Overwatch's PTR Roadhog Changes Undo Hook 2.0
Posted on Friday, February 10 @ 14:00:00 PST by James_Kozanitis
As I've stated before numerous times, Roadhog is the most hated and most divisive hero in Overwatch, no contest. And, if it seems like I'm placing a disproportionate amount of coverage on Roadhog, that's because the Overwatch team is focusing a disproportionate amount of patch notes on Roadhog. He's undergone two major changes (probably about to be three) since October, meanwhile Widowmaker still has a 12-second cooldown on a freaking grappling hook.
Now, that might seem like a digression, but it actually leads me straight into the point of this article: Blizzard is taking entirely the wrong approach to balancing, and, if the PTR changes to the Roadhog stand, it will almost complete undo the coveted Hook 2.0.
In many ways (save for one very important, misguided change), Hook 2.0 was a positive and necessary change to both Roadhog and Overwatch as a whole, preventing his hook from hitting people he couldn't see and helping to address those who otherwise exploit its unintended potential.
It also had several positive effects on Roadhog, acting as a bit of a buff. His new hook now brought people in much closer (2 meters away from Roadhog to be exact), allowing him to one-shot people with 250 health, something he wasn't able to do without a headshot/critical hit before. It also made sure that, when you hook people up against a wall, or who are closer than the 2 meters, it wouldn't push them back or send them up down or sideway. It merely stunned the enemy for a half a second without moving them.
Well, in the PTR Hook, which many are dubbing "Hook 3.0," now places enemies 3.5 meters away, to help curb his one-shot potential. How this works practically is ... well, I'll just let you see for yourself.
Since Roadhog's hook now places someone 3.5 meters away, with seemingly no check to see if the hooked player is closer than that, it will potentially push someone up to 3.5 meters away, leading to things like the video above. Now, I don't want to overstate this. Using a hook to push people off ledges may just be a hilarious bug representing the unintended consequences of a change that is still be tested, and it's totally fair and reasonable to have those bugs.
But, this is a perfect microcosm for the flaws in the way Overwatch is balanced. Roadhog's hook was changed in the first place because people complained about his hook being broken. They fixed his hook being broken in Hook 2.0. Then, people complained about him being overpowered. Now, in the process of fixing his being overpowered (presumably), the Overwatch team had to undo a change they made to appease the first angry people. We'll be on Hook 10.0 before the year is out.
Even discounting the possible bug, they still changed the hook placement distance and then changed it back when people got upset. They did a similar thing with D.Va. D.Va got buffed after Halloween and was too good, so they nerfed her down to worse than where she was before she got the buff in the first place.
I have really enjoyed my time with Overwatch, but watching the game be balanced really makes me yearn for Dota 2's approach, which is to release sweeping balance changing patches maybe once or twice a year and leave it alone almost entirely while everyone figures it out. In the mean time, I'd bet on a Hook 3.1 hitting the PTR in a matter of days.
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