Overwatch introduces new game modes, hero improvements, and more

The upcoming changes to Overwatch’s Mercy and D.Va heroes have been the source of heated debate for many players since their arrival to the game’s public test realm servers last week. The changes, which heavily revamp the two heroes’ core abilities, will fundamentally alter the way they’re played and, as such, the role they take in competitive gameplay. It might be because of the significance of these changes that they’ve been left out of Blizzard’s most recent update for Overwatch.

RELATED: More Overwatch changes include a totally revamped Mercy

Instead, the sizable patch will bring the highly-anticipated Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch game modes, numerous minor changes to both existing heroes and competitive play, and a wealth of bug fixes and performance improvements.

Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch

Overwatch has always been a team-based game with an emphasis on working together to overcome the enemy, which is perhaps why these new game modes will only be appearing in Arcade. They follow fairly traditional archetypes, too; in Deathmatch, eight players compete to be the first to earn 20 points. One point is awarded for defeating an enemy, while one is subtracted for committing suicide via environmental damage or their own weapons.

Team Deathmatch, meanwhile, follows similar rules with two exceptions: Players are now on two teams of four players each, and the objective is now 30 points. If a player is killed and then resurrected by Mercy, the point awarded to the enemy team will then be deducted to account for this.

The two game modes will take place on a variety of existing maps, including:

  • Hanamura
  • Horizon Lunar Colony
  • Temple of Anubis
  • Volskaya Industries
  • Dorado
  • Eichenwalde
  • Hollywood
  • King’s Row
  • (TDM Only) Black Forest
  • (TDM Only) Castillo
  • (TDM Only) Ecopoint: Antarctica
  • (TDM Only) Necropolis

There’s also an entirely new one called “Château Guillard,” which is described as a large estate previously owned by Widowmaker’s late family.


Hero Changes


  • His tire now moves 30% faster, which brings the previously easily-countered ultimate ability back in line with Overwatch’s other heroes in terms of effectiveness.
  • Junkrat now has access to two concussion mines, rather than just one. A developer comment explained this as a means to add “some much-needed flexibility and versatility to his kit.”


  • Orisa’s Fusion Driver, her primary weapon, has had its projectile speed increased by 20% to increase its effectiveness.
  • Her Barrier has seen increases to both its size and shape. It’s now 20% larger and has been improved to protect its wielder from targets at a lower elevation.


  • Following the possibly heavy-handed nerfs to Roadhog’s hook and shotgun, he’s now had some improvements “Take a Breather” healing ability. It can now be used while moving and will decrease incoming damage by 50% while using it.


  • Widowmaker’s Grappling Hook has had its cooldown reduced from 12 seconds down to 8. This change will likely make the villainous sniper a far more slippery target to aggressive counter heroes like Winston.
  • Her Venom Mine now not only damages enemies, but also makes them visible through walls to Widowmaker, thus allowing her to effectively track nearby targets.

Competitive Play


The previously announced changes to competitive play have now come into effect. Competitive seasons will now only last two months instead of three, while control maps will be handled via a best-of-3 mode rather than best-of-5. This also means more competitive points for each victory, a reduced skill rating decay, and a couple of minor changes to how matchmaking works for higher-rated players.

For an in-depth summary of all of the changes included in this Overwatch update, check out the full developer post on the forums.

Jordan is an avid writer from Kennesaw, Georgia, where he's currently pursuing a Masters in Professional Writing. In his spare time he's also an amateur cook, gaming enthusiast, and blogger. Jordan graduated from Kennesaw State University in the Spring of 2017.
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