Mercy’s Redesign Shows The Tug Of War Between Casual And Competitive Overwatch

In a past month, a healer Mercy in Overwatch has gifted an rare boom in recognition opposite all rival levels, generally in a top tiers. The large spike in Mercy use coincides with a massive renovate of her abilities, pleasantness of a patch implemented on Sep 19. These outrageous changes have sparked plead in a Overwatch village about how pro players change a game, and either Blizzard’s focus into a esports business has altered a game.

Before Mercy’s update, the Overwatch village used to batter a character for being a “one pretence pony” who was presumably easy to master. Mercy frequency seemed on pro teams. Now, though, that seems expected to change, given that many Overwatch pros adore a redesign and trust it was a prolonged time coming.


“Old Mercy wasn’t unequivocally interactive or mechanically perfectionist during all,” pronounced Nikola “Sleepy” Andrews, a support actor for San Francisco’s Overwatch League team. “Hiding somewhere and popping out to revitalise your whole group also doesn’t take many smarts or anything.” Sleepy sees a refurbish as a must-have: “Old Mercy wasn’t as viable as this new Mercy.”

Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty, who plays support and spasmodic other roles for FaZe Clan (competitors in a Overwatch World Cup and Overwatch Contenders, a teenager joining for Overwatch League), concluded with Sleepy’s assessment: “She’s many stronger and should be picked over many support heros in Ranked, during slightest for now.”

“I consider aged Mercy was unequivocally user-friendly,” Rawkus went on. “It was a unequivocally elementary concept: right click heal, left click repairs boost, change to fly and Q to res, with 0 aim compulsory in an aim-based game. we consider new Mercy requires a lot stronger decision-making.”

Nico Deyo, Kotaku’s proprietor Mercy expert, agrees with Rawkus and Sleepy that Mercy is reduction user-friendly than before. She sees a changes as emblematic of Overwatch’s investment in esports: “This change speaks reduction to ramping adult a altogether problem of a hero, and some-more augmenting a final on new players in a game. [Overwatch] is apropos some-more optimal for rival esports play and a village that has been a partial of that and shooters for a longer time.”


“There was a time that we felt that this diversion unequivocally wanted to welcome players of all stripes, quite about capturing a non-shooter market, a infrequent market,” Deyo went on. “It feels like we’re starting to pierce divided from that as Overwatch League becomes an tangible business operation.”

These changes to Mercy do seem to preference high-level players as against to newcomers. Many Overwatch fans have speculated about either Blizzard cares some-more about pros than infrequent players, and a Mercy refurbish has brought that aged plead behind in full force.

Back in July, a game’s executive Jeff Kaplan addressed this on Blizzard’s forums by observant fans had done “tremendous oversimplifications” in presumption a game’s developers “only change around casuals” or “only change around pros.” Kaplan wrote that a group “spend[s] a lot of time deliberating a ramifications during all levels of play.”

This time around, though, Kaplan’s answer has changed. On Sep 19, as Overwatch players uttered their doubts about a imminent changes to Mercy, a diversion executive sang a opposite tune:

“Pro players unequivocally do have an change on a decision-making. We have a unchanging discussion call with pro players to plead their thoughts on a change of a game. Also, I’ve extended my email residence to many of a pro players I’ve met over a years and some of them are unequivocally good during essay adult their thoughts and pity them with me and a OW team. The Pros also have a conflict channel where some of a developers and support folks hang out to accumulate feedback. We also get a good news from a esports group that gathers feedback directly from a pro community. So all pros should know that they have a approach line to providing feedback to a OW group and we take it unequivocally seriously.”

In closing, Kaplan added: “But we don’t consider any of that should bonus a feedback of other non-pro players. Every voice matters…”


Blizzard told Compete that a Overwatch group has their “heads down heading into BlizzCon” and would be taken to criticism on a border to that pro players have shabby Mercy’s rework. However, both Sleepy and Rawkus reliable to Compete that they’ve had many opportunities to offer suggestions to Overwatch developers.

Sleepy told Compete that he’s a partial of a “Discord channel usually for pro players, with Blizzard devs in it. I’ve offering feedback on a few things before in that channel, nonetheless we can’t demonstrate to how many they listen or take in a feedback we give.”


Rawkus felt some-more assured about pro players’ change over a game. “Pros have tons of ways to get in hit with Blizzard developers, and they’re constantly listening to a feedback and seeking for recommendation on certain issues,” he told Compete. “They don’t always do what we want, nonetheless they unequivocally are holding feedback, and I’ve privately been means to yield feedback directly to developers.”

Sleepy and Rawkus still trust serve refinements should be done to Mercy’s build, though, quite a length of her Ultimate ability. Rawkus pronounced he hoped Blizzard would “nerf Valkyrie to 12 seconds.” Sleepy had a same suggestion: “make it 10 or 15 seconds instead instead of 20.” Neither actor had large complaints about a new doing of her rebirth ability, nonetheless it’s also value observant that conjunction actor has nonetheless had to play with new Mercy on a contest stage.

