Overwatch PTR 1.15 – Mercy Valkyrie Ultimate & D.va Micro Missiles

Blizzard Entertainment launched the new PTR 1.15 which introduces a new Mercy ultimate ability known as Valkyrie. Resurrect is now a Basic Ability (30 sec cooldown) that targets only one player. It no longer resurrects everyone within range. Valkyrie enables Mercy to fly for 20 sec, increasing her attack speed and flight movement.

D.va gained a new ability named Micro Missiles which launches a volley of small rockets at the target for 3 sec (cooldown: 8 sec). Defense Matrix no longer spends its full energy in one use. You can now use Defense Matrix up to 4 times in a row (every 2 sec) at any time. Defense Matrix takes 10 sec to recharge energy to full, afterwards.

In addition, the Ecopoint Antarctica map has been updated after the GamesCom 2017 animated short: Rise and Shine. There is a scene where Mei places the coffee cups of each deceased teammate at the foot of their cryogenic chambers. The map now has these coffee cups where Mei left them in the animated short.

VALKYRIE, RESURRECT AND MICRO MISSILES PREVIEW

 

VALKYRIE in action

 

Below you can check out the PTR 1.15 patch notes, and the Developer Update (video) by game director Jeff Kaplan. I transcribed the whole thing for those who prefer reading them, and for the hearing impaired.

 

Overwatch PTR 1.15

Arcade and Custom Games

  • Players will no longer see the Assemble Your Team screen at the beginning of a game when Respawn as a Random Hero is enabled.
  • Players who purposefully kill themselves in a game where Respawn as a Random Hero is enabled, will no longer respawn as a new hero. However, their Ultimate ability will reset and any equipment that’s been placed (i.e. Torbjörn’s turret) will despawn.
  • In games where Respawn as a Random Hero is enabled, players will no longer receive the same hero two consecutive times, unless Custom Game settings have restricted the hero pool to a single hero

User Interface Updates

  • The skull icons that indicate where teammates were killed throughout the map have been replaced with Hero Portrait icons
  • Third person camera view will now frame the action automatically when spectating or waiting to respawn

D.Va

  • Micro Missiles (New Ability)
    • D.Va fires a barrage of small rockets that detonate on impact, dealing damage in a limited radius around each explosion. These can be fired while D.Va is using any other ability or firing her Fusion Cannons
  • Defense Matrix
    • Defense Matrix's resource meter will now deplete twice as quickly
  • Boosters
    • Fusion Cannons can now be fired while flying

Developer Comments: D.Va’s Defense Matrix uptime has proven to be too strong, but simply reducing it without making other changes would make her too weak (and far less interesting to play). Instead, we’re adding a new ability, and giving her the ability to fire while flying. These changes give D.Va a lot of new options while maintaining Defense Matrix’s ability to shut down big enemy attacks.

Mercy

  • Resurrect (formerly Mercy’s Ultimate ability)
    • Ability now targets a single player, instead of every player within a radius
    • Radius reduced to 5 meters
    • Ability cooldown is 30 seconds
    • Mercy is no longer granted invulnerability while Resurrect is active
  • Valkyrie (New Ultimate Ability)
    • Valkyrie unleashes the full power of Mercy’s Valkyrie Suit, enhancing her weapons and abilities for 20 seconds:
      • Caduceus Staff: Mercy’s healing and damage boost beams now affect all allies near the targeted teammate, and the staff’s effective range has been extended
      • Caduceus Blaster: Granted infinite ammo, while simultaneously increasing damage and fire rate
      • Guardian Angel: Increased range and movement speed
      • Resurrect: Cooldown is instantly reset when Valkyrie is activated and reduced to 10s after the initial cast
      • Hover: Mercy gains the ability to fly freely, at increased movement speed
      • Regeneration (Passive): No longer interrupted when Mercy takes damage

Developer Comments: While resurrecting downed allies is a core part of Mercy’s gameplay, the way her Ultimate functioned was causing a number of problems. It was frustrating to play against, and it incentivized Mercy players to hide away from important battles, instead of taking part in them. This version turns Resurrect into a single target ability. It’s still an important part of Mercy’s kit, but plays much better for both Mercy players and her enemies. Valkyrie, her new Ultimate, gives her the opportunity to make big game-making plays and opens a number of new options for her.

