For April Fool’s Day 2021, Blizzard has celebrated by patching all playable heroes in the game with wacky, over-the-top buffs, nerfs, and changes.
The developers of Overwatch are no stranger to changing their heroes around, but the recent April Fool’s update might be the largest (and silliest) in the game’s history. Characters like Symmetra, Hanzo, and Sombra have gotten entire reworks that fundamentally change how they play. These changes are either first revealed in the Public Testing Region (PTR) or Experimental Mode. For April 1st only, the latter is hosting massively changed versions of all playable heroes.
Typically, the Experimental Mode offers players a chance to try alternatives to the typical Overwatch formula. For instance, this is where the dev team first implemented a “Triple Damage” lineup for Overwatch, limiting the number of players in the Tank role to one. In exchange, each Tank hero gained additional abilities to make them viable in this setting. In March, the Overwatch League hosted the “Flash Ops Experimental Card Tournament,” where professionals tested out some of the odd changes in a competitive setting.
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The free April Fool’s update’s biggest change (literally) belongs to former Damage character Mei. According to the Overwatch patch notes, her size has been increased by 15% to accommodate her new position in the Tank role. This comes alongside a sizable extra 150 health, buffing her HP to 400. While role changes have happened in official updates, such as Symmetra being moved from Support to Damage in her rework, this is a clear stab at players who find Mei too “tanky” in her current condition.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Bastion. Considered a powerhouse of raw DPS in Overwatch that’s easy to counter, Blizzard has responded by decreasing its size by 15%. He’s also lost the weapon spread in his “Recon” form. Support hero Ana’s Ultimate ability, Nano Boost, now boosts both a target on her team and herself. Two characters on a team with reduced damage taken and additional damage dealt? Seems perfectly balanced.
And those are just a small sample of the changes available in the Experimental Mode. The changes allow the likes of Reaper, Zenyatta, and Sigma to fly through the skies. Hanzo’s lost Scatter Arrow is replaced by a version of his current ability, Storm Arrow, can now ricochet off walls. McCree’s Ultimate is no longer limited to just one tumble. And Sombra’s changes are so weird they have been redacted altogether.
Considering last year’s April Fool’s joke was adding googly eyes to all the heroes, these joke patch notes feel like a much more substantial prank. It’s also entirely possible that some of these joke changes could be implemented into the live game in the future. With Overwatch 2 on the horizon, perhaps the developers will consider some of these changes when updating the hero kits. If Roadhog is the next hero to fly when the Overwatch sequel drops, players will know where to turn their ire.
More: Overwatch 2: Every New Character & Hero Design Coming (So Far)
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