Overwatch’s Mercy becoming pretty much a completely new hero

Mercy Overwatch

The Mercy we knew is no more. The latest changes to Overwatch‘s [official site] Swiss medic being tested on the public test servers transform her into a completely new hero, and I’m bloody excited. Gone is her powerful Resurrect ultimate ability, which revived any dead foe within a 15 metre radius, and it’s replaced by a 20-second long skill that buffs every one of her other abilities.  Reviving isn’t totally gone, mind. It’s now one of her regular skills and has a 30-second cooldown, but instead of reviving up to five players it can only pick up one teammate, and only if they’re in a five metre radius.

The new ultimate, called Valkyrie, make her something of a wrecking ball. Her healing and damage boost beams have longer reach and will chain together on multiple teammates. She can fly anywhere she wants on the map. Her Guardian Angel ability, which sees you swoop to nearby teammates, has greater range. Her gun hits harder. And her revamped resurrect ability will automatically recharge when you pop Valkyrie, and then it will be on a ten-second cooldown.

It sounds absolutely incredible, and should make playing Mercy more excited. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy her at the moment because her Resurrect ability can change the course of a game, countering virtually any push from the enemy team. But it does mean that, when it’s fully charged, you end up hiding in a corner waiting for your teammates to die so you can swoop in and save the day. That’s the problem this change will address, says game director Jeff Kaplan in the video below.

The update will be tested on the PTR before being rolled out to the game proper, and with something this big you can bet it will take a while to iron out the kinks. D.Va also gets some fairly major changes: the duration of her defence matrix is halved and she’s getting a new ability that lets her fire a flurry of missiles.

It comes at the end of a bumper news week for Overwatch. Sandwiched between the video short for climatologist Mei and the new Aussie map were some fairly interesting details about the game’s upcoming competitive season. Season 6 will be shorter than the last, at two months rather than three, and its control maps will be over faster.

The change in season length doesn’t really bother me because I’m never aware of how long is left in a given season. But shifting Control maps from five rounds to three is a substantial change, and one I’ve got mixed about. Those five-round matches don’t half drag on, but coming back from a 2-0 deficit to win is one of the best feelings in the game.

The other big change comes to placement matches. These are ten matches you play at the start of each season to determine your skill rating so that you’re placed with similar players thereafter.

Previously, Blizzard purposefully placed players lower than their actual skill rating so that they could experience the feeling of climbing through the ranks. Good in principle, but it meant that players were losing ranks between seasons, which made them angry. That’s no longer the case in season 6: you’ll be placed roughly where your actual skill rating is. Good news, I think.

There’s a couple of other minor changes, such as reducing the number of games high level players need to play a week to avoid skill rating decay from seven to five. Kaplan outlines them all below:

What do you make of it all?

17 Comments

  1. thischarmingman says:

    These all sound like good changes to me. I never play Mercy willingly today, this makes her look more interesting – and hopefully still viable.

    Also I hope that the changes to SR makes me keep my shiny new Gold rank next season.

  2. Zorgulon says:

    I wasn’t expecting an overhaul like this, but I definitely see the logic here. I played Mercy a lot to begin with, as I played a lot of Medic in TF2, but I have hardly picked her lately, preferring the other, more dynamic healers.

    This sounds just what she needs. Multi-rezzes weren’t all that common but definitely encouraged some passive play styles. They aren’t terribly fun to play with or against. The new ultimate, on the other hand, sounds crazy fun.

    • DeadlyAccurate says:

      A few weeks ago our side was trying to take the lunar colony second control point. Their Mercy was so good that every time we almost had a handle on it, she rezzed most of her team. She had 19 total resurrections that game and was central to keeping us from winning.

  3. Kitsunin says:

    These sound like awesome changes! Mercy has always had kind of a stigma for just being too easy to play well. This sounds much more fun and also like it will require much more skill to properly utilize.

    The D.Va change could be fantastic. Since they nerfed her damage and buffed her shield, her absolutely abysmal ability to kill has made her a bit unsatisfying to play.

  4. Seafoam says:

    These seem to be healthy changes to the game.
    Although Nanoboosted Mercy can almost wipe entire teams on PTR devs said it will be fixed.

    Im more interested in changes to competetive, although they seem hard to understand and seem like full on negative changes, the situation is so complicated that theyre actually a net good.
    I really can’t explain it in brief but these changes will combat toxicity and encourage teamplay.

    Although I feel sorry for the mercy players who will get the ire of some douchebag for not rezzing them specifically.

  5. gou says:

    pharah/mercy combo was already good, this just makes it ridculous.
    And a 20 second ult? nanoboosted mercy team wipes

    • Excors says:

      When faced with Pharmercy before these changes, I think it was generally recommended to kill Mercy first (because it takes a lot more shots to kill a Pharah who’s being healed, and would feed Mercy’s ultimate). The new resurrect ability won’t change that recommendation, it’ll just reinforce it, since if you kill Pharah first she’ll be brought back immediately.

