Deliciously Moirish: why Overwatch’s new support hero is my favourite healer

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Moira landed on the Overwatch servers last month, finally bringing an end to the era of Mercy misery. She’s just the hit that the game needed: an interesting, easy to play support character that’s (very almost) as viable in competitive play as Mercy. She’s managed to lure me away from my usual spot as Genji, which is no small feat when cyber-ninjaring is the main reason I keep coming back to Overwatch.

So, what’s in Moira’s bag of tricks?

She’s similar to Ana in that she can play a more offensive role than most supports, though I have to keep reminding myself that my priority should still be protecting and healing my team rather than tearing through my opponents.

Although she doesn’t do much damage with her right click, it has an incredible range and heals you whenever you’re doing damage. It’s like Zarya’s beam in that you can just hold it down without any consequence – even more so in fact, as you don’t have to worry about giving your position away. There’s no need for fine aiming, either – which makes it a doddle to deal with fast characters like Tracer. My only complaint is that it can be a little hard to tell when someone is in range at first, both for her healing and damaging grasp.

Her first ability is a teleport on a short 6 second cooldown, which can be great when you want to chase down a low health character – or if you’re playing more sensibly, to escape a dangerous situation. Play more sensibly still and you can save it for when a distant low-health teammate is in trouble.

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As fond as I am of her teleport, and teleporting in general, Moira’s second ability is the real reason behind why I’m having so much fun with her. It’s an orb that can be fired in two forms that ping-pongs across the map, ricocheting around corners and either healing or damaging anyone that comes near it. If you can lure your opponents into a corridor, firing an orb into it is an easy way to turn that area into a death zone. The orb only actually does 200 points of damage before it disappears, though I’ve found groups will often make themselves vulnerable as they try to avoid it anyway.

At times, getting a kill with the orb can feel like landing a trick snooker shot. It travels for an obscenely long 10 seconds: I’ve had a lot of success with firing it through the corridors on the first stage of Route 66.

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Her ultimate, coalescence, seems underwhelming until you realise that it’s far better at healing than damaging. It’s a swirling beam that reminds me of a horizontal barber-shop pillar. While it only puts out as much damage as an uncharged Zarya beam, it heals 140 health a second to anyone that stands in it. True, it’s not as impactful as Zenyatta’s Transcendence or Lucio’s Sound Barrier, but it charges much more quickly.

This is a good opportunity for me to tell you about how Blizzard have improved the highlight system. I hadn’t noticed, but last July there was an update that lets you save the last 12 seconds of play by pressing F9, which you can then export as a video clip. I used that to capture this bit of Moira play, where her abilities come together rather neatly.

I’ve only talked about her abilities so far, but I also love Moira’s aesthetic… and her general demeanor. Call the whole ‘life with one hand, death with the other’ gimmick hackneyed if you like, but it works. One hand is a withered evil looking claw, while the other is immaculately groomed and adorned with nail polish.

Her voice lines after respawning are strangely encouraging. “Perhaps a new methodology is required”, she’ll say as I run out of the spawn area after diving too hard into the enemy team. She’s right, and there have been times where I’ve altered my approach based on those cool, reflective lines of dialogue. She’s like a less infuriating Zenyatta.

Plus, you can dress her up like David Bowie.

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I’ll tell you what, she’s a right pain for Genji though. The damage from both her right click and biotic orb can’t be deflected, making her a decent counter to him.

Which sucks, because Genji’s the main reason I keep coming back to Overwatch. I love how mobile and tricksy he is – some of my favourite moments from this or any other game have been when I’ve successfully scurried up a wall to evade my pursuers when I’m on a scrap of health. I’d argue that he’s the most unique character in a multiplayer shooter since the spy from TF2.

I love the psychology behind his deflect skill, too – you need to try and get into other players heads and work out when you would attack, then respond with a deflect at just the right moment. Moira might be the most fun I’ve had with a healer, but I still look on in envy when a Gengi gets play of the game.

Maybe I should have written an ode to Genji instead.

14 Comments

  1. Avioto says:

    I’ll never betray my Zen

  2. DeadlyAccurate says:

    She’s quickly becoming my favorite support. She’s *particularly* effective if you have a second healer to take the load off, but she can do a ton of healing on her own if you’re on top of your game.

    No one will replace my precious Junkrat as my main, but she’s been getting some serious playtime lately.

  3. Ghostwise says:

    Plus, you can dress her up like David Bowie.

    IIRC, the EXPERT CONCLUSION we reached last time was that she’s an Oirish animé pixie cyber-dracula.

    • frymaster says:

      I disagree. If there’s one thing I like about Moira it’s that she’s not Oirish, she’s clearly Irish. The voice acting is commendably understated.

      • Arathain says:

        Her voice actor is clearly Irish, and had her lines written by or in consultation with an Irish person. Not just the Gaelic- some of those lines (“The state of you”) are very authentic.

  4. Ivan Ulyanov says:

    “Maybe I should have written an ode to Genji instead.”
    Or The Tale of Genji, but I hear that’s been done before.

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    Don Reba says:

    Totally agree. I main healers on free weekends, and Moira is my new favourite. Looking forward to the next free weekend!

  6. Rindan says:

    I just love how all the healers feel more or less balanced. There is no combination of two healers that doesn’t more or less work. People will argue their favorites, and I’m sure the pros will totally rule out some combinations, but at my level, they all more or less work. The same goes for tanks. They all have their uses. This has made the game such a joy to play because it means I can ALWAYS fill tank or healer without feeling railroaded into playing a character I hate. I’ll fill any roll because there are fun viable characters for all rolls. It’s wonderful. If Blizzard can keep the balance at least this good for now on, I’ll be a really happy Overwatch fan.

  7. MikoSquiz says:

    Moira seems to get five golds an awful lot. I just got her in a round of Mystery Heroes and had five golds and an 18 kill streak when I finally died.

    She’s maybe, just maybe, due for a little nerf. The 200 fire-and-forget pseudo-homing damage on a ten second cooldown (or, alternatively, 300 fire-and-forget pseudo-homing heal on a ten second cooldown that stacks with your primary heal) seems a little much, in particular.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      You can’t really judge a character’s balance from playing mystery heroes.

      I think Moira’s the best character release Blizz has done in a long while – she’s in a pretty good place. The orbs are easy to dodge and they’re relatively unreliable after the first bounce unless you drop them in a corridor. What I like the most from her is that you can defend yourself much better from flankers than Zen, Ana, or Mercy, simply because damage scares them off.

  8. Zorgulon says:

    I’m really enjoying her too, she is similar to Ana in that she’s a very active healer, but with less of a focus on shot accuracy.

    Overwatch has a very good roster of healers now, each with their distinct strengths and weaknesses and each, crucially, is enjoyable to play.

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