The heroes of Overwatch have been going through some pretty major changes recently. Reaper became Boss Man Brawler with his lifesteal, and Roadhog became an insignificant pile of pork after his defining character trait, the one-shot hook kill combo, was nerfed beyond recognition. Nerfing and buffing to achieve balance in Overwatch is absolutely necessary, but the current Reaper and Roadhog show how things can go right, and how they can go very wrong.
The issues that the Roadhog ‘fix’ showed that sometimes, trying to do what’s best doesn’t always result in the best outcome. Blizzard are now working on buffs to Roadhog to make him more viable – movement while using Take a Breather, 50% damage reduction while using Take a Breather, etc. but it’s not by any means disingenuous to say that Blizzard fucked that one up.
Now, there’s a few more pretty huge changes coming to a few heroes, most notably D.Va and Mercy. D.Va’s changes are quite exciting – she gets bloody micro missiles and can fire while boosting, meaning more chasing down squishies and less sitting on your fat arse eating all the bullets, ults (and salt) with defence matrix. It’s pretty engaging stuff.
Mercy’s changes, however, are a steaming pile of shit. The infamous Resurrection will no longer be Mercy’s character-defining Ultimate ability, but instead it will be demoted to a secondary ability with a very long cooldown. Her new Ult will be ‘Valkyrie’, which essentially just boosts everything she already does for a 15-second period.
The Valkyrie Ult admittedly does sound hella fun – being able to fly constantly and chain boost/heal allies will probably feel totally badass – but the real problem lies with Resurrection not being a huge game-changer any more, and more specifically, the reason why.
Jeff Kaplan, the game director for Overwatch, thinks the problem currently lies in the tendency for Mercy players to hide like sneaky little Germanic goblins straight from a Brothers Grimm tale, Rez in pocket, waiting for the right moment to spring out, cackling as they destroy the opposition’s hard work by bringing all of their minions back to life.
Jeff says that it’s “weird” to stop healing your team and make them all die on the point so you can rez them all. He says that it’s “disheartening” to use your Zarya/Pharah Wombo Combo only to see your hard work flushed down the shitter by a Mercy Rez.
Well, no shit! That’s the beauty of it! And if you have half a brain, you’ll focus the Mercy before slapping your Ult balls in the enemy’s face. Everyone knows this, and everyone is fine with it. Very few people complain about Mercy’s Rez being too OP. In fact, the only comments I’ve seen about Mercy’s Rez is that it would be nice to have a ‘Rez Radius’, so we can see which of our allies actually lie within the circle of anti-death. We don’t need to be babied through removals of things Blizzard see as unfair.
It’s not even accurate to call it unfair; there are more than enough ults that can completely wipe a team in the right conditions. Multiple opportunities to wipe versus one that can counteract one wipe? That’s pretty fair. Besides, even if the enemy team use their Grav/Barrage Combo and you Rez to wipe the slate clean, there’s absolutely a possibility (and Mercy mains will definitely attest to this through gritted teeth) that your teammates will either revive in a shitty position and die anyway, or they’ll have their hands and mouth full with a nice Cheese Ploughmans sandwich, unable to put it down in time to do anything meaningful before they get punished for standing still.
So who knows what Jeff is referring to when he says the Ult aspect of Mercy’s play are “weird” and “disheartening,” because there have been very few complaints about hide-n-rez, or ult-cancelling rez. It seems that Blizzard have been given a rare opportunity with Overwatch to test the waters and really push for some unique mechanics and abilities, and it’s very exciting when they get it right. However, making changes nobody wanted to the most popular Overwatch hero just because they can doesn’t seem like resources well spent.
Ironically, Jeff has provided two perfect words to describe the proposed changes to Mercy: it’s weird, it’s disheartening; I don’t like it, get rid of it.
If you can stomach it, here’s the video with the announcement, but don’t blame me if you end up wanting to punch Jeff in his stupid face: