Overwatch 2's latest patch (opens in new tab) significantly changes two heroes at the center of the community's recent discussions around one-shot kills.
Sojourn and Roadhog have had their power reduced just enough to add more predictability to the most lethal parts of their kit. Roadhog's hook is no longer a death sentence and Sojourn's railgun shot will now charge at a slower, steady rate, unaffected by Mercy (opens in new tab) and other heroes' damage boosts.
While it's definitely a nerf to both heroes' ability to quickly kill their targets, it also makes their most lethal abilities more predictable—something Overwatch 2 has been desperately in need of. Getting hooked by a Roadhog or taking a duel with a Sojourn will have a different level of threat depending on which hero you're playing. If Overwatch 2 wants to preserve the fun of asymmetrical hero abilities, it has to give you room to use them in response to heroes like these, or swap to a hero that is better suited to fight them.
Here's the specific changes (out of the whole list) I'm talking about:
Roadhog's Chain Hook
- Chain Hook impact damage reduced from 30 to 5
- The enemy final position distance from Roadhog after being pulled increased from 3 to 4 meters
Roadhog's Scrap Gun
- Damage per pellet reduced from 6.6 to 6
- Recovery time reduced from 0.85 to 0.8 seconds
- Reload time reduced from 2 to 1.75 seconds
- Maximum ammo increased from 5 to 6
- Railgun energy gain is no longer based on damage done by primary fire. Each primary fire hit against an enemy player now grants 5 energy
This is a major change to the way Roadhog has always been played. With reduced hook damage, squishy DPS and support heroes are less vulnerable to a followup shot. The 4-meter leash also means Roadhog's prey will have more time to use a movement or protection ability to survive. His Scrap Gun shoots faster and has more ammo, too, so his ability to follow up on the hook is still possible, but will require some marksmanship aim. Sojourn's change has a similar effect: the slower, consistent rate of her railgun charge means each shot demands more thought and aim. It slows down both heroes and gives their targets a short window to respond.
Speaking live with streamers (opens in new tab) about today's patch notes, Overwatch 2 lead hero designer Alec Dawson said the team is taking a broader look at heroes that can effectively one-shot enemies, particularly those who can score quick kills by spamming shots before a proper team fight begins. "We like to look at it holistically, not so much just on that moment when the one-shot occurs, but rather, what was the risk of getting that, is there counter play available?" he said.
Specifically, Dawson brought up Widowmaker's health (which was increased in Overwatch 2) as a potential problem for anyone looking to jump her before getting sniped and the frustration of dying to a Junkrat spamming grenades down a chokepoint. Neither of these heroes have been changed today, but he said it's something the team is discussing.
For many, the issue with one-shots and a quick time-to-kill is the inability to respond or predict what is about to happen. Roadhog and Sojourn have dominated the meta in recent months partially because of their "all or nothing" combat loop—if Roadhog lands the hook or Sojourn hits a head, it's already over. Today's tweaks are the first steps toward slowing down Overwatch and creating the opportunity for counter-play.
It's very possible that a slightly weaker Roadhog will eject him from the meta. Roadhog's whole thing is the one-shot hook combo and without that to rely on, his inability to protect his team could make him a target for the high rank Competitive players looking for something to blame for a loss. I'm not sure it's a problem Blizzard can prevent, but incremental changes like these help push the hero in the right direction without completely changing how they work.
"A lot of our changes aren't about data, they're about frustration points," Dawson said of the team's approach to changes like Roadhog's in the patch today. The team plans to compensate the nerfs to his one-shot hook combo with some sort of utility he can bring to his team in the future, but the goal is to take a light approach to start. Other heroes, like Sombra and Ramattra will get the same treatment soon. "We wanna make sure we don't basement heroes completely."