Blizzard has released the latest update for Overwatch to all players across computers and consoles. And it’s a big one, as the Overwatch patch brings the Junkteron map, D.Va and Mercy updates, plus more, into the game. Check out the highlights from version 1.15.0.01 below, including a new way to punish toxic players.
The Junkertown Map:
Welcome to the hometown of Roadhog and Junkrat. The latest map to move from the Public Test Region (PTR) to general play is the Australian Outback location of Junkertown. It’s currently being used for Escort play types in Arcade. This was first laid out in the ‘Junkertown: The Plan’ video featruing the destructive duo after they’ve been exiled by the Queen of Junkertown.
So it makes sense that you’ll be escorting a payload filled with gold and cash. The good news is that Junkertown feels like a much larger, more open and spacious map than the previous Lunar Colony release. Which means more opportunity to move around, and opportunities for snipers like Widowmaker, Hanzo, Ana and Zenyatta.
It also gives the defending team a little more time to re-organise after a mistake. Too often an early error or moment of chaos can lead to the offensive team rushing through point A and B, or being able to carry the payload a long way while your defenders are still running around like headless chickens.
It’s also good fun for Pharah mains, as you can explore more of the friendly skies without bashing your head into a ceiling, bouncing into nearby buildings…
It also allows for more flanking and sneakier, movement-based play, rather than simply standing around a healer at a choke point. Experienced players will know how to counter defenders all packed around a single point, but too often you watch half your team throw themselves at a wall of gunfire and violence.
Here’s the official release trailer for more of a look around Junkertown.
The voice of the Queen of Junkertown hints we might see a bit more of her in the future, but who knows. We do know that Blizzard had to correct an early mistake – a Take Out sign, rather than one for an Australian Takeaway (as in the UK).
It’s safe to say that I’m a big fan of the new map. Any new location is always welcome, but it’s a really good addition. And it’s also interesting in terms of the backstory of Overwatch, including displaced farmers like Mako Rutledge (Roadhog). And how the building and wreckage of the Omnium led to the creation of Junkertown on top of it, with the ruling Queen making her way to the top by fighting.
The Scrapyard area is pretty cool, with the rotating fan, shortcuts and siderooms making for some more interesting dynamics.
It’s safe to say I’m a big fan of it. And hopefully we’ll see some more maps increasing in size and scope.
The Big D.Va Update
I’m a D.Va main (although I do play Support, Soldier76 and a few other heroes as needed). So I can understand the reason for making some big updates to her abilities and why it was done. And despite being initially worried, I think the update largely makes D.Va a better and more enjoyable character to play.
Since the last big change to D.Va, she’s been known as a Tank character with a very effective Defensive Shield. Which meant a lot of the time was spent covering yourself and your team from attacks. And with shortrange cannons, quite often you’d find enemies on the edge of your gunfire, so you wouldn’t be hurting them. You’d just be sat back waiting to pop your shield, and barely tickling people. And if you did Boost to attack, you’d then get complaints that you’d ditched everyone. Particularly when the other 5 players have all chosen DPS characters!
The new D.Va update now adds forward-firing micro-rockets to her arsenal. They add a bit of range and destructive capabilities at longer ranges, allowing you to help finish off opponents already hurt by your team. And they can be fired whilst boosting. That means you can now Boost, fire your Micro Rockets, land and then finish someone with your cannons.
Quite often that may result in you ejecting or dying. But it can be a great way to remove a Bastion or Reinhardt that no-one else seems able to tackle. Or take out a particularly annoying healer, especially if you can flank round, use your Boost and Shield with Rockets, finish them off with your cannons, and survive long enough to escape again.
It means D.Va now feels like a proper offensive Tank again. And also means that teams can’t rely on her to provide the only shield any longer. That brings back characters like Reinhardt (who can now finally look around without moving his shield to the side), and Orissa to the mix again.
The only two negatives are that D.Va still feels a tiny bit fragile for a giant war mech. It’s not a huge thing, but maybe 50 or 100 more health or shields would make her feel a bit more substantial for the other team to fight, without turning her into an overpowered monster. The only other issue is that she says ‘Bang’ every time she fires the rockets. Every time. Every… flipping… time…
The Major Mercy Update:
The other big character change is for everyone’s favourite healer they love to hate. Mercy. Again, I can totally understand why Blizzard felt they needed to alter things. The big problem has been the Resurrection Ultimate. Too often, it means that Mercy players will be extra cautious when their ultimate ability is almost charged. And can then completely turn the tables in a match by resurrecting an entire dead team at once.
Sometimes that can be a good thing and used well. But often it feels a bit cheap. In solo queue or with a small group, it puts you at a big disadvantage if the other team has a Mercy useful enough to spam the group with the news she has her ultimate. And it means that you can be attacking a control point for an entire match, finally take it at 99% and then be wiped out straight after. The flipside is when you’ve fought off a team, and have a couple of surviving defenders left – while the rest of your team is running back, Mercy resurrects everyone and you lose the point.
As with crowding choke points, good players can counter Mercy a fair bit. Keeping an eye on her Ultimate, reserving a few Ultimates of your town, etc. But unless you’re in a permanent team of 6 decent players, you’ll too often find yourself watching your match fall apart in an instant.
So Mercy has undergone some big changes:
- Resurrect is now a normal ability, targetting a single fallen team-mate at a time, with a 30 second cool down.
