An update released on Overwatch‘s public test realm adjusted a handful of characters last week, including D.Va, who was nerfed to some degree. Blizzard has now provided some new insight into why D.Va’s tweaks were made.
Last week’s update did two things to D.Va: stripped her of some armor (but gave her more health) and lowered the damage of her weapons (but made the damage more consistent). Principal designer Geoff Goodman explained the rationale behind this in a new forum post.
“Keep in mind her spread didn’t actually change, but her shots ‘fill in’ her spread more evenly now, meaning her damage per shot is generally more consistent,” he said. “For example, in the video provided [here] from the live game, if you take that same shot multiple times you’ll see a greater diversity in damage results than you would on the PTR, because sometimes some of those bullets would just miss. Overall though, the change to her damage is intended to be a small nerf.”
In terms of the changes to her armor, Blizzard’s patch notes had said it felt as if she had no weakness previously. Goodman expounded on that, saying, “[T]he bottom line is she’s intended to be weaker vs. faster firing weapons (and shotguns), such as Reaper and Tracer. The game is a lot healthier when heroes have strengths and weaknesses versus other heroes.
“As she was, it was common to hear people ask, ‘What do I do about D.Va?’ People often would try to use Zarya or Roadhog, since they both have the potential to deal high damage and pierce her Matrix, but even those answers were marginal at best. Heroes like Reaper that are generally supposed to be good at taking down tanks weren’t very effective because of all the armor they had to get through. With lowered armor, she now has more legitimate counters and she still counters many heroes and abilities in the game, especially considering her Defense Matrix wasn’t touched.”
These changes to D.Va could still be adjusted again before the PTR update makes it into the live game. However, another PTR update this week only addressed the balance changes to Roadhog, Sombra, and Ana, so Blizzard may already be satisfied with where D.Va now stands. Goodman didn’t rule out the possibility, though he cautioned players not to expect the armor she lost to return.
“I understand that people feel like she may be too weak overall after these changes, and if that turns out to be the case we’ll look at helping her out,” he stated. “That said, that help isn’t likely to come back in the form of a bunch of armor, since that would just put us back the problems we had to begin with. We’ll be watching her impact closely after these changes.”