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Two of Overwatch‘s strongest characters are a bit less powerful today.

Blizzard released a new patch for its team-based shooter available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The patch brings more balance to the abilities of the pistol-wielding McCree and the sniper, Widowmaker. Updates like these can help games become more fair, which benefits casual and competitive players alike. It also reassures fans that Blizzard is listening to them. That’s important when you already have a large amount of users. Overwatch launched in May, and it quickly earned 7 million players in one week and dominated TV.

These balance changes are especially important for games that are also esports. Overwatch is young, but it’s already becoming a popular in competitive gaming and streaming. Better balancing its cast makes matches more exciting, since competitors are more likely to use the full range of characters. It’s an issue that other popular, hero-based esports, League of Legends, constantly juggle. And nailing balance will help get it in front of more of the 100 million Twitch viewers, who watched 800 million hours of esports the last 10 months. 

Cree’s alternate fire shoots every clip in his gun (up to six) in rapid succession. It was so strong that it even shred through tanks characters (the heroes with the most health) like Reinhardt and Winston. The bullet damage in the alternate fire has gone from 70 to 45. McCree is still effective against flankers like Tracer and Genji (characters who excel at nipping at your team’s flanks), but he’s no longer so powerful that he feels like he’s a must-play for every team.


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Widowmaker now does less damage with scoped shots to the body. This will help characters with low health and weak mobility, like Genji, stand a better chance against the deadly character. Widowmaker’s ultimate ability, which shows enemy positions behind walls, also takes 10 percent longer to charge now.

You can view the full patch notes here.


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