Overwatch’s latest Public Test Realm update unintentionally nerfed Reaper, but Blizzard said that the issue has been noticed and will be fixed in an upcoming update.
Sharing a new round of changes to the PTR servers to be tested before they go live for all players, Blizzard said the spread randomization of Reaper’s Hellfire Shotguns had been reduced by 50 percent. Having less randomization when trying to eliminate a hero sounds like a positive change, especially when it’s seen next to a clear buff that increased Reaper’s lifesteal ability from 20 percent to 30 percent of damage dealt. However, some players who tested the changes on the PTR noticed that the first tweak was actually a nerf, not a buff.
Taking to the forums to make the issue known, an Overwatch player who tried the new Reaper on the PTR pointed out what was wrong with the would-be buff.
“Because the pellet randomization was reduced, reaper is actually taking more shots to kill enemies at a certain range,” the user explained. “On PTR, go to the practice range and stand 10m away from a bot. On the live servers Reaper will consistently kill the bot in 3 body shots. On the PTR it takes 4 shots. And this is all consistent. This means he takes more time to kill the enemy and does less DPS making his lifesteal buff completely ineffective. Killing squishy targets will be much harder now.”
Blizzard’s PTR patch notes that were shared recently indicated that the effect described above was the opposite intention of the change. The developer’s note included in the section about Reaper’s changes said that “more consistent spread pattern and increase in healing from his passive ability will make him more capable of standing toe-to-toe with his enemies,” though according to players’ accounts, that’s not currently the case.
Others agreed with the user’s sentiments and directed people towards that provided a visual for the issue. Within the same forums post, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan took notice of the discussion and said that Blizzard has already changed the spread pattern and bullet distribution of Reaper’s Hellfire Shotguns and will fix the issue in another PTR update.
“We’ve changed the spread pattern and adjusted the distribution of the bullets,” Kaplan said about the accidental Reaper nerf. “This will go to PTR with the next update. All of the changes to Reaper were done with the intention of making him more reliable. None were intended as nerfs.”
Overwatch’s future PTR update should fix the accidental Reaper nerf and will perhaps adjust other heroes before all the changes go live.