“That’s a nice ult you’ve got there,” Blizzard essentially said when it changed the way Overwatch ult interruptions work last month. “It’d be a shame if something were to happen to it.”
Ever since the big Halloween update on 10 October, Overwatch’s ults have worked a little differently than they used to. Prior to the update, dying or getting stunned as you used your ult would deplete some, but not all, of your ult charge. Now, death of the body means death of the ult meter as well—your entire ult charge now disappears upon death. In addition, many ults now end the instant you die or get stunned, even when they involve projectiles that should, if we’re applying principles of realism to a world full of cyborg ninjas and Bowiemancers, continue flying forward and detonating.
This can lead to some pretty glaring weirdness. In the clip below, courtesy of Squidbit, Mei’s ult disappears after it’s been thrown.
In this play by eskaNot, D.Va calls down her mech, only to get hooked by a Roadhog, forcing her to watch as her mech vanishes into the ether along with her entire ult charge:
This instance is indicative of another problem players have with the new ult interruption system: some characters are significantly more affected by losing their whole ult charge than others. Blizzard seemingly made this change in response to complaints that some characters, such as Genji, didn’t suffer enough for dying or getting stunned mid-ult, but now some characters have to deal with the opposite problem.
“I can understand losing a bit of ult for a badly timed [Lucio] Sound Barrier, but 100% of it gone is garbage because you’re so vulnerable,” a player named pandapoops2 said in a huge thread about ult cancels on Reddit. “Immediately losing all ult charge on every hero is garbage because it’s not the same for everyone. One size fits all was NOT the solution whatsoever.”
“At first I thought it was fine just because, you know, to be fair to everyone,” said a player named AzshFayd on Overwatch’s forums, “but Tracer/Mei/Hanzo/Lucio/Rein losing their ult charge when it’s clearly gone off is BS.”
Sometimes, Overwatch players warm to controversial changes after they’ve been in the game for a bit, but a month later, this one is subject to more scrutiny than ever. I reached out to Blizzard to ask if it’s re-evaluating ult cancels, but as of publishing, I had yet to receive a response.