Overwatch Hints at Balance Tweaks for Mercy, Junkrat, Hanzo, and More

In a Thursday Developer Update video, Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan talked about the hero balancing process, specifically noting that balance adjustments are coming soon for characters like Mercy, Junkrat, and Hanzo.


Now that Overwatch has taken a trip to the whimsical Blizzard World and kicked off the competitive Overwatch League, the development team is taking a step back to look back at some random topics raised by the game's community. During a late Thursday address, Game Director Jeff Kaplan addressed the Overwatch player base about various topics like toxicity and hero balancing. In talking about the latter, Kaplan named a few nerf candidates.

Kaplan stated that Blizzard is considering further nerfs towards Mercy, who has already been the target of several balance tweaks already, and the team is currently monitoring the Public Test Realm servers. The potential fixes include even more adjustments to her Resurrect ability and tweaking her Valkyrie state. Kaplan adds that the team is approaching any potential Mercy adjustments carefully, because the team wants to keep her viable.

Junkrat is another potential nerf candidate, with Kaplan noting that the Concussive Mine's damage radius will potentially be reduced. He's another character that Blizzard will watch closely, with Kaplan saying the team is open to undoing any bad fixes.

There's also Hanzo. Kaplan cited the crazy damage with Scatter Arrow, adding that the team is looking into potential adjustments and replacements for the Scatter Arrow ability.

Finally, Kaplan added that the team is listening to calls to nerf Mei, but stopped short of saying that she's getting any kind of major balance tweak. He makes sure to note that because she's such a situational character, any adjustment can potentially break her entirely, making her either too strong or too weak.

But it's not all nerfs. Kaplan does note that Overwatch players have called for Symmetra buffs, but like Mei, he points out that she's a situational character and that adding buffs could be a perilous proposition.

"I always describe our balance process as a triangle," Kaplan said during Thursday's Developer Update video. "At one point of that triangle is community feedback. We are listening to community feedback on balance all the time. Now it's very important for members of the community to realize that the community is absolutely massive. We have over 35 million players and much of the time, there's not one central community voice. You're really part of one of many smaller communities voicing different opinions, and each community sort of has its own take on what's right or wrong. So often times it's easy for us to feel like everybody feels the way that I do, when that's not necessarily the case. But we are actively listening to community feedback."

Kaplan also notes the monitoring of statistics, like hero play times and win rates, when taking balance issues into consideration. He also points out that Overwatch's developers are often playing the game themselves and will take their own intuition into account.

The toxicity issue looks to be trending in the right direction for Overwatch, with Kaplan stating that instances of abusive chat in competitive play is down 17 percent, while instances of players reporting abuse are up 20 percent. He also mentioned specifically the addition of the reporting feature on consoles, the warning system across the board, and the in-game messaging for players that report bad behavior. Kaplan also notes some of the proactive steps that Blizzard has taken to curb abuse, such as scouring YouTube for specific instances of abuse.

For the full address, check out the video below.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
Hello, Meet Lola