Venetian ‘Rialto’ payload map is now live in ‘Overwatch’

A new escort map set in Venice, Italy, is live in Blizzard’s hero shooter Overwatch. Players will recognize Rialto as the setting of the special Retribution co-operative mode during the recent Archives event (the renamed recurrence of last year’s Uprising special event).  The map is now set during the day instead of the night, and rather than gunning down Talon soldiers, players will be escorting a payload through three checkpoints.

As dramatized during Retribution, Rialto is the base of operations for Antonio Bartalotti, a major Talon operative that Overwatch’s Gabriel Reyes assassinated rather than their planned kidnapping, which was an important turning point in his journey to becoming the sinister, tank-shredding Reaper. Because of the Venetian setting, the map, of course, features canals and Omnic-piloted gondolas which players can ride. This is the first map added to the game since the hybrid Blizzard World, and is a major return to Overwatch lore. It is available in Quick Play, Arcade, and Custom games, but will be added to the Competitive rotation at a later, unspecified date.

The map comes along with a patch that includes several important changes to characters. Most significantly, the archer Hanzo’s controversial Scatter Arrow ability has at last been removed. In its place is an ability called Storm Arrows, which allows him to fire five arrows in quick succession. Additionally, Hanzo received a new horizontal leap ability akin to his brother Genji’s double jump and a variety of other tweaks, like increased projectile speed and more frequent use of his Sonic Arrow. In all, Hanzo, a notoriously difficult character to play well, should be more consistent in skilled hands, while also removing his ability to frustratingly one-shot tanks with Scatter Arrow.

Junkrat and Tracer also received minor nerfs, as well as the brand new Brigitte, whose Shield Bash stun ability has had its cone reduced from 90 degrees in front of her to 60. That’s totally fair, because it’s a wildly powerful ability to stun characters on such a short cooldown. Brigitte is newly available in Competitive play for season 10, which just began. All of these changes promise to shake up the Overwatch metagame, which is always an interesting and ongoing evolution. Up next, the developers have promised to overhaul the builder characters Symmetra and Torbjörn, who have long struggled to find relevance at higher levels of play, despite dedicated fans.

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