Blizzard accidentally issues a stealth nerf to healing character Mercy as part of Overwatch‘s recent Competitive Mode patch but says it’s working on a fix.
The big story around Blizzard’s Overwatch this week was the release of the new ranked play Competitive Mode on PC and Xbox One with PlayStation 4 soon to follow. Competitive Mode lets Overwatch‘s most experienced players square off against each other for bragging rights and cosmetic rewards over the course of a two to three month season. The patch seems to have been received well by the community so far, with one notable exception: an accidental nerf to Mercy has made one of the game’s most popular healers anything but competitive.
WCCFtech notes that complaints started popping up on the Overwatch Reddit shortly after the ranked play patch went live. User DongLord5000 was one of the first to post about some serious changes he noticed regarding the character:
Prior to this patch, when healing/damage boosting an ally, you didn’t need line of sight or to be facing your current stream target to switch to the other stream. Now, if you want to change streams on your current target, you need to reacquire the target completely.
No longer can you smoothly switch the stream while also watching the rest of your team’s health bars, you have to A) turn back to face them B) temporarily ‘break’ the stream, rather than smoothly switching from one to the other C) come out of cover, if you happen to be hiding and D) pray that another ally doesn’t get between you and your target, because they’ll steal your stream focus.
All in all, this makes playing Mercy much less smooth and therefore less enjoyable for me, and the fact that it wasn’t in the patch notes has my jimmies quite rustled. Perhaps it was unintentional?
As it turns out, the nerf was indeed quite unintentional. First, Blizzard Community Manager Lylirra confirmed on the official Overwatch forums that the change was unintended and then game designer Geoff Goodman chimed in and said the team is working on a fix, so Mercy should hopefully be back to normal sooner rather than later.
While Mercy will be back to full strength in the near future, the same can’t be said for several other Overwatch heroes. McCree and Widowmaker received significant damage decreases two weeks ago to give other players, particularly tanks, a better chance of surviving in a one-on-one fight. Then, this past week, Blizzard announced that the hero Torbjorn will receive a decrease to his turret damage on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sometime in July.
Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan noted on the official forums three days ago that his team is also taking a look at hero Zenyatta but did not say exactly what changes might be in store. Kaplan said the team wants to wait and see how the recent nerfs to McCree and Widowmaker play out before making any more decisions.
As for Mercy, Blizzard did get at least one thing right recently. The developer used Mercy’s battle cry of “Heroes Never Die” as part of a tribute to a Chinese Overwatch fan who passed away one day before the game’s release while chasing down a thief on a motorbike. The tribute can be found in the form of Chinese characters on one of the astronaut suits in the map Lijiang Tower.
Overwatch is available now on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.