'Overwatch' Update Introduces Junkertown, Hero Changes

Overwatch was updated with a new map, Junkertown, as well as changes to Mercy and D.Va that will dramatically change how the game is played.

Blizzard revealed Junkertown on August 21, and the map hit the Public Test Region (PTR) just a few days later. Similar to maps like Dorado and Route 66, this new map requires one team to escort a payload through various stages while the other team attempts to halt that progress. You can't just focus on killing members of the enemy team; you have to remember to keep someone on the payload so it crawls forward through the map.

As if a new map wasn't enough, Blizzard also changed two of Overwatch's most popular and contentious heroes. The first change was a rework of Mercy, the game's iconic healer, that removed her ability to resurrect up to five of her teammates with her ultimate ability. Many players complained that this ability encouraged Mercy players to hide, wait for their entire team to die, and then swoop in to "res" her fallen comrades.

That won't happen anymore: Mercy's resurrect ability will now be a standard ability that can raise one ally from the dead every 30 seconds. It will still be an impactful part of her kit, but it should change the way the hero is played, at least after people get used to the change. Her now ultimate ability will be even more welcome—it allows her to fly, gives her infinite ammo, reduces the resurrect ability's cooldown, and improves her healing.

D.Va, a former professional gamer who now pilots a mech designed by the Korean government to fight giant robots, has also been reworked. These changes involved one ability, defense matrix, that could nullify any projectile-based damage in a cone in front of her. The ability used to last four seconds, which meant skilled D.Va players could nullify enemies' ultimate abilities simply by holding the right mouse button in their faces.

Defense matrix's uptime has been reduced to two seconds. In exchange, D.Va can now shoot her mech's guns while flying, and a new "micro missiles" ability fires a bunch of small rockets that damage enemies in an area. This should encourage a more active and enjoyable play style while still allowing D.Va to serve as an "off tank" who can protect her teammates while still outputting some serious damage herself.

Both of these updates center on making Overwatch's heroes more engaging. The game often felt like hide-and-go-Mercy with the previous iteration, where a successful attack or defense largely depended on who found and killed the opposing Mercy first. D.Va, meanwhile, rewarded strong game sense (knowing what's happening in the game at any given time) but was at most levels of play mechanically simplistic.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.