I know by the time this is posted there will be many posts about how Bastion is overpowered or not fun to play against. However that is not what this post is about, even though the Bastion changes may be what influenced me to talk about this issue.
I think the issue is not seeing enough passes done in PTR before an update goes live. By passes I mean changes being made based on testing and feedback. From what I can gather just by playing the game and talking to people, not many players were looking forward to the Bastion changes. It even became a sarcastic phrase that commonly came up, usually after a player did well as Bastion before he was changed: "Can't wait for the Bastion buff!"
Now I understand that there is always skepticism about any change and that is reasonable. Skepticism is good when testing balance. And there is always a large majority that will complain about the game's mechanics, whether they are new or old. We can see this with the Symmetra changes and the whole "long range sniper" ordeal. But now that change has had time to breathe and players have found reasonable ways to counter her. Symmetra is also overall better and more enjoyable to play.
Bastion is a different story. There was a lot of testing done and it was shown that the hero can live through different ultimates with little effort. His healing could be stacked with other healing and become very hard to finish off. I'm sure there were play-styles and team compositions that arose to support this even further. Now this is not to say that it isn't unbeatable, because I'm sure there were many cases where it was and it is still beatable in live. It's just not fun. I'm sure more of you could shed light on past changes that came from PTR that we weren't ready for because I'm a bit fuzzy on some details. I remember Nano-boost having speed, but I don't remember going into PTR to test that at the time. I'm sure there were many times before this recent update where a change was made in PTR that we weren't ready for it to go Live directly.
Now to talk about the PTR in general. I'm not exactly sure what the problem is. It could be that not enough feedback is being given or not enough players are testing. Maybe the feedback we gave didn't represent itself well enough; did we not give enough examples or express ourselves well? Is Dev team taking the feedback seriously enough or are they not looking closely enough? Is PTR even for testing balance? I guess my question is: What is the point of the PTR if our feedback is not reflected in the changes that go to Live. Personally, I was so certain that Bastion would be changed at least one more time in PTR before it went to Live. Being able to healing through ulitmates seems a bit much right? And now there was found to be a D.Va bug where you can shoot through her defense matrix. You would think we would catch this before it went live, but I don't know if this was in PTR or not.
Maybe incentivising playing the PTR is what we need. I'm not saying that this is the solution, but it is at least a suggestion. This is all still open to debate and I hope this post can create some discussion. These issues were probably around since day 1, and I wasn't around at that time. I wasn't as invested into this game as much when I started playing more in season 2, but I think we need to stress the importance of this issue now so we can minimize it in the future.
TL:DR: Why have PTR if our feedback isn't reflected in Live? Why have PTR if changes that are made are going live anyway? Testing balance is just as important as fixing bugs.