A new patch hit the Overwatch PTR last night which has introduced some big changes for Hanzo. Not only does his Storm Bow now charge 10% more quickly, he’s now able to engage with enemies immediately after wall climbing. Not enough buffs for you? His charged-up arrows now persist through a wall-climb manoeuvre too.
It's pretty tasty stuff on paper, but bow does this all feel to play though? Well, we’ve given him a thorough testing on the PTR today, and in our opinion he’s now as good as broken.
Here’s why we think he’s utterly overpowered in his current state.
His bow charges up too quickly
Thanks to Hanzo’s stronger bow arm, his ability to rapidly propel arrow after arrow is nothing short of obnoxious for the enemy heroes. Blizzard wanted to give him a healthy boost in DPS, perhaps thinking that he couldn’t quite match the damage output of the other defensive heroes. Fair enough, given that many of these characters could use a tweak or two.
Maybe they felt he was too unreliable when it came to making an impact on the game. If that’s the case, this change makes him the deciding factor in just about any given encounter.
We were able to hurl arrows into chokes at a blistering pace, breaking shields and dealing ridiculous amounts of damage wherever we aimed. Although very aggressive Tracers and Genjis would spell a rapid end for us, landing one delightful dink gave us all the fighting chance we needed.
Taking a step back from individual rounds, every game on the PTR currently feels like ‘good Hanzo versus bad Hanzo’ although let’s keep in mind that this is a testing phase and things can be tuned down as well as up. Blizzard only has to lower this buff slightly to make him bearable to play against - but that needs to happen before Hanzo hits the live game.
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Insta-attacking after a wall climb is unnaturally powerful
Climbing a wall and instantly having your bow to hand is Blizzard’s way of giving Hanzo’s Wall Climb ability more than just a mobility flavour. Instead of simply using it to reach sniping spots in order to prepare for battle, we’ve been able to use this vertical space in a frightening number of creative ways.
It enhances his role as a sniper to an imbalanced degree, allowing him to assume position, attack and then retreat in such a rapid fashion that he appears invulnerable. It allowed us to play an extremely offensive and defensive role simultaenously and without apparent penalty. We’ll qualify this further by making it clear that we are by no means Hanzo mains with a lot of experience under our belts!
Put simply, there needs to be some kind of bow draw time put back into place, otherwise Hanzo’s kill potential will remain imbalanced, and without risk of penalty to the hero.
Pre-loading a charge before a wall climb is too overpowered
Charging up an arrow, then climbing a wall before unleashing the shot just doesn’t feel right as a mechanic, and this feels like a case of Blizzard trying to solve two problems with one rather clumsy mechanical fix. It compounds the problem outlined above even further.
It gave us an unfair advantage where we could pre-load an arrow, climb a ledge and instantaneously register a killing blow before our opponent could even acknowledge our presence and have the chance to make a meaningful counterplay. It’s a change that seems unnecessary.
If things remain as they are, even the greenest Hanzo player is going to be able to make a significantly greater impact in any match.
Here are some quick tips for playing the new Hanzo which will help you dominate the enemy team in pretty short order.
- Make much greater use of your Wall Climb ability. Now that your bow draws faster after using it, you can use it for greater survivability without compromising on your offensive potential.
- When evading enemies, make yourself a harder target by frequently clambering up walls.
- With a little practise you can use Wall Climb like Widowmaker’s Grappling Hook and gain some air time. This will give you brief windows of opportunity to bag lucky eliminations from right across the map.
- Do not be afraid to spam away at Reinhardt and Orisa shields - particularly on chokes - faster than ever before. You’ve plenty of opportunity to fire off fully-loaded shots.
- Make charging your arrow before wall climbing second nature, as it allows you to focus on your shot and get it off faster.
- The practise range is your friend for mastering all of the above. Use it!