Box art - Overwatch

Overwatch 2.81 Update Patch Notes | Lunar New Year event and balance changes

The Overwatch 2.81 update patch notes are a little predictable for a game a few months away from its fourth anniversary. These notes contain the same Lunar New Year event with a few tweaks, mainly the animal at the forefront this year: the rat. But aside from that, these Overwatch patch notes contain some new balance changes, too. This update is (or will be very soon) available for all platforms.

Overwatch 2.81 Update Patch Notes | Lunar New Year event: Year of the Rat

Overwatch 2.81 Update Patch Notes | Lunar New Year event and balance changes

As was the case every year since 2017, Overwatch is once again running the Lunar New Year event with the appropriate animal. 2020 is the Year of the Rat.

ALSO: The Marvel’s Avengers delay by Square Enix is the right move

Blizzard, like the past bunch of events, won’t be changing the event much from last year. There are new cosmetics (which includes the skins you can see below) but it has the same stuff as last year: a Capture the Flag map with Lunar New Year decorations and a new CTF competitive season.

But there is one new addition with Capture the Flag Blitz. This is where the flags are closer together and now you need six captures to win instead of three.

Overwatch Lunar New Year Event 2020 Start Date

Like past events, this event will run from January 16 to February 5.

Overwatch 2.81 Update Patch Notes | Lunar New Year 2020 skins

There are new skins in this update. You can see the Overwatch Lunar New Year 2020 skins below. You can only get the Epic skins from the weekly events.

  • Face Changer Sombra (Legendary)
  • Opera Brigitte (Legendary)
  • Mask Dancer Moira (Legendary)
  • Samul Nori Lúcio (Legendary)
  • Monk Doomfist (Epic)
  • Ancient Bronze Winston (Epic)
  • Paper Cutting Wrecking Ball (Epic)

Overwatch 2.81 Update Patch Notes | Balance changes and Party Flex

There are quite a few balance changes in this patch too and they’re mostly nerfs. Baptiste’s Immortality Field can now only be out for five seconds max (down from eight) and its cooldown has been increased to 25 seconds (up from 20). His ultimate cost has also increased by 20%, meaning the meter will build more slowly and you won’t get it as much.

Mei also got some nerfs as her primary fire now reduces enemy movement from 20% to 70% instead of 30% to 90%, meaning that her targets won’t slow down as much. The slowing effect has also been reduced to one second (down from 1.5 seconds).

D.Va did see a buff as her boosters now have a cooldown of three seconds (down from five seconds), meaning she can boost a lot more frequently. Orisa, on the other hand, was nerfed as her Fortify now only reduces 40% and not 50%.

Doomfist’s Rising Uppercut now recovers in .35 seconds and not .2 seconds, meaning he will be locked in the air for longer without being able to move as fluidly. Hanzo was the last to get hit with the nerf hammer as his Storm Bow now can only reach a max speed of 110 (down from 125).

Now you can also select multiple roles while in a party together with Party Flex. This means you can easily switch roles between games without messing up everything.

Full Overwatch 2.81 Update Patch Notes


Get ready to celebrate the Year of the Rat!

This year, we’re celebrating Lunar New Year with new seasonal items including legendary skins like Face Changer Sombra, Mask Dancer Moira, Samul Nori Lúcio, and Opera Brigitte. Experience the third competitive season of our Capture the Flag mode, in addition to a brand new game mode called Blitz CTF.

To learn more about the new mode, click here.


Feature Update: Party Flex for Role Queue

Unsure of which role you want to play? Now, party members who queue for any game mode with Role Queue enabled can select multiple roles, indicating what they’re willing to play in the next game.

Your other party members’ role choices and Competitive Play skill ratings may affect which roles you are eligible to choose, or which role you can play. For example, if you selected all three roles (Tank, Damage, Healing) to indicate your willingness to play any of them, and then two other party members choose Support, you will not get to play Support in the next game.

Custom Game Options

The Lobby section of Custom Game Settings has a new option “Data Center Preference”. This option provides the game creator with more control over where the game will be hosted. The default “Best Available” choice automatically provides the creator with the best quality connection available to them. We only suggest choosing a specific datacenter if no single datacenter can simultaneously provide the best connection to all players. This is usually only the case when the players participating in the custom game are located in different geographic regions of the world.

Spectate and Replay Updates

  • Added a new hotkey, “Spectate toggle 3P camera side”, which changes the shoulder you’re looking over for the player you’re spectating while using the simple third-person spectator camera option
  • Added a new hotkey, “Toggle normal / simple 3P spectator camera”, which toggles between the two third-person camera modes while spectating
  • Updated the death camera to quickly shift from where you were looking to where your killer is, to make it easier to see if you were killed by someone behind you or to your side
  • Updated the simple third-person spectator camera position for several heroes to have them cover less of the screen
  • Fixed an issue that caused zooming in and out while in the simple third-person camera to appear choppy
  • Transitioning into or out of first person no longer causes the camera to clip inside the hero’s head
  • Fixed several camera smoothness and popping issues



Immortality Field

  • Maximum duration reduced from 8 to 5 seconds
  • Cooldown increased from 20 to 25 seconds

Amplification Matrix

  • Ultimate cost increased by 20%

Developer Comment: Immortality Field ended up being too powerful when placed in locations that were safe from enemy fire, such as around corners. Reducing its uptime will help address this case while remaining strong at saving teammates out in the open.


Endothermic Blaster (Primary Fire)

  • Slowing effect now reduces enemy movement speed from 20-70%, down from 30-90%
  • Slowing effect duration reduced from 1.5 to 1.0 second

Developer Comment: The slowing effect of Mei’s primary fire can sometimes feel too difficult to escape. Lowering the amount it slows by and the duration it lasts for will make it easier to react to. The time required to completely freeze a target remains the same.



  • Cooldown decreased from 5 to 3 seconds

Developer Comment: The lower cooldown on her mobility will enable D.Va to more readily swap between playing offensively and defensively.



  • Damage reduction reduced from 50% to 40%

Developer Comment: Orisa has been a little too difficult to deal with while Fortify is active, so we’re reducing the amount of damage reduction to give enemies more effective damage during this time.


Storm Bow (Primary Fire)

  • Maximum projectile speed reduced from 125 to 110

Developer Comment: The increased projectile speed Hanzo received in his rework ended up making his arrows too good at longer ranges. Decreasing the speed will reduce his sniping capability while still keeping him strong at mid-range.


Rising Uppercut

  • Recovery time increased from 0.2 to 0.35 seconds

Developer Comment: Rising Uppercut followed immediately by his primary fire is a little too effective of a combo on its own, so we’re increasing the time enemies have to react to it.



  • Fixed a bug that caused toggle crouch to work inconsistently when high precision mouse input is enabled
  • Fixed a bug that caused a small number of games containing very high-skill players to have greatly reduced SR gains and losses
  • Workshop
    • Fixed an issue preventing Go To Assemble Heroes from working in Assault and Hybrid
    • Fixed an issue preventing Sombra Dummy Bots from being able to hack health packs


Temple of Anubis

  • Fixed a bug where some heroes could get stuck behind one of the rocks outside of point B


  • Fixed a bug that could cause Wrecking Ball to become temporarily stuck when using his Piledriver in a specific location
  • Fixed a location where Doomfist could get stuck


  • Fixed a bug that allowed some players to stand on a wall near the final checkpoint
  • Fixed a bug that allowed Sombra’s Translocator and Baptiste’s Immortality Field to land in an unintended place between the stairs and wall near point A


  • Fixed a bug that caused the ivy growing on the wall between points A and B to block projectiles


  • Fixed a bug that could cause Winston and Sigma to become stuck between the wall, bridge, and gondola outside of Point A

Watchpoint: Gibraltar

  • Fixed a bug that caused Baptiste’s Immortality Field to disappear when thrown in a specific spot outside of the first Attacker’s spawn



  • Fixed a bug that could cause Immortality Field to not deploy or get destroyed while deploying in some situations


  • Fixed a bug that caused Mercy’s gold staff and pistol to disappear while using Valkyrie when viewing in 3rd person


  • Fixed a bug allowing players to swap heroes while using Recall


  • Fixed a bug that could cause Sigma’s shield to fail to deploy


  • Fixed a bug where destroying Symmetra’s teleporter during construction briefly allowed her to make another without going on cooldown