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Overwatch Patch Adds MVP Skin and Priority Queue

Aaron Alford

The latest retail patch for Overwatch was released on Tuesday. Most notably it added the brand new 2019 Overwatch League MVP Skin, Alien Zarya. The patch also added the new priority re-queue feature, brought back the Competitive Open Queue mode we were promised back in May, and instituted hero balance changes for Echo, Genji, and Hanzo.


The patch also brought hero balances and the return of Competitive Open Queue to the Arcade. (Photo courtesy Blizzard)

OWL MVP Alien Zarya Skin

In celebration of the 2019 OWL MVP, Jay “Sinatraa” Won, the Overwatch team released a special alien skin for Zarya. During the height of GOATs in 2019, Sinatraa was one of the best Zarya players in the world. His sheer dominance on the hero helped the San Francisco Shock dominate the regular season and eventually win the 2019 OWL World Championship.

The new skin looks like it came straight out of a 1980’s science fiction movie. The alien creature sports glowing pink tentacles instead of hair, has bright green eyes, and carries a slick futuristic version of Zarya’s particle cannon. On top of those incredible details, the alien is dressed up in a Men In Black style suit; black tie and all.

Like it or hate it, it is one of the most unique skins ever added into Overwatch. It’s just a shame that Sinatraa retired from Overwatch before we got to see him use it. Perhaps he will come back to the game long enough to at least try out the skin made in his honor.

Priority Re-queue Added

A priority queue was added to Overwatch for players whose games collapse unexpectedly. The new feature will add players to a priority re-queue after collapsed games, which should help those players get back into a game more quickly than if they were added back to the normal queue. When in the re-queue, a small icon will appear on the Overwatch interface.

Before this feature was added, when playing competitive modes, if a player left within the first couple minutes of a match, the match was cancelled and everyone was sent back to the bottom of the queue. This made collapsed matches an incredibly frustrating experience, especially for high level players and DPS players who face disproportionately long queue times. This new system will hopefully alleviate some of the frustration that comes with cancelled competitive matches.

Competitive Open Queue Season Two

In Tuesday’s patch, the Overwatch team also brought back Competitive Open Queue for its second season in the Arcade. The mode is expected to be in the Arcade tab for the next couple of weeks, before eventually being fully integrated into the competitive queue card. Once it is implemented into the competitive card, players will be prompted to choose between role queue and open queue when they select the competitive mode.

The Overwatch team is hoping that the permanent Competitive Open Queue mode will help reduce queue times for DPS players. In a developer update released in May, Jeff Kaplan stated: “We think [the addition of open queue] will improve queue times, because there are a lot of people who want to play damage characters in 2-2-2 role queue. A lot of them are attracted to the open queue, which can take some of the pressure off the queue times.”

Hero Updates

The range for Echo’s Focusing Beam was reduced from 20 to 16 meters. The patch notes indicated that the ability felt, “too long-ranged given how lethal it has the potential to be.” This change will force Echo players to take a greater risk and get closer to their target if they want to deal damage with their Focusing Beam ability.

Genji received multiple buffs in Tuesday’s patch. His Shuriken primary fire damage was increased from 28 to 30 damage and his Shuriken secondary fire spread was reduced from 12 to nine. His Deflect ability’s duration was increased from one and a half seconds to two seconds, and the ability can now be cancelled. These changes are focused around increasing Genji’s impact at close range. Genji has been out of the meta for a while now, hopefully these improvements to his damage and survivability will help make him viable again.

The damage for Hanzo’s Storm Arrow’s was reverted back from 60 to 70. The patch notes explained that the  previous reduction in damage to 60 combined with the nerf to his projectile speed decreased Hanzo’s effectiveness more than they had intended.

The final hero update was a small one. Orisa had her “Halt” sound effect volume increased.