The new map and PTR’s more newsworthy changes teased in the past few weeks have been published to the live version of Overwatch in the latest patch, allowing all players to access the new content and play with the newly rebalanced characters. Beyond the addition of Junkertown, both Mercy and D.Va had their skillsets changed in a major way which is bound to affect how many matches will play from now on.
Junkertown is the game’s newest map, featuring the tacked-together hometown of Junkrat deep in the irradiated Australian outback. Following teases, a short video and a minor controversy about the profound difference between “take out” and “take away” when it comes to food, the map has now been released. With few open areas, the winding streets and interior locations of Junkertown favor aggressive, short-ranged heroes who like to get in close for the kill, while physically large tanks will excel at blocking off chokepoints. The payload in this escort map is a gaudy hovering platform with copious amounts of jewelry laden on it, the origins of which are explained in the short video “The Plan” which first introduced the map.
Junkertown’s visuals are a mix of Borderlands and Mad Max. The post-apoc design mixed with the cartoon-inspired visuals of the game make the city look like it would fit right in on the hell world of Pandora, while the nods to its location being the outback are more in line with Mad Max. The map also holds teasers for who many fans theorize may be a new hero in the pipeline, as Junkertown’s mysterious Queen is referenced often, but never fully shown off. Whether she’ll have any part to play in the ongoing Overwatch story is anyone’s guess, but there’s a chance that given knowing fans latch on to any minor clue, the guys at Blizzard may just be messing with us and the Queen could be a red herring.
The two heroes who went through significant changes are both ones who got a lot of flak from the community recently. Both D.Va and Mercy were considered to have a skillset detrimental to the game, with D.Va’s Defense Matrix being perceived as overpowered, and Mercy’s resurrection Ult being considered cheap, especially when a player pulls off a five-man rez.
D.Va had it easier off (depending on how you look at it) with the changes, as Defense Matrix was nerfed to be just half as effective as it was before, but she received a whole new offensive ability, Micro Missiles, which is quite self-explanatory. A swarm of small rockets can be launched at incoming enemies to deal some damage. Another tweak to offset the nerf to her defensive ability allows her to use the fusion cannons even while in the air.
Mercy’s changes were a tad more extreme, but she’s a better hero for them and less reviled by players too. Blizzard changed out her ultimate ability entirely, reworking resurrect as a single-target cooldown secondary ability, preventing a Mercy from reviving an entire downed team. They also gave her an all-new ultimate which finally lets her stretch those wings (which went mostly unused until now).
Mercy’s new Valkyrie ultimate ability allows her to fly – not float, not hover, but actually, properly fly – while boosting healing and buff output, as well as damage dealt. While Valkyrie is active, her Caduceus Staff beams also have greater range and will arc to multiple nearby teammates, allowing her to fly around the battlefield while mass healing/buffing allies. So long as they stay alive, this seems like a more effective and useful skill, and since resurrect wasn’t removed entirely, only reworked, she can still help to turn the tide of battle when needed.
The patch also added some other minor changes to some other heroes, like allowing Reinhardt players to move the camera while the shield is up. Bugfixes are omnipresent as well as other minor balance tweaks, but the major changes have been outlined above. As always, full patch notes are available.