Reinhardt

  • Barrier Field
    • Holding primary fire while your shield is active now allows you to rotate the camera

Developer Comments: This change gives Reinhardt more situational awareness while using his shield, allowing him to keep an eye on the battlefield while still protecting his team.

  • Added an “Outline Opacity” option under the custom reticle settings (found under Controls > Options > Advanced), which allows players to control the opacity of the black outline surrounding the reticule

BUG FIXES

General

  • 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)

Heroes

  • 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 caused Mei’s Ultimate to appear friendly (it failed to change from blue to red) after being reflected by Genji

Maps

  • Fixed a bug that prevented reflections from appearing on weapons while standing in certain areas on Ilios
  • 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


Developer Update Transcript

Kaplan: What's up, everyone? This is Jeff, here with another Developer Update to tell you about something super awesome, which is big changes coming for Mercy. Now, Mercy is one of the top played characters in Overwatch. So I know there are many many of you who are Mercy mains who are suddenly worried: "What are you doing to my beloved Mercy? Please, don't wreck her! Keep her awesome. We love Mercy so much."

We love Mercy too. We wanted to put a lot of focus and attention into improving the Mercy play experience, and I think it is important for me to start with why are we changing Mercy in the first place.

So one of the problems we see with Mercy right now is there is a weird behavior that is encouraged by the core fundamental design of the hero, which is that if you are a Mercy player and you are healing your team, and your Ultimate is up, or close to be up, you have this weird moment where you stop healing your team, you go into hiding, and you start to tell your team: "Everybody, die together! Die on the point! Die on the point! I have rez!"

There are people who might not be listening to you on your team, who are now yelling at you: "Why aren't you healing? Why aren't you healing?" They go out and die somewhere else. Anyway, the team eventually wipes, and Mercy swoops in and does her big resurrect.

There is a couple of things that we really don't like about this. One: We think it is wrong to tell the main healing character to go off and hide somewhere, and stop healing for some period of time.

The other thing is that on the receiving end -- like... let's say you are a team that puts a lot of effort into getting a full team wipe, use a Zarya graviton surge, and maybe you have Pharah rain justice from above, on top of that you wipe out the entire enemy team.

It is pretty disheartening to have Mercy just erase that moment with a full team rez. So we felt like her resurrect is something that needed to be addressed. The other thing that we were hearing frequently from Mercy players is: "Hey, Mercy doesn't have an alternate ability. She has Guardian Angel, which is a ton of fun, super useful, I am using it all the time, but how comes Mercy has one less ability?"

So we are making some big changes to Mercy. The first change that we will let you know about (and it is going to seem a little bit shocking at first) is that her Ultimate is no longer Resurrect.

Resurrect is becoming her second ability. So now you should have Guardian Angel and Resurrect. Now, there are some changes coming to Resurrect. Resurrect is now single-target only, but it is on a cooldown. So you don't have to worry about generating an Ultimate all the time. It is a rather long cooldown, so you won't see players constantly resurrected, but it becomes a really cool strategic moment in deciding who to resurrect and when.

So Resurrect is now a common ability on Mercy, rather than her Ultimate ability. Now, Overwatch in a lot of ways has heroes that are defined by their Ultimate abilities, and we knew how amazing Resurrect was as a Ultimate ability for Mercy. So we felt like we really had to come up with something special for Mercy players, so that they felt like their new Ultimate was worthy of the hero that they have come to love and respect so much.

So Mercy will be getting an ultimate that is called Valkyrie, and Valkarye does a lot of things. So let me walk you through all of them.

First and foremost, when Mercy activates Valkyrie, she can fly; and I don't mean that she can Pharah-boost in the air briefly. I mean: She can fly; and it is super fun. You have complete control of your character. After all, Mercy has those wings. We might as well put them to real use. I mean, Guardian Angel is pretty good, but imagine flying with Mercy how much fun it can be.

