...or if there's something else coming down the pipes that I'm completely unaware of. In any event, for those of you not following changes to the PTR, among several hero updates Tracer's ultimate (Pulse Bomb) has had its damage reduced from 400 to 300, with the reason that it should allow tanks to have a better chance to survive the ultimate while still making it potentially lethal against other, non-tank targets.
On the face of things, this appears to be a relatively minor change to Tracer's kit, and on the whole of things her kit is still rather strong. There are some additional factors that are not immediately apparent and need some thought and testing, however.
- While the explosion range is quite small (3 meters), the Pulse Bomb does have falloff damage, consequently unless the Pulse Bomb sticks directly to the intended target, it now has even less chance to successfully kill the target.
- As a side-effect of this decreased falloff, surrounding targets are less likely to die even when grouped fairly close together, reducing the potential efficacy of the ultimate.
- Tracer has been steadily losing usefulness as a result of other, indirect nerfs in the form of:
a. Sombra's reduced hack speed, resulting in greater frequency of being hacked and consequently turned into a sitting duck.
b. The introduction of a counter-dive hero (Brigitte) and her shield-bash ability which is effectively a hard counter to Tracer.
c. Brigitte's armor pack and Rally ultimate, which make it more difficult for Tracer to successfully kill enemy heroes on Brigitte's team.
I've been scratching my head lately trying to figure out why I am struggling to improve my Overbuff rating in Quick Play, and I think I may have struck on the reason why (specifically, issue # 3 above). It's worth noting that at this time Brigitte is not available as a playable hero in ranked mode, and Tracer's nerf has only just recently reached the PTR and therefore is unlikely to go live during season 10 (and is not yet affecting Quick Play). I think it's safe to say that playing Tracer is only going to get worse once this nerf goes into effect, possibly that she will end up becoming a niche pick or only used during certain circumstances such as stalling on defense.
As part of this realization, it is my intention to continue maining Tracer and changing my playstyle to acommodate these changes. In short, I believe the best way to play Tracer in the future is to spend more time with the team and less time alone. When alone, Tracer players should also use her abilities wisely to survive the enemy, and worry less about getting picks.