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These Overwatch Characters Just Got Nerfed

Overwatch has been available since 2016 on Xbox One, PS4, and PC, but even more than four years in, publisher and developer Blizzard Entertainment is still fine-tuning the stats and abilities for the heroes in its multiplayer hero-based shooter. On Jan. 28, 2021, a new patch nerfed three Overwatch characters: Zenyatta, Echo, and Tracer. As with previous hero updates, Blizzard is hoping these changes will bring more balance to the game.

The last patch, released on Jan. 12, 2021, mainly focused on making the tank characters Sigma and Wrecking Ball less, well, tank-y, while also nerfing Hanzo and Ashe. But lately fans have complained that some of Overwatch's other support and damage dealers have been too effective against tanks, especially Zenyatta and Echo. The latest patch, released Jan. 28, would seem to address those complaints, while tweaking Tracer as well.

First up is the omnic monk and popular support character Zenyatta, whose damage-dealing and healing abilities both took a hit. Per the patch notes, Blizzard felt his team-wide damage buffs were too powerful, especially the Orb of Discord, which focuses on one enemy target and amps up all the damage it receives. Blizzard has now lowered Orb of Discord's overall damage amplification from 30% to 25%, and reduced its projectile speed from 120 to 90. Blizzard also lowered the projectile speed on his Orb of Harmony single-ally heath regeneration ability as well.

Up next is Echo, the ultra-mobile damage-dealing robot. Per the notes, Echo was simply a bit too deadly. Blizzard has lowered the magazine capacity for her Tri-Shot ability from 15 to 12, meaning she now has to reload more frequently. Like its name suggests, Tri-Shot fires three projectiles at once, so she can now use it four times before reloading. Her Focusing Beam duration has also gone from 2.5 seconds down to 2. This ability deals 50 damage per second, but that's quadrupled on targets below 50% health. The patch makes Echo a bit less effective as a finisher.

Up last is Tracer, the dual-pistol wielding and bomb-throwing damage dealer. Tracer is intended to be a short-range skirmisher, but Blizzard felt she was too effective at medium distances. Her dual pistols were already designed to be less effective at longer ranges, but the new patch has made that even more pronounced. Her min-max pistol damage used to have a falloff range of 13-23 meters, but it's now reduced to 12-20 meters, requiring Tracer to get closer to the enemy to be more effective. 

While Overwatch 2 may still be a ways off, Blizzard is still committed to making Overwatch an optimal experience. Whether they're franchise mainstays or new additions to the roster, Overwatch heroes are never really finished products.