Years of playing hero-based multiplayer games have taught me one thing: if I am having fun with a character that is probably because s/he is overpowered, because I am too rubbish to play characters who are properly balanced. This appears to be the case with Brigitte, the Overwatch healer-tank knight errant whose prowess with a mace left me speechless (and often, concussed) when she launched on public servers in March. Blizzard says her Shield Bash ability – the essential prelude to knocking a rampaging Doomfist into a pit – is too effective for comfort, and must be nerfed. For shame, Blizzard! Let the girl bash in peace.
The next and currently undated Overwatch patch will extend the cooldown on Shield Bash by a crucial second, giving opponents marginally more time to run away, flank her or nuke the shield before she smacks them upside the chops with it. “Shield Bash is Brigitte’s strongest ability, and its short cooldown makes it very difficult to play around,” Blizzard’s Geoff Goodman writes on the official forum. “We’d like to keep her Shield Bash and subsequent melee combos powerful and effective, while just allowing a little more counter-play against it.
“We’ve talked about possibly reducing her defense somewhere, such as reducing her barrier health. However, her tank-hybrid nature is a core part of her kit and we want to make sure she maintains that feeling of being a difficult target to take down. Overall Brigitte’s win rate is still the highest of any support, despite dishing out the lowest amount of raw healing per second. This speaks volumes to how powerful her kit can be outside of her direct healing numbers.”
Its appalling mistreatment of Brigitte aside, the next update will also make changes to Ana, Overwatch’s tea-sipping grandma: her Nanoboost ability will replenish the target’s health by 300 HP, allowing her to use it to simultaneously save and super-charge DPS heroes who are in a good position but on the point of being overwhelmed. Elsewhere, long-suffering Mercy’s healing rate is being dropped from 60 HP/s to 50 HP/s, while slippery Moira benefits from a 20 percent boost to her healing resource regen rate.
Awful pest Lucio, finally, gets a boost in the shape of a larger area of effect for his Crossfade ability and Sound Barrier Ultimate. So, to put all that in layman’s terms, the nice lady who fights hand-to-hand is to be lumbered with a stamina cut, while the maddening flea who won’t shut up about his music receives upgrades worthy of a tyrant prince. Good work, Blizzard.
Honestly, it sounds like Brigitte will continue to be a favourite at all skill levels – the old swing-constantly-while-hugging-Zarya’s-bottom tactic remains devastating, and there are few things more satisfying than bashing a Genji just as he triggers his Ultimate – but I’m inconsolable all the same.
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