      I’ve been playing quite a lot of (non-Phar) Mercy recently and mostly been resurrecting one or two players at a time, particularly when it’s a tank or healer that will keep the team alive and let us win the fight, rather than hiding so we’re at a 5v6 disadvantage and hoping my whole team dies quickly (which is perverse behaviour for a healer, and a bit boring). It seems these changes will encourage the former behaviour, which I like. On the other hand it means Mercy will be the enemy’s number one priority target at the start of every single fight (since if you don’t kill her first it’s essentially a 6v7 fight), which might get annoying if your team never bothers to protect you. But if you get too annoyed you can let off steam by ulting and going nuts.

  6. Faxmachinen says:

    With any luck, they’ll remake Mei next. I’d prefer that she was just deleted, but whatever.

    Mei is just McCree’s most annoying ability personified.

    • Foosnark says:

      Mei just doesn’t annoy me nearly as much as Symmetra or Hanzo.

    • Banks says:

      I think it would be a better game if they outright removed all the zero skill hard-counters. Mei, Symmetra, Torb, winston, Bastion are just trash. Zero skill required and not any fun to play as or against.

      They feel so dumb.

      • Kirudub says:

        Agreed, they do seem pretty cheap as far as necessary skill. Personally Symm bugs me the most since it’s really just “point mouse in general direction of enemy and press button to kill”. Effing lock-on laser.

        • Themadcow says:

          And yet no more effective in general despite the lower skill cap. This is why Blizz are the masters of creating accessible games that can be enjoyed by all whether an FPS veteran or more casual player.

          Maybe it’s worth acknowledging that not everyone has 20-30 gaming hours a week to “Git gud”

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        FeloniousMonk says:

        Spoken like a true Genji.

        Having played with and against some exceptional Bastions, Winstons and Symmetras, I’m going to argue that these characters have a low entry cost, but a skilled player can make any of them into game changers. And low entry cost is a good thing. When you get into higher level play, most of these characters wash out in favor of endless allegiance to the metagame, but they all have the ability to force the other team to respond and make each game individual and interesting. I don’t really want to spend every single match going up against small variations on the same squad, and if you do, there are literally hundreds of first person shooters designed for that prerogative.

        And I say this as a Pharah main. There is nothing – NOTHING – a Pharah main likes less than fricking Torbjorn and his auto-aiming insta-kill turret, which counters Pharah so hard that she practically can’t leave the ground and requires the player to do absolutely NOTHING. I’m still glad he’s there, because it forces me to play differently. Blizzard doesn’t want the answer to be “git gud.” Overwatch isn’t Arma.

        • DeadlyAccurate says:

          Thank you for saying this. I probably wouldn’t have gotten into the game if there hadn’t been easier-to-play characters available. Bastion is not no skill, for example. He’s low skill, sure, but you still have to know what you’re doing to be effective. I once found myself grouped against some lowbie, sub-level-20 players (I wasn’t smurfing; this was just how Overwatch matched us) when I already had more than 300 levels. Once I realized how badly they were screwed, I switched to one of my worst and least-played characters: Genji. Even then, I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was going to kill the enemy Bastion with my deflection. And I did. Twice. Because not shooting a deflecting Genji is also a skill you have to learn.

          • Themadcow says:

            Well said. A decent Bastion is a very decent beast to an OK Bastion. You have to continually change up your position, time heals, time cooldown on your turret and often resist the urge go use your Ult. Your rear is incredibly vulnerable to a stealther or Tracer. It’s great game design going on and Blizz at the top of their balance game.

      • LagTheKiller says:

        Thats bullshit. Pure undilluted bullshit. Game is about countering enemy team. Thats why “mains” suck. Symm got wasted in 2 hits same Mei (u need 4 in total bcs freeze. Freeze is easy bcs u know when and where she springs up so remember or just count to 2 or i dont know swap that genji) . Winston needs 2 sec focus from whole team. Bastion needs 2 sec cooperation. Torbjorn hard counter no skill? How about 2-3 shots from afar and bye turret which doesnt even deal that much dmg.
        No the only thrash champion in OV is soldier 76. Every champion got weaknesses and skill required to play. (Yes u dumb animal STOP charging enemy lines 1vs5 and maybe u wont be freezed. U Genji main crap)
        Excluding soldier. Bad soldier is meh. Good soldier is beast and beast soldier is the Rape God incarnate. U cant duel him, u cant outdmg him, u cant catch him, u cant poke him. Mobility, insane dmg, long range, aoe self heal. And ult press q to potg. Its not coincindence that in majority of rankeds there is soldier.
        Also voice chat is nice to cooperate with team or at least listen what they want to do.

        PS Do anyone else hates hanzo foot fetish shot? I mean i got 400-500 hp. And it one shots me even not in da head.

  7. EastOfEden says:

    “powerful Resurrect ultimate ability, which revived any dead foe within a 15 metre radius”
    Any dead foe? Did it?

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