Overwatch fans are divided over the decision to play Stage 4 of the Overwatch League on Patch 1.22 rather than 1.23.
It means that a number of changes won’t be implemented for the upcoming esports Stage, most notably the introduction of Hanzo’s rework. Brigitte will be available, but in her pre-Shield Bash-nerf state.
League commissioner Nate Nanzer has released a statement in an attempt to explain the decision to angry fans.
The Hanzo changes won’t be in Stage 4 of OWL, meaning he’ll only be used in a few situations
‘Recently there’s been a lot of discussion as to which patch Stage 4 of the Overwatch League will – and should – be played on, 1.22 or 1.23,’ wrote Nanzer.
‘The league and the developers share the goal of Overwatch League play being on the latest patch possible, with certain exceptions.’
Before OWL started, Nanzer told Mail Esports that patches will only be applied to League play in between Stages. He said bringing in big changes in the middle of the Stage means the pros aren’t faced with surprises in the middle of competition.
‘That’s why the patch that reworked Mercy, which went live in Stage 1, didn’t appear in Overwatch League until Stage 2,’ Nanzer’s statement continued.
Of course, the patch with the changes to Hanzo and more is already live, leaving many wondering why it won’t be used in Stage 4, which starts tonight.
‘Another reason is it we feel a new hero, or a significantly reworked hero, hasn’t been available for our teams to practice long enough in advance of the start of the stage,’ said Nanzer.
With new Hanzo being available for two weeks, and even before that on the PTR, it begs the question of how long professional players need to practice with him before he’s available for pro play.
Brigitte will finally be available for play in the Overwatch League, but she might be too good
It’s the final reason from Nanzer that makes the most sense when it comes to playing the Overwatch League matches on an older patch.
‘Tournament stability is a third reason. A potential bug exists in patch 1.23 which inhibits the ability to accurately resume play on an escort map should a pause or disconnect occur. (It should be noted that the Overwatch League version of any patch is distinct from the live patch.)’
Pauses are fairly rare in OWL matches, but they do happen from time to time if one of the players has a problem or there’s something wrong with the game.
‘The developers have been working hard to find a fix, in time for Overwatch League players to prepare, but thus far they have been unable to do so, to the degree of certainty that we require for the league,’ said Nanzer.
‘As such, given the paramount importance of tournament stability, Stage 4 will be played on patch 1.22.’
So, we’ll have five more weeks of old Hanzo, and a potentially overpowered Brigitte. It remains to be seen if the new patch will be implemented for the OWL playoffs, which culminate in the grand finals at the Barclays Center in New York from July 27-28.
Stage 4 of the Overwatch League kicks off tonight at midnight BST when the Los Angeles Gladiators take on the San Francisco Shock, two teams which have improved greatly since the start of the season.
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