Thought Dump #12: Realistic Mercy changes
Thought dump is a regular series where I post my unedited thoughts and musings about Overwatch that don’t merit a real article.
To preface this piece, I like the new Mercy. I think the concept of a one man raise, combined with a cooldown reset, is well done. Furthermore, I like the way they made Mercy harder to kill. Mobility as a means of living is always better than granting temporary invulnerability. It both rewards skill and has counterplay.
However it’s obvious the community at large isn’t happy. The most common reason I’ve seen is that she feels like a must pick. First off, hold up. Do you know how many heroes have, at times, been must picks? Supports are some of the worst offenders, but every role has had mandatory picks.
And I don’t mean on ladder. I’ve said it before, but I will remind you again, my concern is never about ladder balance. On ladder when Mercy doesn’t get focused before she can chain multiple uses of rez my reaction is to shrug and say it’s ladder. Don’t expect high quality teamwork.
She’s a must pick on ladder because of that exact lack of coordination. Mercy players will live longer, and get more raises off. And on ladder when your allies are running around getting picked, the ability to bring them back after being stupid is invaluable.
Now, back to pro level play. Mercy’s current balance state is actually a problem at pro level play, which is where my qualms come from.
The first issue is a cut-and-dry fix. I HATE the fact that rez starts the game off-cooldown. [Warning, I make a naughty gesture and say a bad word here]
That wasn’t actually my first response, in case you want to see my initial reaction here is is. Not much better.
Rez starting the game available means the attacking team’s first pick is worthless. Even if it’s impressive as above, where you make a heroic shot that would normally remove a 76 from a powerful high-ground position.
The NC Wolves should have been able to simply cross to the objective and take the 5v6 fight. But instead they were forced to slow down their push, wasting time, as they went through the opposite high ground in order to avoid the 76 damage.
There should be some reward for teams finding an instant pick, but there isn’t. An easy change, make rez start on a 30 second cooldown. If a Widowmaker jumps out of spawn and hits a headshot she she be rewarded.
This change would allow an attacking team to snowball if they get the advantage. But it would also simultaneously reward the defenders for getting the initial pick, as the attackers would have to wait for the respawn as normal.
My second proposed change is a two-for-one. I want Valkyrie to put rez on a 15 second cooldown, not 10, and to only last 15 seconds, down from 20.
This means she can now only rez-ult-rez-wait-rez, for a total for 3 raised players off her ultimate instead of four. Very rarely does Mercy actually get four off, but this completely trims that possibility away. Furthermore, the increased time between raises gives more time for the other team to react and either deal with Mercy or the raised player.
Assuming that five seconds is what was needed to kill her, combined with the lower cap on raising players, I’d guess this means roughly 3–5 less raises per map. Considering there have been matches in APEX Challenger with 24+ raises on one team, I’m fine with that.
But what I think what has flown under the radar so far, is the absolutely stupid amount of work her ultimate does by allowing her beams to bounce. The potential healing rate is insane, capping out at 300 hp/second. Or, you can effectively give your whole team their own Discord Orb, by boosting their damage by 30 percent.
I didn’t realize how much of an issue this was until earlier today, when an entire teamfight between Lunatic-Hai #2 and BSG was decided by Flash using Valkyre later. Meaning LH2 was able to out-sustain BSG’s damage and win the entire series.
The proposed changes I’ve laid out probably reduce the total raise uses per map in the realm of 4–6, cut Mercy’s healing/damage boost output, and even trims her survivability as well.
She would still be powerful, which is the point. I’d want to see these changes in addition to Lucio buffs, maybe a small buff to Ana (not her healing). I want supports across the board to be more powerful, and the next hero to be a support so we have meaningful choices to make depending on the rest of the composition we are going for.