PTR analysis: The only support is now Mercy.

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Overwatch has been having a great time at Gamescom. The tear jerking Mei video and the reveal of Junkertown being well received by the Overwatch fandom. Riding high, Jeff Kaplan released another video detailing the new PTR changes to Mercy, which are… generous to say the least.

Mercy

  • Resurrect (formerly Mercy’s Ultimate ability)
    • Ability now targets a single player, instead of every player within a radius
    • Radius reduced to 5 meters
    • Ability cooldown is 30 seconds
    • Mercy is no longer granted invulnerability while Resurrect is active
  • Valkyrie (New Ultimate Ability)
    • Valkyrie unleashes the full power of Mercy’s Valkyrie Suit, enhancing her weapons and abilities for 20 seconds:
      • Caduceus Staff: Mercy’s healing and damage boost beams now affect all allies near the targeted teammate, and the staff’s effective range has been extended
      • Caduceus Blaster: Granted infinite ammo, while simultaneously increasing damage and fire rate
      • Guardian Angel: Increased range and movement speed
      • Resurrect: Cooldown is instantly reset when Valkyrie is activated and reduced to 10s after the initial cast
      • Hover: Mercy gains the ability to fly freely, at increased movement speed
      • Regeneration (Passive): No longer interrupted when Mercy takes damage

Developer CommentsWhile resurrecting downed allies is a core part of Mercy’s gameplay, the way her Ultimate functioned was causing a number of problems. It was frustrating to play against, and it incentivized Mercy players to hide away from important battles, instead of taking part in them. This version turns Resurrect into a single target ability. It’s still an important part of Mercy’s kit, but plays much better for both Mercy players and her enemies. Valkyrie, her new Ultimate, gives her the opportunity to make big game-making plays and opens a number of new options for her.

I have to agree with Jeff: her original ultimate was difficult to pull off and infuriating to deal with. Nothing feels better than definitive, POTG earning team wipe only for Mercy to fly in and steal your glory. On the flipside, playing Mercy is boring until you have the rarely glorious ultimate. A day in the life of a Mercy main is like taking five bitchy dogs out for a walk– only to be sniped by a sarong-wrapped Widowmaker. It’s not glamorous and you get shat on. The only fun part of playing Mercy was her wild resurrect. It was near orgasmic to fly into a pile of five dead teammates and shout, “Heroes never die!” (for a price~)

This makes balancing her a difficult tight rope to walk. The new patch notes, as you have read, makes her resurrect a one person per thirty-second cooldown. Kaplan says that this opens up “fun strategic opportunities.” Being able to rezz people more often is pretty fun, but this is just another way for your team to make ridiculous demands of you, especially if there’s a specific “Rezz me!” quick emote. Also, I don’t think to be able to resurrect once per thirty seconds could make many game changing plays. It seems that, more often than not, once you resurrected someone they’d instantly die again by the same damn sarong-wrapped Widowmaker.

Most egregious is her ultimate ability that pushes out every other supports’ niche while confusing and diluting what Mercy’s identity is. Her Caduceus staff upgrade gives her AoE healing (Lucio’s  and Zenyatta’s ult’s niche) while increasing its range (possibly encroaching on Ana’s trade,) her Cadaceus blaster upgrade gives her a powerful projectile weapon (another core Zenyatta thing,) the Guardian Angel buff and free-flying takes away from Pharah’s identity and takes away from Lucio’s schtick as the most mobile support. These changes will totally push down other supports (especially Zenyatta and Lucio.) Kaplan might as well have added a teleporter and sentry turrets just so Symmetra doesn’t feel more left out.

This ultimate does so many things that it’s confusing what to prioritize or when to pop ult. Do I pop ult to do increased damage? Do I pop ult to do AoE healing? It seems that the Overwatch team is trying to appease too many crowds with this change and are sacrificing Mercy’s identity as the beginner friendly, dedicated healer.

Instead of making her a jack of all trades, focus on two of Mercy’s tenants: leashing one hero and her mobility. I’d say keep her free-flying ultimate (she’s the only vertically mobile support) and increase her single-person healing ratio by a bunch. Then, allow her to overheal. Giving her teammates extra temporary hit points during her ult. This would have its own strategic implications. Does she pop it before a team-fight to give her team a little extra survivability? Or, does she pop it in the middle of a fight and zip around the battlefield to turn the tide of battle? It gives the same frenetic feeling as her original ult, but without the total soul crushing of the original resurrect.

Also, no battle mercy. Stop trying to make Battle Mercy a thing, Gretchen.

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