The infamous Mercy nerf has finally landed in the latest Overwatch live patch. Across the internet, players are crying out that it was too harsh or that Mercy is useless now compared to where she was before. But how true is this really? In this Play of the Fortnight, we’re taking a look at the Mercy nerf and how it changes her playstyle.
What Were the Changes to Mercy?
Mercy has undergone a lot of changes throughout the course of the game. Whilst her beams have remained mostly the same, her resurrect moved from her ultimate – where it resurrected anyone nearby all at once – to a regular ability that could only resurrect one person at a time, with a cooldown. Her ultimate was then changed to Valkyrie, which allowed her to fly without needing a teammate to latch onto, changed her beams to be chain-beams that could heal or damage boost multiple enemies standing near one another, and gave her two charges of resurrect, making them instant.
The exact changes listed in the patch notes can be found below:
– No longer makes Resurrect instant
– No longer grants a bonus Resurrect charge
– The speed bonus Guardian Angel receives when activating Valkyrie has been decreased by 50%
– Duration reduced from 20 seconds to 15 seconds
As you can see, her Resurrect is effectively now the same in Valkyrie and out of it. She is also less powerful whilst in Valkyrie than she used to be.
How Does This Affect Mercy Players?
First of all, the biggest thing you might notice as a Mercy player is that you’re not going to feel as welcome on a team for the next week or two while players get used to the changes. A lot of the community seems to think that the nerf means she’s completely useless and are responding by flaming people who pick her in a match.
Really, what it actually means is that you’re going to have to get used to not relying on Valkyrie in sticky situations. It’s still useful, but you won’t be able to move around or escape as easily due to the speed bonus nerf, and it no longer lasts as long. This makes the ability a little more situational and will mean you need to pay attention when using it to ensure you don’t get caught out because of the changes.
Valkyrie can also no longer be used as a vehicle to enable you to resurrect teammates swiftly. As you only have one charge of Resurrect now, and it takes the same amount of time as a non-Valkyrie Resurrect, recovering from a hard push is going to be more difficult.
What About Everyone Else?
There’s no doubt that the Mercy nerf is going to affect the game as a whole. Firstly, Mercy was a primary pick in matches across the entire spectrum of skill levels. In lower ranks, it was often considered “throwing” to not pick Mercy. Now, we’re probably going to see a lot less of her, at least in the beginning.
Overextenders beware, however. Before this nerf, a non-Valkyrie Resurrect was a risky maneuver if you weren’t defended by your teammates. Overextenders could sometimes, however, rely on a Valkyrie Mercy dashing rapidly out to their location and popping an instant res before flying back to the rest of her team and popping it again. This will be no more.
If you were a player who often got resurrected multiple times during a match, you’re going to find this change hurts a lot. You’ll need to be prepared to modify your strategy a little. There won’t be a Mercy there waiting to pick you up every time and guide you back to the fight.
The Change Doesn’t Have To Be Bad
Blizzard was very heavy-handed with their Mercy nerf. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. It’ll be worth trying Mercy over the next few weeks (if you can stomach the potential hate from teammates!) to see how she plays. It feels like she’ll be a more situational pick rather than a given, now.
This is actually great for support mains who often felt forced into playing Mercy because she was all but required, or at least requested. There’s more freedom to try other support comps. More choice is almost always good, so it’ll be interesting to see how Blizzard decides to navigate the support environment with their changes. Will we see other supports being nerfed also, or some buffs and changes to utility to try and fill the gap left by Mercy?
Also, ultimately, Blizzard needed to change Mercy. Any time one hero is practically guaranteed to be picked, you know that something has to change. Whether or not the changes will stick remains to be seen. Blizzard may decide to rebalance her a little in the future. However, we can hope that they don’t make as big a change as they did last time!
Blizzard needs to tread very carefully with changes as big as the Mercy nerf. Mercy is a hero who is often played by players who have difficulty with other heroes. Her instant lock-on heal and damage boost beam meant that those players who were less accurate didn’t have to worry too much. She was also pivotal in team fights. This was great for players who were relatively new to or uncomfortable with shooters in general. They knew that a hero they enjoyed playing and found easy enough to perform on was always going to be welcome. These players may not find it as easy to choose a replacement hero as others might.
However, ultimately it doesn’t feel like Mercy has been nerfed into the ground. The changes do seem quite heavy and will take some getting used to. We’re likely to see some changes to the meta, especially in competitive and Overwatch League in the coming weeks.
If you’d like to read the full patch notes, you can find them here. What are your thoughts on the recent Mercy nerf? Let us know in the comments below!Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Column, First Person Shooter, FPS, Overwatch, Play of the Fortnight, Shooter