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Ana Patch Impressions

Overwatch Columns - By Michael Bitton on July 20, 2016

Ana Patch Impressions

Blizzard’s latest Overwatch patch brings with it the first new post-launch character release in Ana, a new support character with some interesting twists. The patch also makes some significant changes to a number of characters on the roster, which may really shake things up in the meta over the coming weeks.

Ana

Ana is a hard character to try and place with a first impression. Her primary form of damage is also her primary form of healing. Bullets fired from her biotic rifle will heal allies shot and will damage enemies (along with a DoT). Ana can’t get headshots, so support oriented players like myself who aren’t such great shots to begin with can take solace in the fact that we can go for body shots all day. Even so, this is a significant burden of skill when it comes to healing that other supports don’t have to worry about.  It can be pretty anxiety inducing to find an ally in a precarious situation only to miss my shot and be unable to save them. If you are a decent shot, though, Ana can definitely pump out some healing power. Thankfully, the tanks all have huge hitboxes so it’s pretty easy to at least keep them alive.

Ana also comes with some significant crowd control capabilities. Her sidearm is equipped with a sleeping dart that will put enemies to sleep for six seconds. Of course, this is a sleep, not a hard stun, so if the enemy takes damage they will wake up, but it’s still a very potent tool in the right situations.

Another game changing ability is Ana’s biotic grenade. Like her rifle, this grenade will heal allies (with the bonus of giving them a buff to healing received for a duration) and damage her enemies simultaneously (while also applying a debuff that prevents healing for a duration). This grenade can really swing a team fight if both your allies and enemies are caught in its admittedly small radius. Being able to neutralize enemy healing while buffing the potency of healing your allies receive at the same time is simply brutal.

Finally, Ana’s ultimate, Nano Boost, is a massive steroid for a single ally. This ability grants an ally a temporary boost to speed, damage, and damage resistance. This ability can produce some absolutely disgusting results if paired with certain characters.

At this point, I feel like Ana will probably show up as a second support in most games, rather than a primary. I can’t see Ana displacing the reliable heals offered by Mercy and Lucio as a main support, but she could offer the right tools for the job in certain scenarios.

Zenyatta

This formerly overpowered and Blizzard style nerfed into oblivion support character is now back to form. Zenyatta’s improved all around with buffs to his durability, the usability of his orbs (much easier to apply now), some damage buffs, and a massive increase to the heal-over-time and speed boost provided by his ultimate, Transcendence.  I’m not Zenyatta expert, but I can’t see how any of these buffs wouldn’t go over well with fans of the character. Zenyatta’s Orb of Discord is still as disgusting as it’s always been, but now he can apply his always significant damage output without as much fear of dying. Orbs in general are easier to use due to the massive improvement on their speed of application, and Zenyatta should feel more useful in clutch moments with the increase in potency of his ultimate. Will he still remain a niche pick? Or can Zenyatta now roll with the likes of Mercy and Lucio as a main support character? It’s hard to say just yet, but I’m more inclined to think he’ll fit in the same category as Ana, even with the new buffs.

D.Va

D.Va’s buffs put her in a pretty good spot in between the more fully defensive and offensive tanks on the roster. D.Va’s Defense Matrix now runs off of a charge meter as opposed to a cooldown and can be deployed for a full four seconds from full charge (with 10s required to charge to full from empty). This allows D.Va the flexibility to deploy her Defense Matrix whenever it’s needed, hugely impacting her ability to support her team and even get into range to deal damage. D.Va also received a buff to her ultimate, reducing the time it takes for her mech to exploded from four seconds to three. This may not sound like a lot, but it makes all the difference in being able to rack up kills now.

McCree

McCree was problematic, but overnerfed (it is Blizzard, after all), and so the pendulum swings once again. McCree can now do significant damage with his primary fire at longer ranges, which I’m not really sure I agree with. McCree should be potent in the short to mid range, trading his increased range for his lack of mobility, but I feel Blizzard may have overbuffed him here with the changes to damage on his primary fire. We’ll have to wait and see how this one plays out.

Mercy

Initially, Mercy was to receive both a significant nerf and buff with this patch. Blizzard planned on increasing her damage boost beam from the 30% buff it provides now to 50%, but this turned out to be a lot more potent than anticipated. Unfortunately, instead of finding some sort of middle ground, Blizzard reverted the change altogether. Mercy did receive some minor buffs with this patch, however. She can now move during her ultimate, which should help save her from dying when flying into a pile of bodies to rez. Mercy’s ultimate now also refreshes the cooldown on her Guardian Angel, which combined with the previous change, can allow her to dive into the fray, rez, and fly back out if she’s got a valid target.

What did these buffs cost her? Well, a 30% increase in the time to charge her ultimate and the inability to stack Mercy buffs with other Mercy’s. The first nerf there makes me a sad Mercy main, but it’s also understandable given how fast Mercy’s ultimate would charge. The second nerf is basically negligible since no one really did this much anyways. All in all, Mercy should be fine, but I’m still sad whenever she gets hit with the nerf bat.

What are your first impressions of the new patch? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager.