April Fools’ Day is always subject to a bevy of parody news announcements and fun short-lived patches. This year, Overwatch experimental mode is getting in on the fun.
Overwatch is Blizzard’s extremely popular hero shooter that sees teams of six players each picking from a wide roster of characters to battle it out in objective-based matches. Each character falls into either the Tank, DPS, or Healer categories, and comes with a full kit of different attacks, passive and active abilities, and a very powerful ultimate ability. Overwatch frequently receives balance updates to shake up the game’s meta and make sure that no character is too overly powerful, and tests the changes before they go live in an experimental mode so that players can provide feedback.
In the newest update to the experimental mode that went live today, the changes are pretty crazy for some April Fools’ fun. Some of the changes are not too drastic, like Overwatch‘s punch-crazy hero Doomfist’s Rocket Punch being able to travel upward or Echo’s Duplicate ability having its duration doubled from 15 to 30 seconds. Others are a bit more extreme. Hanzo’s Storm Arrows now ricochet off the environment, while Junkrat can have three steel traps down at a time. Perhaps the largest change comes to Mei, who has been moved to the Tank role while having her character size increased by 15% and her health bolstered from 250 to 400.
While these changes are much more severe than normally found in Overwatch‘s Experimental Mode, each change comes with some tongue-in-cheek commentary from the developers that somewhat explains where they were coming from with the changes. The changes are focused primarily on making every hero more powerful and exaggerating their abilities and roles within the game to make the matches more chaotic and crazy. While some of the changes are crazier than others, such as Winston’s Barrier Projector now converting any enemy damage it blocks into ultimate charge, others are more focused on rewarding player skill, such as McCree’s Peacekeeper refunding one ammo every time he lands a headshot.
The update seems like a lot of fun for players to goof around with and mix up the usual Overwatch experience. The update is also a bit more involved than many April Fools’ Day jokes are in the games industry, so it is a nice treat from the developers to put resources into making a special mode for the day. Blizzard has done a great job keeping up with Overwatch over the years, and hopefully, it continues to do some more fun events when Overwatch 2 eventually launches.
Overwatch is available now on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.