Blizzcon yielded a ton of news for all of Blizzard’s properties (except Diablo, unfortunately), and while World of Warcraft got the most attention, huge amounts of new content are coming to Overwatch too, most important among which is a new Support hero which the game has been in dire need of.
Attendees even got a chance to take Moira for a spin. This new hero not only shakes up the healer hierarchy, but plugs some of the game’s lore gaps as well with her backstory.
Moira isn’t a pure healer like Mercy, so the recently reworked field medic likely won’t be toppled from her position as the top pick for healing, but her high damage output and tank-busting ult will make her an interesting battlefield phenomenon. Most of Moira’s abilities carry the same theme as her visual design – duality.
The tubes adorning the outfit of the heterochromatic geneticist switch between yellow and purple based on where you’re using healing abilities or offensive abilities, her left hand looks healthy and channels yellow-colored energy for healing while her right hand is gangled and channels purple-colored energy for damage. Her ultimate is a sustained beam which, when aimed at enemies, causes damage, but heals when aimed at allies.
Moira’s primary fire is a sustained beam attack which drains the target’s life while healing Moira and filling her healing gauge. Without this, she is incapable of using her healing abilities, and is quite vulnerable, but even when used, this ability isn’t enough to keep her alive in the face of a sustained attack. Her alt fire is the healing variant of the same ability, but has shorter range.
Her secondary ability, Biotic Orb, creates a free moving ball of energy which persists for a given amount of time and rebounds off walls in its path. It can either be a variant that damages enemies or one that heals allies. Her escape ability, Fade, is a short-range teleport with no casting time, however its really short range makes it effectiveness limited. This concession is likely made to prevent the character from being too overpowered due to her high damage and healing output.
Her ultimate ability is particularly interesting.
Coalescence releases a sustained beam consisting of both of Moira’s energy types, meaning you don’t need to pick the effect – if it touches enemies, they take damage, if it touches allies, they get healed. It will certainly be effective as a tank buster as it goes right through barriers, ignoring them entirely. Players have described that while the beam is active, it causes aim to wander and travel on screen and needs to be constantly adjusted, replicating the sensation of an extremely powerful, uncontrolled outburst of energy.
It’s immediately apparent that Moira is a hero intended for skilled and experienced players. Her resource management system, demanding damage upkeep to sustain healing requires players to stay in the middle of the fray, always being close enough to enemies to replenish their healing gauge when needed, but also ensuring they have a way to escape if things go south.
Moira is something of a glass cannon as she is vulnerable and her escape ability isn’t too effective. Juggling damage output with healing will demand dynamic playstyles and is bound to be quite intense.
Using her rebounding orbs sounds difficult in theory, as players are in constant motion and you can’t be expected to always calculate the angles it will bounce. However, in practice you don’t need the orbs to make physical contact with the characters, rather go near them as little rays of energy emanating from the orb will automatically affect all players within range.
Her ultimate seems like an easier affair to make use of, especially when unleashed into a tight-knit whole team versus whole team situation when a gangle of heroes in one bunch will all take healing and damage, you just need to aim vaguely at the scuffle.
In terms of lore, Moria acts as Mercy’s foil in many respects, and while the short backstory video didn’t explore their relationship, I’d guess they were major rivals in the past.
Moria also started out in Overwatch, specifically as a member of Gabriel Reyes’ Blackwatch arm of the organization. At this point in time, she wore an outfit almost identical to Mercy’s, with the difference being hers had red highlights, and the headpiece featured horns instead of a halo. While this symbolism is about as subtle as a sledgehammer, it’s a nice tidbit.
Until now, Blizzard kept the lid on why Reyes became the genetically deteriorating Reaper and what manner of accident caused the transformation. A popular fan theory painted the situation as a lifesaving operation performed by Mercy gone awry, but that theory has now been debunked.
It was Moira who, purposefully, destabilized Reyes’ genes. She was shunned by Overwatch for her unorthodox and ambitious approach to science and research, as she seemingly had no conscience and deemed nothing too cruel or unethical when pursuing knowledge. She later joined Talon, and is now set to play a larger role in Doomfist’s plan of igniting another large scale war.
Blizzard has released a piece of concept art which might indicate one of Moria’s alternate skins, called Glam, which is highly influenced by David Bowie’s performative style. Beyond this, only her default skin was seen in action. There is currently no release date set for Moira, but we don’t guess players will be kept waiting for long.