Heroes never die… but they do undergo radical reconstructive surgery from time to time, and that’s exactly what’s happened in Overwatch to everyone’s favourite pocket healer, Mercy.
In their latest round of Overwatch PTR changes, Blizzard completely overhauled Support mainstay Mercy. A developer update from director Jeff Kaplan explained a total revamp of Mercy’s Ultimate ability, along with smaller changes to her overall kit. In the video, Kaplan described Mercy’s new Ultimate as “a little bit shocking” to longtime players used to her established abilities.
Those familiar with Overwatch’s team-centric gameplay understand the weight of Mercy’s presence on the battlefield, due in part to her Resurrect ability. In place of her Ultimate Resurrect – which remains part of her general kit, through a smaller role – Mercy’s new Ultimate Valkyrie allows for a 20-second boost to her movement, weapons, and overall abilities. Along with this overhaul are a few notable buffs.
In Valkyrie mode, Mercy gains the Hover ability, which Kaplan describes as “the ability to fly. Like, really fly”. This allows Mercy to move freely in all directions, amplifying her Guardian Angel ability with increased movement speed, akin to Zenyatta’s enhanced mobility during Transcendence. Kaplan was clear to highlight that this is true flight, unlike Pharah’s jetpack abilities. As of the current PTR patch, players are able to experience this new form of all-directions movement first hand.
Smaller changes also include a buff to Mercy’s passive health regeneration, which is no longer interrupted while taking damage. Players fond of ‘Battle Mercy’ will be happy to find infinite ammo in her Caduceus Blaster, with an increase to both firing rate and damage output while in Valkyrie mode.
It’s important to note that Resurrect remains part of Mercy’s kit, but will only be able to bring a single target back onto the battlefield. Where Mercy had no ‘E’ ability prior to the PTR changes, Resurrect now exists in a revamped, non-Ultimate form and will have a five meter radius and a thirty second cooldown.
This update comes as a radical change to how Overwatch is played both casually and competitively. Healers are an already scarce role in a limited pool of Support characters, and while players have mostly resigned to a life of character-kit impermanence, Mercy’s changes mark a monumental shift in how teams will approach the game. In the words of Overwatch’s Guardian Angel herself, it looks like Mercy mains are back to square one.