Overwatch heroes all nerfs and buffs

Since release, Overwatch heroes have received 351 buffs and 199 nerfs.


I went through every single Overwatch patch note since launch and documented every change made to a hero, categorising it as either a buff or a nerf. Each bullet point change listed was copied into a spreadsheet under a heading of Buff or Nerf.

For example, this recent change to Orisa:

  • Base armor increased from 200 to 250
  • Protective Barrier health reduced from 900 to 600
  • Fortify cooldown decreased from 10 seconds to 8 seconds

This would be counted as 2 buffs and 1 nerf by my metric.

I used my judgement to exclude minor visual changes and changes which did not apply to competitive Overwatch (e.g. Lucio Capture the Flag nerfs). Bug fixes were excluded, only deliberate rebalancing under the “Hero Updates” section was considered.

Using this method I found that in total there have been 351 buffs given to heroes, and 199 nerfs.

Issues and Caveats

Obviously, this is a deeply imperfect measure of considering a history of buffs/nerfs to the game. Due to both their subjective nature, and the way a single change can have a large ripple through the rest of the hero pool, it is very difficult to weight the effect of a change to more fully understand the way Blizzard changes their game. My metric fails to account, for example, 1 large nerf being applied alongside 2 or 3 small buffs to compensate which might overall leave a hero weaker.

The patch notes provided by Blizzard were also not intended to be used this way, and their formatting and specificity has varied somewhat over the years.

Personal conclusions

Despite the flaws of this data collection, I think it does add weight to the current perception of power creep. I began this project because I was not personally convinced about the extent to which heroes have been powered up, but I have changed my opinion.

When I scroll through my data I see a great deal of damage increase, healing increase, added utility and cooldown reduction which contribute to a sense of frenzy found in the game which was not present at launch. Due to this increased healing, damage and utility (power) the game has now become more about overwhelming a target as quickly as possible, leaving a player less time to make decisions or counterplay.

I am not a statistician, nor a particularly talented player and I don’t seek to position myself as an authority, merely share something i found interesting.

My sheet (Very unorganised, as I didn’t originally intend to share this. Hero names aren’t included per change.)

Patch notes

This was taken from https://www.reddit.com/r/Competitiveoverwatch/comments/emxmap/since_release_overwatch_heroes_have_received_351/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf

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