Before Blizzard rolls out huge updates to Overwatch, its immensely popular multiplayer shooter, they test those big changes first on the Public Test Region — a realm of the game built specifically so players can get a feel for those changes and offer the game's architects some crucial consumer feedback.
The post notes that, unlike other patches on the PTR, this one will likely undergo several iterations before making its way to the live version of the game.
In other words, things are about to get real imba real fast on that region — but that doesn't mean you should panic.
"We want to try a bunch of things and see whats fun and working and iterate more quickly from there," said Geoff Goodman, principal designer on Overwatch. "In this way, we get to have you guys involved earlier in the process."
Overwatch PTR Patch Notes
• Dealing damage to non-player characters, like Symmetra's turrets, no longer charges Ultimate abilities.
• Ultimate abilities cost 25% more across all heroes, meaning it will take longer to charge them.
• D.Va's HP while in her mech has increased by 100, and her movement speed while firing has been increased by 25%.
• Soldier: 76's bullet damage and maximum bullet spread have been increased slightly.
• Ana's Nano Boost no longer increases the movement speed of her target.
• Mei's Ultimate ability costs 15% more — even after the 25% increase across all characters.
• The healing-per-second provided by Lucio's Amp It Up has been decreased by 10%.
• The power gained from both of Zarya's barrier abilities has been decreased by 20%.
• The rate at which Torbjörn generates Scrap from fallen enemies has decreased by 40%, but he now automatically generates Scrap over time. Additionally, his Forge Hammer's damage has been decreased by 27%, but its swing speed has been increased by 25%.
The other big change affects the rate at which players level up.
In the current build of the game, players level up more quickly in the early levels of the game (between one and 23), but eventually need to gain 22,000 experience to level up in the later stages. Once players hit 100, they are "promoted" and their rank is reset to one, at which point they begin leveling up more quickly until they hit 23 once again.
However, on the PTR getting promoted will no longer reset that experience curve. Instead, players will need to accrue 20,000 experience to level up in the later stages of the game (down from 22,000), even after being promoted. According to the post, this is to prevent players from accruing tons of loot boxes at the start of an in-game event, like the ongoing Halloween Terror event.
And, despite confirmation from Overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan that Symmetra will be undergoing significant changes in the near future, the current patch on the PTR does not reflect any of those changes.
"Her changes ended up being much more significant and require more time to finish up," said Goodman. "But she's feeling pretty great internally so hopefully we can get her out there pretty soon."
Again, it's important to keep in mind that none of these modifications are final. Blizzard will be tweaking these changes based on analytics and player feedback before they go live.