Overwatch News: Zenyatta is getting nerfed, plus a rant

In a thread on Overwatch’s forums, principal designer Geoff Goodman has addressed some issues he sees with the game.

Poor poor Zenyatta

Poor, poor Zenyatta

In the thread, aptly titled, “Don’t nerf Zenyatta,” he posted:

Zenyatta is definitely playing a lot better these days. At this point anecdotal feedback, internal stats, and competitive feedback are all showing hes actually a bit *too* strong at the moment.

At this point we’re looking likely to reduce some of his power in an upcoming patch, probably related to his Discord Orb.

He also addressed some tests and changes with Mercy:

I’ve been looking at Mercy for some time now. If you guys saw the last PTR iteration, you could see the kinds of changes we were trying with her. I’d love to give her damage buffing alternate fire more power, but there are too many degenerate cases that pop up when we try that.

There are some other ideas, and many more things we’ve been trying on and off that you guys never get to see. At one point (a couple months ago) she had a new E ability that put a slow heal over time effect on everyone around you, that meant you could use it to toss onto people that needed topping off without having to swap beam targets as often. That particular design ended up having some issues, but just so you know we are iterating on her internally.

If she were to get a new ability it would ideally have to be something that she could use more ‘outside of combat’ or something that is generally used much more rarely.

That said there are some things we can do to help her out in the near future.

Also, in a separate thread, he addressed Mei and her potential in competitive play, describing her as not being “super far off” seeing “a ton” of tournament play:

Currently her ult can feel a bit unwieldy and inconsistent, especially when you compare it to other similar ults such as Reinhardt’s. We’re internally testing allowing the ultimate projectile she throws to pierce barriers (such as Reinhardt’s shield), and increasing the radius a bit on it.

I’ve got a few thoughts on this myself: Players constantly get upset when different aspects of their games get changed, and it makes sense. You spend a lot of time getting to know and getting to get good with one character, just for the developers to come around and change it on you. It’s frustrating. I want to advocate for the developers, saying that they are just trying to make the game as balanced as possible, but it’s difficult.

Once a developer publishes a game, the game is no longer theirs. The same idea applies to books and movies. The creators spend so much time, money and energy in order to create what it is that they are trying to create, and it can be a beautiful thing. However, once they release that to the public, they need to let it go. The public is going to do with it what they are going to do. They’re going to find their place inside of whatever it is that the creator has made.

Patching a glitch that allows a player to fly or have unlimited ammunition, that’s one thing; but to fundamentally change a game based off of the idea of “fairness” just doesn’t seem right to me. Nerfing a character that is massively too powerful, and players recognize it, that’s fine. If the players call for action, act. Those initial patches in the beginning that come as a result of massive audiences tweaking things, those make sense; no amount of play-testing can prepare you for when hundreds of thousands or millions of players are analyzing every aspect of your game. However, a certain amount of time passes where nerfing just isn’t right. Don’t release something you aren’t happy with.

I recognize that, as a creator, one rarely feels totally confident, and often feels little to no confidence at all; but, if the general reception to play-testing is positive, then go forward on that. Life is a series of successes and failures, but if you keep trying, then that in itself is a success that no one can dispute.

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