Overwatch: Mercy Resurrect and Strategic Play

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6 years 10 months
Submitted by SuperSayu on Sun, 11/05/2017 - 16:40

This is a copy of something I posted in the Overwatch Feedback Forum regarding the late-2017 changes to the healing character Mercy.

I am wondering if maybe the Mercy change and this nerf are both... well, it's difficult to explain. I understand why the nerf, but I don't understand why the original Mercy change, since that flies in the face of both good game design and good strategy.

So let me back up. Categorically the MUR (Mercy Ult-Rez) was what I would call a "Disruptor" ability, in that if it goes off in the middle of an otherwise stable enemy force, that enemy force is suddenly in disarray... because now there are enemies (presumably more than one) in the middle of it and instead of all focusing on the chokepoint or whatever, now they have to split up and each fight separate battles.

Most of the damage ultimates are also Disruptors, they just work differently. It's more than just "Did you kill anyone with it"--if you force the enemy to scatter and they are no longer a unified front, you've scored a strategic victory. It's nice because MUR in addition to being a disruptor, also countered other disruptors, which is a good reason to keep it in the game all by itself.

In contrast, MSR (Mercy Single-Res) is what I would call more of an "Anti-Harasser" ability. Harassers are people that delay enemy reinforcements, either by getting in between the objective and the enemy spawn (eg Sombra) or by taking out enemies who are in this map area in some other way (eg Widowmaker). Harassers are in a very bad position if the enemy decides to focus them down, but a lot of people just focus on the point and nothing else.

The main victories of Harassers are making you waste time, though. MSR invalidates a kill so more of your team get to the point, and if you're lucky you can take out the Harasser because they're weak from having just won a 1v1 duel, or the Widowmaker was counting on surprise and now you know exactly where she is, etc. MSR makes perfect sense to counter Harassers. That's kind of the problem.

If Res suddenly counters a whole category of heroes, then suddenly you either have to nerf Res, or you need to rebalance everything. If Sombra and Mercy and Reaper get a buff so that they can Harass more effectively, then you have to buff tanks so that the Harassers are not suddenly good at taking them out. When you buff tanks, you have to buff DPS, which means you have to buff healers.

In that context it's no wonder they would sooner remove Res altogether... but that still doesn't explain why they would remove MUR in favor of MSR. MUR is an entirely different beast; it counters different things, is countered by different things, and has more than a year of precedent saying it's pretty well balanced. It's also more interesting to watch than MSR, because as long as a battle is going on, if Mercy has her ult you don't know what will happen until she is either dead or the charge is spent. Strategically I would rather have MUR than MSR, because it encourages different, healthier behavior from other players than MSR does.

In any event... still thinking about it, still don't agree with what they're doing.