Following a rather significant change to D.Va’s Defense Matrix ability, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan recently announced a huge change for the game’s poster-girl healer. Seemingly in an attempt to further diminish the effectiveness of the dive meta, which has suffered a few defeats in the pro circuit lately, Mercy’s ultimate is the target of this latest balance tweak.
In an attempt to utterly rework how Mercy players operate, and to prevent them from hanging back once their Ult is charged just to *maybe* score a 5-man resurrection, her ultimate ability is being changed entirely.
Resurrection is now a single-target secondary ability with a range of 5 meters and a pretty long cooldown of half a minute.
Replacing her Ult is an entirely new ability called Valkyrie which sees her make use of those iconic wings that have been just for show until now.
Valkyrie will allow Mercy to fly. Not just jump higher, float, levitate or boost, but actually fly. You’ll retain full control over her and move about unrestricted in 3D space. Valkyrie will also increase the range of her abilities, boost their stats and reduce cooldowns, including on the new secondary Resurrect ability.
While flying, your healing will be buffed, your damage will be buffed with the Caduceus Blaster and her beams will arc between multiple teammates. This mode will be sustained for 20 seconds.
This essentially wipes away, almost entirely, most existing Mercy strategies and demands players to adopt an entirely new approach. Hanging back and waiting for the rest of your team to wipe no longer makes and sense, and the damage increase of Valkyrie also means that Mercies will no longer be essentially toothless when it comes to a scrap.
This change does make sense, as it means her ultimate ability will now play onto her role as healer, boosting the efficiency and range of her healing and boosting abilities.
Once the initial knee-jerk reaction of “you ruined the character” blew over and people actually thought about what this means for the game, the changes were positively received.
The new Mercy will be a more common sight on the frontlines, tactically reviving key teammates in certain situations adds a further level to strategy and players who pick this hero won’t be relegated to hiding until the time to perform a 5 man rez arrives.
This is a good day for Mercy mains.
It does, however, further push the game towards a new meta.
After D.Va’s defense matrix was nerfed and she was given a new offensive ability, her place in the dive setup isn’t as secure as it was before, and several functional anti-dive builds have arise recently. T
he dive build itself was devised as a counter to the three-tank meta before it, but soon it evolved into being the solution to every situation, and dive vs. dive matches became more and more common.
Whether the anti-dive will become the next trend, or it will simply force a dive-reliant community to come up with something new is anyone’s guess, but this recent Mercy change will hasten the process.
The Valkyrie ability is playable in the PTR, and will be taken over to live sometime soon, possibly alongside the Junkertown map. We’ll be hearing the catchy ‘Heroes never die!’ line much less frequently…