'Overwatch' Armor vs. Health vs. Shields: D.Va nerf from the PTR update explained

Blizzard Entertainment

A new patch recently hit Overwatch's public test realm, ushering in several changes to the Overwatch character roster, including nerfs for Roadhog, Ana and D.Va. D.Va's nerf is a bit confusing if you're not familiar with how the different types of health — like standard health, shields and armor — function. 

Here's a quick rundown of the differences between each kind of health in Overwatch so you understand what impact the D.Va nerf has.

D.Va Nerf: What the Overwatch PTR patch update changed

First, let's discuss exactly what changes Blizzard made to D.Va on the PTR. According to the patch notes, her overall health pool remains unchanged at 600, but the ratio of armor health to regular health has been swapped. Her regular health was raised from 200 to 400 and her armor was lowered from 400 to 200.

OK, onto what that all means!

Overwatch Armor vs. Health vs. Shields: Explaining the difference

There are three types of health a character can have in Overwatch: Regular health, shields and armor. Here's a full breakdown of how they function, according to the Overwatch Wiki.

Standard health — which is colored white when you're looking at a character's health bar — in Overwatch behaves exactly as you'd expect. In order to recover standard health, you need to receive healing from another character or pick up a health pack. Easy. The one exception to this rule is Mercy, who has a bar completely made up of standard health which recharges over time as a way to make up for her relative defenselessness.

Shield health — colored blue — functions like regular health, except it regenerates on its own over time if you don't take damage for three seconds. Zarya, Zenyatta and Symmetra are examples of characters who have shield health.

Zarya's health bar is made up partially of shields, which regenerates over time.  Blizzard Entertainment

Armor health — colored yellow — is the most complicated of the three. It reduces incoming damage by half, up to a maximum of five points per projectile. This impacts certain characters more than others. 

Characters who deal damage with multiple projectiles that do small damage individually have the hardest time against armor. For example, Reaper shoots a blast of tiny projectiles, each of which deal little damage on their own. Each one of those projectiles has their damage decreased by 50%. And, since they don't do much damage to begin with, they don't exceed that cap of five points. So the overall effectiveness of his shots against armor is decreased by about 50%.

However, someone like Hanzo is much less hindered by armor. For example, if he shoots a single arrow that would deal 200 damage to regular health, it'll still deal 195 damage to armor.

Reinhardt and D.Va are examples of characters that have armor health. Armor does not regenerate over time.

Overwatch PTR Patch Update: What does this mean for D.Va?

The nerf to D.Va on the PTR makes her more vulnerable to characters like Reaper, who previously had a much harder time getting through all 400 of her armor. Now, they only have 200 armor to get through before they start doing their normal amount of damage to the white portion of her health bar. It's unclear exactly how much this will impact D.Va's overall effectiveness as a character, but Blizzard will hopefully be monitoring feedback and adjusting her as necessary if it feels too drastic.

More Overwatch news, updates, tips and tricks

For more on Overwatch, check out the rest of what Mic has to offer. Here is the latest rumor of a Terry Crews-voiced Overwatch character, an update on that Mei ice wall exploit, hilarious video of a play of the game involving the jump pad on Oasis, a roundup of the best Overwatch plays of the week, our definitive ranking of every Overwatch hero and a giant Overwatch FAQ for beginners.