The Voidwalker Event is live in Apex Legends, along with a nerf to Wattson that has players fuming for being heavy handed and unnecessary. The changes were few, but significant: “Wattson will now have low profile attributes [takes %5 more damage to base health]”, and “Reduced the maximum number of Interceptor Pylons that can be active to 1." This seems simple at first, until one considers the context of the change among other characters and the current meta among teams.
Most would agree that while previous nerfs to overpowered characters are necessary and welcome to the meta, Wattson was in a perfectly fine spot and not overpowered. Earlier in the season, soon after her release into the game, Wattson was almost a guaranteed pick in order to bunker down with three pylons in a building, but this is less common now than before. Competitive player Tollis shared his thoughts on the nerf in a series of tweets.
@PlayApex Do I go on a wattson rant? Let’s get it. So for once all the clowns on Reddit actually agree that the wattson nerf was out of place and didn’t actually fix her problems so that’s a good sign. She is not a good character aside from hard camping and playing circle.— Tollis (@Tollis_) September 4, 2019
With regards to the 5% difference in damage taken following the nerf, there is now a 20% damage taken difference between Wattson and other defensive Legends. If Wattson had other methods to escape, or some increased mobility, this might not be a big deal; but she has nothing, and this makes her a sitting duck.
The real problems with Wattson are the same ones presented when she was first released: she can spam her fences to such a point that turtling is promoted at high levels of competitive play. One would think that this is what would be addressed, especially when watching any form of competitive matches for Apex Legends where some games devolve into camping and turtling. This is neither fun to watch as an esport or to replicate in casual games with friends.
Tollis, as well as a number of commentators online, all seem to echo the obvious: Wattson should have both a limit on how many fences can be set up and to how the timer works for the trophy so as to prevent camping. Rather than address the fundamental problem, Wattson is now simply a poor choice for casual players because of how quickly she will be eliminated, while her fundamental problems in competitive play remain untouched.
Unfortunately, there were no notes included with regards to the Wattson nerf in the formal announcement, so it is difficult to know exactly what the short and long-term goals are of the developers for Wattson. It would be nice to know exactly what the thought process was in this specific nerf, and if it was meant to shift something in casual or competitive play.