Overwatch’s Zenyatta To Be Nerfed; Mei, Mercy Buffed

Overwatch [official site] principal designer Geoff Goodman was quite active over on the game’s message boards this week, popping in to discuss some upcoming patches that might be coming to Blizzard’s bright and bold’em up. Read on for details of what buffs and nerfs are coming.

On Friday, folks on the Overwatch forums got into it, debating over whether or not Zenyatta should be nerfed. Goodman spoke up:

Zenyatta is definitely playing a lot better these days. At this point anecdotal feedback, internal stats, and competitive feedback are all showing hes actually a bit *too* strong at the moment.

At this point we’re looking likely to reduce some of his power in an upcoming patch, probably related to his Discord Orb.

It looks like Zenyatta isn’t the only hero facing some changes, though.

In the same thread, players talked about Mercy. Blizzard has been experimenting with a number of ways to give her a boost, either by granting her more fire power, or, in an example cited by Goodman, an area of effect heal over time ability that never came to fruition. While those adjustments were never meant to be, Goodman told forum users that improvements to Mercy are definitely still in the works:

If she were to get a new ability it would ideally have to be something that she could use more ‘outside of combat’ or something that is generally used much more rarely. That said there are some things we can do to help her out in the near future.

Meanwhile, Mei isn’t one of the more popular characters in competitive play, but Goodman doesn’t think things need to stay that way. A simple adjustment may be all that is needed:

Currently her ult can feel a bit unwieldy and inconsistent, especially when you compare it to other similar ults such as Reinhardt’s. We’re internally testing allowing the ultimate projectile she throws to pierce barriers (such as Reinhardt’s shield), and increasing the radius a bit on it.

There’s no word when any of these changes might be happening, but in the meantime there is plenty of good stuff to look forward to. Earlier this week we found out that season one is coming to a close, with season two starting up shortly. To top it off, we’ll be treated to a new short featuring Bastion at Gamescom next week.


  1. eeguest says:

    Who is even using Mercy’s slow fall when pressing spacebar?

    • indigochill says:

      I do particularly when I’m zipping to a Pharah, but it rarely makes a difference (with the possible exception of some spots on Temple of Anubis). I’d be fine with replacing that with a more effective ability.

      • Vorrin says:

        What, really?

        I use the slow falling constantly, if you got a Pharah around you, it can save you from most ults, whilst also giving you a good outlook/reach for the battlefield below you, and making it very easy to choose who is best to shift to.

        • Tacroy says:

          That’s an excellent way to get sniped or hooked

          • Premium User Badge

            gritz says:

            It’s also an excellent way to keep shorter range characters (Reinhardt, Reaper) from being able to touch you. Different tactics for different situations.

  2. WhiteHawke says:

    It’s very useful to cross gaps alone, like the drop between point A and point B on Hanamura, and you can use it cross the pit on that one section of Li Jang Tower that has the has the cap point mostly surrounded by open space.

  3. Calculon says:

    A buff to Mei??? IMO she is the most OP character in the game, Reaper being a close second.

    • Catpolice says:

      There’s a funny effect in Overwatch where the characters that are overpowered at the lower levels are useless at the higher levels because they tend to have hard counters that are more popular among high level players. Mei is very strong in the early game and very hard to play effectively against a skilled player with a character with a movement power (e.g. Genji, Tracer, etc.). So buffing or nerfing her is a balancing act. Same with Bastion, who seems way too powerful until you have a decent flanker, or Pharah, or a team that can focus fire and take him out instantly.

      • Chairman_Meow says:

        “A team that can focus fire and take him out instantly” is also known as the ability which counters any opposing character.

        • Premium User Badge

          gritz says:

          But to do that optimally (ie competitively), the team needs to be made up of high burst damage offensive heros with strong mobility or survivability.

      • Premium User Badge

        Oakreef says:

        Yeah my comp ranking is in the low 40s and I saw a big masterpost somewhere about tiers in high level competitive recently and I couldn’t relate to any of it.

    • Kitsunin says:

      On all but nearing the lowest levels of play, she is somewhere between fine…not strong, and abysmal. When I play in competitive I’m around rank 50, so literally average, and she rarely can pull her weight. For total newbs she’s basically bastion tier, capable of owning people who have no idea what she does.

      Problem is that on the competitive level characters like Genji, who is terrible in low level play, are both super powerful and counter her (and basically all “defense” heroes, who are super crappy in competitive play because of it) hard.

      It’s troublesome because you end up with a really stale roster at medium-higher levels of play, as a good deal out of not that many heroes are between so-so and bad. Yet buff the so-so/bad characters and you mess up the lowbie experience by making them into pubstompers.

      Mei in particular though, I think people complain about too much. She can freeze you and that seems extra irritating and unavoidable, but what if she were a Reaper or many other heroes? You’d be dead in the same amount of time it takes her merely to freeze you.

      • MikoSquiz says:

        But being slowed, then frozen, is infinitely more irritating than simply being killed. If you want to make your multiplayer game annoying to play, simply provide characters with long slow/stun/freeze abilities.

        TF2’s Scout used to have a stun. Valve ended up nerfing it, nerfing it again, rebalancing it, and nerfing it again to the point where it’s basically a novelty only, because it was so incredibly unpleasant to play against.

        Mei isn’t powerful, but she is ridiculously annoying; buffing her to make her powerful will only make her go from “everyone hates her” to “everyone hates her with a burning passion and also hates Blizzard for putting her in the game”.

  4. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Zenyatta is finally fun to play after being nearly useless for the past year! NERF.

    Mercy has been the most essential hero in competitive play for the past year! BUFF.

    Mei is useless in competitive play for reasons unrelated to her ult, also her ult is obnoxious in casual play! BUFF ULT.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      Zenyatta’s discord is all they plan to touch because right now it does make him incredibly powerful at high levels. I’m beta they’d buffed Mercy’s damage buff to make it equal to discord and things got ridiculous.

      Mercy is getting buffed because she’s actually the worst healer in the higher brackets. She just dies too easily compared to Lucio and Zenyatta (pretty much every high comp team has both) and they can also contribute to damage output while healing.

      Agreed completely on Mei’s ult. That’s not the problem with her character. Her normal freeze can be annoying but a good enemy team won’t ever let her get close enough which makes her a dps handicap and an ult battery for the opposition. She’d need a complete revamp to be useful at higher ranks (ironically so would Bastion)

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        Mercy might be the least survivable healer in competitive, but I feel like that’s 100% necessary given how important her ult is.

  5. Time Cube says:


  6. Jetsetlemming says:

    Really annoyed that they’re nerfing Zennyata instead of helping his counters. Widowmaker/Hanzo/Pharah all chew up Zennyata without him really being able to say boo about it. Nobody’s really using them in high level play though, because they’re easily countered or replaced by McCree now. McCree’s the problem! Not Zennyata!