Mercy from Blizzard's Overwatch cinematic

The Overwatch team's history with reworks has not exactly been stellar, especially when it comes to Roadhog who still resides at the very bottom of the dirtiest dumpster, but I am very glad to say that the latest changes are some of the best they've ever done. Instead of simply nerfing Mercy and D.Va due to some annoying parts of their kit, they have given both heroes new and exciting tools to play around with!

As you'll see in the patch notes below, Mercy is now more of a proactive support that can resurrect one person on a relatively short cooldown, and if threatened can activate her ultimate to become the literal god of life and death - constantly flying around and dishing out healing and harm. D.Va on the other hand is losing a bit of duration on her Defense Matrix in return for a new rocket salvo ability that she can fire at any point, even while flying towards the enemy!

There are simply far too many changes for me to cover in brief, so if you're interested in the full patch notes you'll find them over at the Overwatch website. But for now, here are the most important hero changes:


Micro Missiles (New Ability)

- D.Va fires a barrage of small rockets that detonate on impact, dealing damage in a limited radius around each explosion. These can be fired while D.Va is using any other ability or firing her Fusion Cannons

Defense Matrix

- Defense Matrix's resource meter will now deplete twice as quickly


- Fusion Cannons can now be fired while flying

Developer Comments: D.Va’s Defense Matrix uptime has proven to be too strong, but simply reducing it without making other changes would make her too weak (and far less interesting to play). Instead, we’re adding a new ability, and giving her the ability to fire while flying. These changes give D.Va a lot of new options while maintaining Defense Matrix’s ability to shut down big enemy attacks.


Resurrect (formerly Mercy’s Ultimate ability)

- Ability now targets a single player, instead of every player within a radius

- Radius reduced to 5 meters

- Ability cooldown is 30 seconds

- Mercy is no longer granted invulnerability while Resurrect is active

Valkyrie (New Ultimate Ability)

- Valkyrie unleashes the full power of Mercy’s Valkyrie Suit, enhancing her weapons and abilities for 20 seconds:

- Caduceus Staff: Mercy’s healing and damage boost beams now affect all allies near the targeted teammate, and the staff’s effective range has been extended

- Caduceus Blaster: Granted infinite ammo, while simultaneously increasing damage and fire rate

- Guardian Angel: Increased range and movement speed

- Resurrect: Cooldown is instantly reset when Valkyrie is activated and reduced to 10s after the initial cast

- Hover: Mercy gains the ability to fly freely, at increased movement speed

- Regeneration (Passive): No longer interrupted when Mercy takes damage

Developer Comments: While resurrecting downed allies is a core part of Mercy’s gameplay, the way her Ultimate functioned was causing a number of problems. It was frustrating to play against, and it incentivized Mercy players to hide away from important battles, instead of taking part in them. This version turns Resurrect into a single target ability. It’s still an important part of Mercy’s kit, but plays much better for both Mercy players and her enemies. Valkyrie, her new Ultimate, gives her the opportunity to make big game-making plays and opens a number of new options for her.


Barrier Field

- Holding primary fire while your shield is active now allows you to rotate the camera

Developer Comments: This change gives Reinhardt more situational awareness while using his shield, allowing him to keep an eye on the battlefield while still protecting his team. 

From my testing so far I can confidently say that both D.Va and Mercy are absolutely ridiculous and will require some serious tuning before they come to the live servers, but that's exactly what the PTR is for so I'm not going to dwell on it too much. After all, its much better for a new ability to get introduced incredibly powerful and then tweaked downwards as this ensures plenty of people will be willing to test it out and give feedback.

As for what I think about the changes themselves, I have to admit I'm actually impressed with Overwatch's balance team. They've managed to address two incredibly problematic mechanics (Resurrect and Defense Matrix) without destroying either hero or altering their playstyle in a significant way. We're still talking about good ol' Mercy and D.Va here, they just have a noticeably higher skill ceiling now and more opportunities to make an impact on the course of the match. Here's to hoping Roadhog will also get one of these reworks in the near future as he is currently a mere shadow of his former self.