Overwatch's Mercy Is More Deadly Now, But She’s Still A Healer

Illustration for article titled iOverwatch/is Mercy Is More Deadly Now, But She’s Still A Healerem/em

Mercy is a Valkyrie now, and she’s not taking anybody’s crap.

Yesterday, Blizzard revealed a surprising overhaul of Overwatch’s most straightforward healer, replacing her uber-powerful resurrection ult—which could potentially bring her whole team back from the brink—with “Valkyrie,” an ult that lets her soar around with a giant clip of super-powered bullets as well as super-charged healing and damage-boosting beams. Her resurrect, meanwhile, is now a secondary, single-target ability on a cooldown. So basically, “heroes never die” is still an applicable slogan, but it’s a bit less game-changing now.

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After Blizzard announced the overhaul, many people worried that the Overwatch team had pried out Mercy’s heart—taken away one of the most thrilling ults in the game and turned Mercy into some kind of high-flying, pistol-toting storm cloud of DPS. In my experience, those fears are unfounded. I’ve played a handful of matches as nu-Mercy on Overwatch’s PC public test realm, and while I’m still warming up to the changes, I like them so far.

Mercy’s old ult was an absolute power trip to use. The satisfaction of leaping out from nowhere, shouting “heroes never die,” and saving the day was matched by the other team’s frustration at having all their hard work canceled out. This also led to standstills in battles and defensive holds on points, neither of which were terribly exciting. Moreover, it encouraged Mercy players to hide in hard-to-reach places rather than flitting around and assisting their team. The ult was the glue that held Mercy’s character together and a loose screw in the whole game’s design.

Video courtesy of Overwatch Central.

Turning resurrect into a regular ability, then, proves smart on multiple levels. For one, there are no more out-of-nowhere, tide-turning ults. Also, Mercy now has to get close to individual allies in order to bring them back, which means you’ve got to be more mobile, active, and aware of positioning while playing her. The trade-off is that you’re extremely vulnerable while doing this. So far, I’ve yet to have teammates do a better job of protecting me than they usually would. Communication will probably end up being key once nu-Mercy is on live servers.

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Mercy’s new ult, Valkyrie, wreathes her in gleaming divinity, making her faster, stronger, and capable of flight. It’s a blast. I’ve seen people making a fuss over her offensive potential in this state, but in my experience, she can be taken out pretty quickly by a D.Va bumrush, and her ability to heal or damage-boost multiple teammates at once feels more potent overall. I do, however, think it’s very tempting to leave your teammates in the dust and go full Battle Mercy while Valkyrie is active. I could see that becoming a problem when these changes go live.

I’ve been pretty iffy on a lot of Overwatch overhauls lately—Roadhog is a travesty, and I’m not sure I like where D.Va’s headed, either—but these Mercy changes feel good so far. They’re probably a little too powerful at the moment, but that’s why Blizzard put nu-Mercy on the PTR in the first place.

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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DISCUSSION

I’m not sure how this changes how Mercy is played, really. Once you get into competitive mode, she is just going to bank her rez and ult for when her team is getting punished and then pull the trigger and rez at least 2 people and probably a third while making the rest of the team invincible. She still won’t take out her gun unless there is nobody left on her team or else she will be considered a bad Mercy player and she will still hide in the corner doing nothing but healing until she is really needed.