy with her new double Particle Barrier setup. On the other end of the scale, the team says it is looking to “potentially make improvements to Power Block and Meteor Strike” for season two to give languishing tank Doomfist some momentum.
On the DPS side, the team has eyes on Genji, whose initially dominant win rate has lowered to 52% but is still on the high side. It highlights the aforementioned damage role passive as a particular boon to the cyborg ninja and remarks that an adjustment to this passive is one option under consideration for next season. Sombra’s massive hack buffs are also discussed; the team says that it wants “to ensure her targets have a reasonable time to fight back” and is considering balance changes for the ability lockout duration as it looks towards season two.
Two other heroes under close watch are Symmetra and Torbjörn, who Blizzard explains have both seen gradually increasing win rates since launch, adding that “they are showing the highest win rates now at some ranks,” in part thanks to their ability to effectively counter the popular Genji pick. As such, the team says it wants to “keep in mind the landscape of the hero roster” and that if tweaks are made to heroes such as Genji then the likes of Symmetra and Torbjörn may not need individual adjustments themselves.
Elsewhere, the team comments on Kiriko’s win rate adjusting from 48% to 52% as players get to grips with her, noting that “her healing averages in the middle, and her damage output right now is about even with Ana which is relatively low compared to heroes like Lucio, Moira, and Brigitte.” However, it explains that Kiriko appears to be “the most survivable support hero on the roster currently” thanks to her passive wall climb ability and her Swift Step teleport, which can get her out of trouble quickly and also cleanses her of most debuffs.
Finally, the team apologises for a “bug that was impacting player skill ratings,” leading to many players landing in Bronze 5 rather than their appropriate rank. It says a fix has been implemented to help players get to their true ranks quickly. It also says it is looking into ensuring that “hit registration for shots fired is working pixel-perfectly,” and recommends some PC settings tweaks for players feeling that the game isn’t responsive enough. These include resolution and frame rate settings, as well as turning on the ‘Enable high precision mouse input’ option to optimise your responsiveness.
If you need more help setting your game up, we have the best Overwatch 2 PC settings figured out for you. We’ve also got a guide to the best Overwatch 2 crosshairs to optimise your gameplay. Once you’re on the field of battle, our Overwatch 2 tier list should ensure that you know who’s hot right now. In related news, fans of the multiplayer game are mourning the loss of ‘cow jiggle physics’ on the Overwatch 2 Busan cow, one of the first game’s more delightful features.