Overwatch 2‘s ninth season is going to be a big shift for the hero shooter when it starts on February 13. Alongside implementing the previously announced passive healing for all heroesseason 9 is bringing other sweeping changes geared around increasing hero survivability, but a few other adjustments might help balance out the increase in healing and health.
First off, if you haven’t heard about it before, every hero is getting a tweaked version of the Support hero passive that gradually heals characters after a few seconds of avoiding damage. For DPS and Tank characters, this will occur at a rate of 20 healing per second after five seconds without taking damage. Supports will start healing faster than others, with the 20 healing per second starting at 2.5 seconds without damage. Across the board, all heroes are receiving buffs to their base health. Characters that had 150-175 HP prior to this change will receive a 25 HP increase, those with 200-300 HP will get 50 additional health, and the Tanks will get an additional 75-100 HP.
Blizzard’s attempt to balance all the additional healing appears to be twofold. The first tweak is that DPS heroes will have a new passive that reduces a target’s healing by 20 percent when dealing damage. So if you’re landing shots, it will be harder for the enemy’s Support players to top off your target’s health and cancel your damage out. Blizzard says this is to incentivize strategically focusing on specific targets.
Alongside the DPS passive, Overwatch 2 is increasing different projectile sizes and ranges for several heroes and will adjust more after the team has had time to assess these changes in season 9. According to Blizzard, this is meant to help players land precision shots as fast-paced movement abilities have become more prevalent.
“Crisp, responsive movement is important to the core gameplay feel, so we wouldn’t want to just slow down player movement,” Blizzard wrote in a press release. “Instead, we’re improving hit consistency by making both damage-dealing hitscan and travel time projectiles larger. Heroes that have weapons or abilities that don’t benefit from any projectile size changes will receive additional balance changes. However, we don’t want to make too many hero adjustments before getting a better understanding of the effects from these initial changes, so tune in for more on individual heroes in future updates.”
Here’s a rundown of the initial changes:
Without playing the game with these changes in place, these sound like some of the biggest, most significant tweaks Overwatch 2 you have implemented since the switch to 5v5. The passive healing change has been wonderful for Support players, as it has the potential to make Tank and DPS players more independent in what was always meant to be a team-based game. Ultimately, Blizzard might not keep all these ideas in place beyond one season, but anything this sweeping used to be tried out in the temporary Experimental mode before it was injected into the main game. Here, we’re just going to have to roll with a bunch of far-reaching alterations hitting the game all at once, so there’s a lot of trepidation going into season 9.
While those are some of the big changes coming to Overwatch 2, some smaller details include Pharah, the flying, rocket-launching DPS hero, getting some kind of rework, though Blizzard has yet to go into detail. The Junkertown map is also seeing tweaks.
All of this follows extensive layoffs at Activision-Blizzard after the company’s acquisition by Microsoft, several of which affected the Overwatch 2 team, ranging from the narrative side to the esports department.