Big changes coming to Overwatch’s support class heroes

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I can’t tell you why or where it even started, but if I have the option to do so, I almost always play a support character in a game. This is no different in Overwatch where Mercy was my go-to hero for ages, and lately, I’ve been playing a whole lot of Brigitta and Moira as well. Those are only three out of six support heroes though, but it appears that Blizzard wants to make sure that people like me are equal opportunity support players. Lead designer Geoff Goodman has revealed in a blog post that some major changes are headed to Mercy and co in an upcoming patch.

The patch includes both nerfs and buffs, with the one affecting me the most being Mercy’s primary healing beam reduced from 60HP/s to 50HP/s to make her less of a viable pick as she’s currently out-healing every other support hero to the point of making them unappealing. I would actually dispute that as not only can Moira also pump out insane healing numbers, Mercy is simply not the be-all and end-all healer pick for every occasion. There are plenty of times where she really just doesn’t work in a team composition.

Also getting nerfed is Brigitte who sees the cooldown on her incredibly potent shield bash – arguably the best stun in the game – increased from 6 to 7 seconds. On the buff side of things, Moira will now be able to recharge her healing pool quicker, while Ana and Lucio get major boosts.

For Ana, casting her Nano Boost ultimate on a teammate will now also instantly heal the target for 300HP, meaning it can be used as a clutch save for a teammate (which was always an option previously thanks to the damage reduction it offered, but now is way more effective). Combining that with her biotic grenade and it means Ana will be able to do an insane amount of burst healing on a single target while allowing them to pump out more damage – this could become very potent when she wants to help a meaty tank stall out a point.

As for Lucio, he sees the range of his healing aura extended by a rather chunky 20% to allow him to support his teammates better in bigger area maps, while he will also be getting a huge buff to his own Sound Barrier ultimate. In the case of the latter, the shields it grants allies will be upped by a whopping 50% from 500 to 750. That is a whole lot of shields, to the point where it can now completely negate a number of high damage ults. Even though not mentioned in this post, Goodman did also explain later that the rate of decay for those shields has been increased though to ensure you will maintain them for the exact same length of time as before.

With the amount of armour Brigitte can offer teammates and now Lucio’s reworked sound barrier, you have to wonder why Blizzard is pushing so hard for damage reduction options. I mean with a combination of Lucio’s Sound Barrier and Brigitte’s armour-supplying Rally, you could essentially make your team immortal for a short period.

Two other things to mention is that Zenyatta won’t be getting any changes as Blizzard believe that “he is in a pretty good spot. He is doing his job well as a hybrid damage/healer,” and also that all support characters will now get a voiceline like Mercy’s which allows them to signal they are under attack and need help. As somebody who has spent far too much time as a Mercy or Zen in the backline as an enemy Tracer or Genji makes your life hell, this is very welcome.

There’s no word on exactly when these changes will kick in, other than they will be hitting the PTR “soon”. You can check out the full breakdown of the proposed changes, as well as Goodman’s explanations for each below.

Ana

  • Nano Boost additionally heals the target instantly for 300 HP.

Ana has a very strong and unique toolbox, with the potential to dish out more healing than any other hero in the game. That said, she has a couple disadvantages that can be difficult to overcome, such the potential to miss your targets, not having any mobility options, and having a more difficult time keeping herself healed up. Her ultimate can be very powerful but often feels like it can be difficult to use effectively unless it is used in combination with other allied ultimates such as Genji’s Dragonblade. This new change allows Ana to use her ultimate as a clutch save on a dying teammate, or even use it in combination with her Biotic Grenade for a huge instant heal on even the biggest of tank health pools.

Brigitte

  • Shield Bash cooldown increased from 6 to 7 seconds.

Shield Bash is Brigitte’s strongest ability, and its short cooldown makes it very difficult to play around. We’d like to keep her Shield Bash and subsequent melee combos powerful and effective, while just allowing a little more counter-play against it. We’ve talked about possibly reducing her defense somewhere, such as reducing her barrier health. However, her tank-hybrid nature is a core part of her kit and we want to make sure she maintains that feeling of being a difficult target to take down. Overall Brigitte’s win rate is still the highest of any support, despite dishing out the lowest amount of raw healing per second. This speaks volumes to how powerful her kit can be outside of her direct healing numbers.

Lúcio

  • Sound Barrier effect increased 50% from 500 to 750 shields.
  • Crossfade aura radius increased 20% from 10m to 12m.

Lucio’s Crossfade aura can be an invaluable addition for any team, but it can sometimes be difficult to keep your whole team boosted. We’re increasing the radius of Lucio’s Crossfade aura to allow more flexibility in how he moves while still maintaining his powerful support songs to help out his team. His ultimate is also being increased to help counter large spikes of damage. For example, Junkrat’s ultimate can deal a maximum of 600 damage, which Sound Barrier can now potentially negate completely. It is worth noting that even though the initial shield he provides is larger, it still takes the same amount of time to destroy itself.

Mercy

  • Primary fire healing beam reduced 17% from 60 HP/s to 50 HP/s.

Mercy is intended to be able to consistently pump out more healing than any other healer over the course of a match. While this is currently true, the difference in healing is so significant that it makes it very difficult for other healers to compete with her for a spot on a team. Reducing her healing output will close this gap a little, but she will still maintain her status as the go-to pick for raw healing power. We’ll keep an eye on her to make sure she is still a strong pick.

Moira

  • Healing resource base regen rate increased 20%.

Moira is a strong hero that doesn’t need a ton of changes. The resource change here is mostly to help her out in the situations where you’re just not able to get close enough the enemy to drain them for resources. Now if your team is sparring with the enemy team at super long ranges, you’ll have a bit more resources to work with to keep your team topped off.

 

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Last Updated: July 23, 2018

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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