Overwatch is a truly dynamic game, which means there’s always something new going on behind the scenes or in the community. Each week, we’ll have a round-up of the latest game news. That might be balance notes, character rumors, esports announcements, or lol-worthy gifs. Here’s what Overwatch fans need to know for the week of June 19.
1. Patch notes: Horizon going live, three heroes changed
Very very soon, all players will get to test their mettle on the new Horizon Lunar Colony map (opens in new tab). The setting has been available on the PTR since May 31, and it will arrive in the regular map rotation on June 20.
The Horizon Lunar Colony setting will be of particular interest to fans of Winston. (And who doesn’t love Winston? Seriously?) The map has some lovely Easter eggs referencing Recall, one of the game’s first animated shorts, and it contains hints about to Winston’s own history. So although you’ll be spending lots of time wrecking your enemies and floating around in low-gravity, take a few moments to explore your surroundings as well.
The Tuesday patch also expected to have a few balance updates that were also being trialled (opens in new tab) on the PTR. McCree’s Deadeye ultimate is getting beefed up in a pretty clear-cut buff, but the other two developments are bigger character reworks. Reaper’s health generation is changing to remove the soul globe mechanic. Instead, he’s getting a new passive ability that sees him regain 20% of all damage done to heroes as health.
Roadhog is also in the crosshairs again. The size of his head hitbox is being reduced, in a move similar to the change made to Orisa after her debut. But his play style is getting more of a shift. Bullet damage from his Scrap Gun will be reduced, but the fire rate and clip size are being increased. That means his old standard sequence of hooking a squishy enemy and then one-shotting them may not be as a viable a strategy. We’ll be watching to see how these updates play out in matches after the patch.
2. Group stage details for the Overwatch World Cup
BlizzCon is the holy grail of esports for all Blizzard games, and the top teams already have their sights set on the 2017 Overwatch World Cup. For those of us who aren’t competing on that level (yet), at least we can watch the masters at work as they try to secure spots to play in Anaheim this November.
Today, Blizzard released information about the tournament's group stages (opens in new tab). There are 32 squads in contention to represent their countries. This competition is a more unusual approach, featuring national pride and fan favorite players rather than showcasing the synergy and skill of existing franchise teams. But it should be no less exciting!
3. Overwatch Open Division announced
Are you gunning to be one of the best in the business? Do you want to be in contention for one of those World Cup spots next year? Then here’s one way to get your name out to the community. Blizzard has announced (opens in new tab) the details for its first Open Division competition. It’s just for amateurs, and is a great opportunity to take the next step up from Competitive matches.
With Overwatch, Blizzard has been putting an emphasis on boosting aspiring pros and giving them tools to become stars. This is a great example of that philosophy in action, where players can get a taste of high-level competition and get a real test of their abilities.
Signups (opens in new tab) are already live for the tournament, so for those players who hit Master rank or higher during season 4, assemble your teams and get a-practicing. The first Open Division season begins July 3.
4. At last, respect for Zarya
We can’t have an Overwatch update without at least one nod to the community. Regular Redditors have likely seen (opens in new tab) this already, but here’s one of the best game gifs that we’ve seen this past week. Even though POTG clips only highlight one person, big plays are usually a team effort. Zarya mains know this all too well, frequently setting up their allies for those star moments. Here, though, Zarya does it all herself, firing off a well-placed ultimate and then wiping the enemies with grenades. From Russia, with love.
Check back every Monday on GamesRadar+ for more Overwatch mayhem and magic.