- The Ultimate is now Valkyrie, which ramps up every ability, including not having to re-load Mercy’s pistol, resetting the resurrect timer, and healing/buffing multiple players at once.
She did also receive a massive damage boost on the PTR. That made her overpowered, and a team-killer. But I’m still a bit torn on the Mercy changes. Yes, her ultimate was pretty irritating. But I think there’s one particular situation in which Mercy now feels completely overpowered.
When most ‘squishy’ players fire their ultimate, you can duck behind cover or shut them down (McCree, Soldier76, Pharah). But Mercy now:
- Has infinite ammo without needing to reload
- Doesn’t have her health regeneration halted or slowed by damage
- Can fly freely
Which basically means if she targets you, there’s no escape for pretty much any character. You’re basically powerless as an angel of death fires infinite bullets, can follow you anywhere, and can’t be killed.
I’m trying to think of any other ultimate which leads to a situation where your opponents are powerless, and I’m struggling. Obviously Zenyatta and Lucio both have ultimate healing abilities, but that’s slightly different.
So I’m still waiting a bit longer to see what happens with Mercy and the latest changes. I suspect we’ll see a drop in usage for other healers for a while, particularly Ana, who feels pretty weak unless you’re in a good team and a bit of an expert, and probably Lucio / Zenyatta. But I also wonder whether her ultimate may get slightly nerfed – having her regeneration slowed by damage, for example, would still make it possible for a very good squishy player to slow her down or escape.
Overwatch Patch 1.15.0.01 Bug Fixes:
Fixed a bug that caused Custom Reticles to appear transparent and ignore opacity settings when their thickness was set to 1
Fixed a bug that caused Control matches to be played in a best-of-five format when creating a custom game using the Competitive preset
Fixed a bug that prevented players from requesting a highlight while viewing a killcam after being killed
Fixed a bug that prevented voice lines from playing after players received five votes on a commendation card at the end of a match
Fixed an issue that prevented players from automatically joining Match Chat, even when the option was enabled
Fixed a bug that prevented players from receiving the Perfect Round indicator after an Elimination game if they received a temporary health boost from an ability (e.g. Lúcio’s Sound Barrier)
Fixed a bug that caused the “Aim Ease In” setting to affect controller input too aggressively when the thumbstick was deflected diagonally
Fixed an issue that prevented the entire Team Deathmatch description from being displayed in the info section
Fixed a bug that occasionally caused the incorrect announcer VO to play in highlights captured during Deathmatch games
Fixed a bug that allowed Junkrat to destroy his own Steel Traps with Concussion Mines
Fixed a bug that occasionally caused the heroes’ “sigh” voice line to play when respawning
Fixed a bug that interrupted the animation on Ana’s eye during the Beach Ball emote with her Captain Amari skin equipped
Fixed a bug that prevented Doomfist from being knocked back when his Rocket Punch ability was being used
Fixed a bug that allowed Doomfist’s Rocket Punch to hit players through the taxi on King’s Row
Fixed a bug that caused a pair of pink fuzzy dice to mysteriously float onto the screen when viewing D.Va’s weapon in the Hero Gallery if her Cruiser skin was equipped
Fixed an issue that caused the golden tint of Junkrat’s weapon to appear dull when his Firework skin was equipped
Fixed a bug that gave Junkrat’s RIP-Tire a speed boost when players wall jumped on ledges
Fixed a bug that occasionally caused Mei’s Ice Wall to launch players into the air
Fixed a bug that caused Mei’s Ultimate to appear friendly (it failed to change from blue to red) after being reflected by Genji
Fixed a bug that prevented Roadhog’s Chain Hook icon from being displayed in the kill feed when it caused an environmental kill
Fixed a bug that caused Symmetra’s Photon Barrier to indicate a 10-second cooldown when the red “cannot use” icon was active
Using D.Va’s melee attack no longer cancels Micro Missile barrage
D.Va’s Micro Missiles are now interrupted by stuns, knockbacks, and other crowd-control effects
Mercy’s Resurrect is no longer blocked by Steel Trap or Graviton Surge
Mercy is no longer able to use Valkyrie to escape Graviton Surge and Steel Traps
Fixed a bug on Ecopoint: Antarctica that could cause a crate to block your view of heroes during the winning team lineup
Fixed a bug that allowed Reaper to reach unintended locations on Castillo
Fixed a bug that allowed some heroes to reach unintended locations on Horizon Lunar Colony
Fixed a bug that prevented reflections from appearing on weapons while standing in certain areas on Ilios
Fixed a bug that caused jump pads to bounce players higher than intended on Oasis
Fixed a lighting issue that caused some items on the last point of Route 66 to take on a pinkish hue when players used low video settings
Fixed an issue that caused reflections to appear overly dark while players were standing in areas of the Cave Inn on Route 66
Fixed an issue that caused excessive camera zoom and flashing lights when players loaded into the tutorial map
Fixed a bug that prevented plated railings from being properly destroyed by weapons fire on Volskaya Industries
Fixed a bug that allowed players to reach unintended locations on Watchpoint: Gibraltar
Removed the “Healing Prevented” statistic from Ana’s career profile page
Fixed a bug that caused Doomfist’s Rocket Punch UI to occasionally remain visible when respawning
Fixed a bug that prevented Doomfist’s Seismic Slam from accurately targeting moving objects, causing Doomfist to land in unintended locations