The other cool thing about Mercy when she is in Valkyrie is that everything she does is basically better. So, Guardian Angel now goes much further than it did before. So she can reach targets much easier. Her beams now go further, both: Healing and Damage Boost beams can reach much further than they could.

The coolest part about the beams is that they chain to multiple targets. So if you have multiple teammates who are in need of healing, and they are grouped up, the beam will hit all of them, and they will all be getting healed, or they are all going to be damage boosted.

Also, for those of you Battle Mercys out there (and I know you exist), her gun is now better when she is in Valkyrie mode. She can shoot faster, and it does more damage, which is basically me saying in two ways she can do more damage.

I think the thing that you will like about it the most is the ability to fly. I think the flying opens up those moments for Mercy where she is getting attacked, her teammates aren't really helping her out, she needs a chance to get away, and really just sort of flying the other thing you can do is swoop in and save people at the right times; and by the way, your Resurrect refreshes right when you use the ultimate ability.

Now on the PTR, we are going to be experimenting with different versions of the Resurrect, and how it works with Valkyrie. Right off the gate, you will see that she can use Resurrect even faster when she is in Valkyrie.

So in a lot of ways you now have a Battle Mercy, flies to the air, sees her teammates in trouble around the battlefield, and flies to them -- either heals them, or if they happen to die she is going to Resurrect different ones of them. We feel like Mercy will feel a lot more engaging to play than standing around the corner, hiding, waiting for that moment to press the ultimate.

So we really hope that you respond well to these changes to Mercy. We know that she is a character that is played almost second to none; and so we think we are going to get a ton of feedback from you; and we are really eager to hear. We want to hear what the Mercy players have to say, and we want to hear what people who have played in the receiving end of that team wipe resurrect feel, and how they feel about Valkyrie. How do you feel the balance is. Is it fun to play again? Do you understand what is going on?

So we think this would be a good healthy change for the game, overall. So we look forward to what you have to say there. Now, I also want to give you a heads up that eventually, not all of these are going to happen right away, but eventually there is going to be some changes to some other heroes as well.

D.VA CHANGES

I don't want to instill panic in anybody, but we are going to take another look at D.va, we are doing some experiments to her right now; and to be clear about what we are looking at on D.va especifically is Defense Matrix.

We have heard, both, from D.va players and from players playing against D.va that Defense Matrix can often feel almost smothering; and what I mean by this is as a D.va player you feel almost required to maximize your uptime with this ability, because it feels so powerful; and on the receiving end, at times it feels like there is no counter to Defense Matrix.

If you take something like Orisa's shield, or Reinhardt's shield you understand when that ability is going to be on cooldown. Like you see Reinhardt's shield is cracking and it is going to go down, and you know if you destroy it you have a window of opportunity there against Reinhardt.

Where D.va with Defense Matrix is pretty much up all the time, and even when she lowers it, she can feather it very quickly to deny certain crucial abilities such as Zarya's ultimate (which is Graviton Surge) for example.

It is a little bit devastating right now, so we are looking at changes to D.va to lessen the impact of Defense Matrix without injuring the character's ability to perform her primary role, which is that of tank. So please, don't panic. We are not going to overly hurt D.va. We are also looking to give her other fun things to do, and we have a couple of experiments in play right now internally that we believe will make her more skillful, and more fun to play offensively which is something that we have heard a lot from our D.va players as well. That they are looking for something to do besides just holding that Defense Matrix button down.

These changes will be coming out soon. We will provide you more details as soon as we have something that we feel is worthy of your time and attention, and playable on the PTR. So hopefully as soon as possible. It is where our focus is right now.

Overall, even when though we have had some of these heroes in the game since day one, we feel like it is our responsibility to always look after both: the players of these heroes, and the people who are on the other side, which is our playerbase in its entirety; and make sure that everybody is playing out as fun as possible.

Rest assured if things aren't playing out well on the PTR, or things happen to go Live and they are not playing out perfectly, or to the community's liking, we will go back and keep looking at these things.

We look forward to your discussion. We look forward to those of you going to the PTR and actually check things out, and we also look forward to people's impressions. Let us know what you think of these changes, guys; and have fun with them. We will check in next time. Bye.

 

Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

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