Image by Yong Woo ‘Kenzi’ Kim / Flickr

Most pros haven’t had to contest with new Mercy yet. Blizzard has authorised many tournaments, nonetheless not all, to use a server that facilities an comparison build of a game, before to Mercy’s patch.


This isn’t a initial time that Blizzard has inconsistently implemented a patch in pro Overwatch. Last March, Blizzard delayed a recover of a patch for participants in a Overwatch APEX series. Meanwhile, a players in a Overwatch Carbon Series, that Blizzard co-hosted, had to play a newest build of a game. The APEX players got dual weeks to use before a patch went live in competition.

Pros have had distant longer than dual weeks to try out a Mercy patch, deliberation it’s been over a month and counting. Participants in APEX, a Overwatch World Cup, and Overwatch Contenders have not had entrance to Mercy’s makeover. It seems doubtful that Blizzard would exercise a changes before a Overwatch World Cup finals on Nov 3-4.

Meanwhile, competitors in APAC Premier 2017 have already been personification a diversion with new Mercy. So far, a APAC teams seem to adore Mercy. She’s been a go-to healer collect for all teams in roughly each match. The majority of Mercy has done these matches feel repeated to watch, nonetheless her refurbish hasn’t left live opposite a whole pro scene, so it stays to be seen how Mercy’s updates will impact a Overwatch witness experience.


Mercy’s makeover doesn’t seem entirely baked yet, anyway. Based on Rawkus and Sleepy’s feedback about a length of Mercy’s stream Ultimate ability, it seems expected that Blizzard will emanate another refurbish or dual to Mercy before she creates her debut. Or, during least, a pros seemed to consider so. “I do consider there will be some some-more changes to Mercy before Overwatch League begins,” Sleepy told Compete.

If there are no serve changes, though, both Sleepy and Rawkus trust Mercy could browbeat a margin this entrance year. Sleepy described new Mercy as “practically requiring one of a supports to collect her.”

Rawkus concluded that, though serve changes, Mercy will continue her energy over rival play: “easily, Mercy will be nearby a 100% collect rate.” But for pro players? Rawkus didn’t seem so certain. “It’s tough to tell,” he said.

It’s also tough to tell either or not a Overwatch village will continue to loathing Mercy. Before her update, Mercy had a repute as a “low skill” impression for newbies. In her stream form, Mercy is deliberate lunatic and overused. Nico Deyo believes that a loathing of Mercy is about her rebirth skill, nonetheless also, about a strange pattern choices and branding of Overwatch.


“What creates Overwatch a constrained remedy to a standard shooter is precisely what creates characters like D.Va and quite Mercy appealing to those of us who didn’t play Call of Duty for hours on end,” Deyo said. “The fact that their abilities that are for insurance from disaster and death. The primary design is not killing, nonetheless is in fact teamwork. Mercy was a pivotal cause to this thought with resurrection, and we trust during a heart of a annoy lies a disappointment with that ability.”

Rawkus and Sleepy argued a reason they didn’t like Mercy before was not due to her rebirth ability, nonetheless usually given she wasn’t absolute enough.

“It’s not indispensably that her ult was a ‘one trick,’” pronounced Sleepy. “It’s that generally people who especially play Mercy don’t unequivocally know how to play anything else. It’s not indispensably their fault, nonetheless Mercy has such a singular playstyle and ability set that doesn’t send to any other impression in a game.”


Rawkus, however, some-more closely mirrored Deyo’s suspicions about how pro Overwatch players feel about Mercy and a players who use her. “Mainly a disappointment came from Mercy not being clever altogether and performance-based SR [skill ratings] putting Mercy ‘One Tricks’ into rating 1500+ aloft than they were originally.”

“There are a ton of ‘One Trick’ Mercy usually players,” Rawkus went on. “It’s an easy favourite to collect adult due to not requiring aim. we consider given a new changes there’s been reduction Mercys high rated. [Mercy players] are solemnly adjusting to their genuine rating.”

Now that Mercy is some-more “viable” in higher-level play, both Rawkus and Sleepy pronounced that a view towards a impression has changed, during slightest for competitors during their level. “No one unequivocally gets insane during people personification Mercy now,” Rawkus said. Sleepy remarkable that “people got dissapoint during Mercy players before,” nonetheless her updates have done her “a ‘must pick’ and good during all points.”


That might be loyal for conversations among pros, nonetheless it doesn’t simulate Nico Deyo’s knowledge during a reduce levels of play. When asked about a annoy towards Mercy, she said, “I don’t feel that it has unequivocally altered in essence.”

“No matter what, players don’t like her and they will continue to not like her as prolonged as she can revive people and do a lot of healing—two things that shooter players in ubiquitous are not used to during all,” Deyo went on. “I consider shooter players generally do not wish to acknowledge that they do not like a thought of disempowerment as a elemental underline in a diversion that sells them a ability illusion and a energy fantasy.”

No matter a motivation, there’s no going behind from these Mercy changes. For pro players, that’s good news. For everybody else? Overwatch usually got a small some-more exclusionary.

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