We’ve been waiting for a new Overwatch support hero for a long time, and the community has not let Blizzard forget it. That’s why Overwatch’s Moira arrived at an excellent time. She was announced during Blizzcon and added to the PTR shortly afterwards. Now she’s live, and we’ve had a bit of time to try her out.
Here are some thoughts on Moira and how she contributes to the meta, and what her impact is. Is she overpowered or does she need a bit of a buff? Where is she best played?
Who is Moira?
First of all, Moira is an Irish geneticist with “flexible morals”. It seems she’ll work for anyone as long as it furthers her goals. She uses her biotic abilities to heal teammates or damage enemies, and has experimented on other people during her time at Blackwatch. She’s even the one behind Reaper’s particular set of skills, not to mention others.
Moira is a tall, elegant redhead with a fantastic Irish accent (voiced by actress Genevieve O’Reilly of Star Wars fame) and some culturally appropriate voice lines we’ll get into later. She’s refreshing in both appearance and playstyle, with a very different approach to most support heroes in Overwatch.
What Are Her Abilities Like?
Since she’s quite different to other support heroes, how do her abilities work? Her primary ability is a relatively short-range healing beam, which, unlike Mercy, does not automatically lock onto her teammates. The secondary fire uses her other hand, and extends a little further to mid-range to damage enemies. This one does have a lock-on, so as long as you hover your crosshair near the enemy it will attach itself and start doing damage. Healing depletes her biotic energy, which is shown in a bar next to your crosshair. It regenerates very slowly over time. However, much like Zarya, this energy can be regenerated quickly by dealing damage to your enemies.
She also has an orb that can either be deployed to bounce around and heal allies over time, or deal damage to enemies over time instead. It’s worth noting it can be useful for a bit of a self-heal as well. This orb, combined with her Biotic Grasp, can deal fairly devastating damage to enemies in confined spaces. If you get trapped, you can use her Fade ability to disappear and dash away from harm, though you won’t be able to use your other abilities during this time.
Coalescence, her ultimate, is a channeled beam that integrates both of her hands’ biotic abilities. It heals allies it passes through and damages enemies in its way. It can be incredibly disruptive to an enemy team. Whilst its damage isn’t especially high, its heal is very intense and enemies will scatter from the beam, possibly opening opportunities for your teammates to move in on a point.
How Does She Play?
With her abilities in mind, there are a few ways to play Moira successfully. Her Fade ability makes her quite mobile, though I personally found that I preferred hanging back with my tanks. Her heal feels pretty short range, despite it not being any shorter than Mercy’s beam. However, her damaging grasp is a little longer range and means she can sit back with her team and deal damage to anyone advancing, making her a pretty solid choice on any defensive position. This is emphasized by her healing hand, as it allows her to heal multiple allies at once (assuming they line up for you). If you have a room to defend or a bottleneck to pass through, Moira is incredibly useful to have on your team.
I encountered an enemy Moira who wouldn’t flank but would occasionally run forward to harass my teammates on Oasis as they were trying to push back her team from the point. She’d use Fade to escape if needed but was applying pressure, which I can see being a way people utilize Moira in the future.
With her instant lock-on damage beam she can be great against annoying flankers like Tracer or Genji, especially if she deploys a Biotic Orb and keeps the beam locked on. If things get too spicy she can always Fade away, whilst often winning one-on-one fights. Her Biotic Orb plus damaging Biotic Grasp combined do a total of 100 damage per second, which is a little higher than Zarya’s Particle Cannon or Winston’s Tesla Cannon, for example.
When should you pick Moira?
Moira doesn’t feel like she fits all team compositions. She might struggle to keep up with a team of divers or flankers. Her heal is limited in range, so keeping them alive may be difficult. While she does have some mobility with Fade, I feel like it’s better suited to being used as an escape, rather than using it to keep up with her Genji, Reaper, Tracer etc. You can use it to reposition for a fight, but keep in mind that it will leave you vulnerable and without an escape.
She seems best suited on defense maps, or on any map where she’ll have small, tight spaces to deploy her orb and trap enemies in with her and her team. If you have to defend a bottleneck, even better. She can apply pressure to a chokepoint when attacking with either her Orb or her ultimate, but it feels like a bit of a one-trick pony and you’ll definitely need to have good communication with your team to enable them to push through once you’ve opened up the door for them.
She feels significantly weaker in wide open spaces. If you’re playing with friends, this isn’t so bad. However, when teammates dash off to do their own thing Moira quickly becomes limited in her healing ability. As she is pretty strong in close quarters, not having a room or a bottleneck to trap enemies in makes her damage a bit underwhelming.
How Powerful is She? Does She Need To Be Buffed or Nerfed?
Moira feels pretty powerful but not overly so. It’s not uncommon to play a round and get four gold medals. However, she’s a bit weird as a support. You have to deal damage in order to heal effectively, which is quite refreshing. You’ll spend a lot of your time harassing enemies then turning on your friends to keep them up.
I don’t feel that she’s particularly overpowered from my experience with her, but nor is she weak. I could see Blizzard potentially increasing the cooldown of her Biotic Orb, and maybe even her Fade. They’re both on pretty short cooldowns so far. However, the rest of her kit feels quite well-tuned.
Moira’s Character Design
I may be biased, but I’m pleased that we have an Irish hero. Her in-game lines are in English, but the enemy team will hear them in Gaeilge (Irish). More importantly, her voice lines are the kind of things you hear walking around a city in Ireland every day. For example, “The state of you” or “You’re a chancer” are definitely things you’d hear growing up in Ireland! And of course, the customary “Grand” makes an appearance too.
As always, it feels like Blizzard has put a lot of effort into designing a character who fits with her background. Her voice actress is an Irish actress, and her voice lines are an excellent little cultural nod. A few of her lines are quotes from Irish authors Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker. This is something they always do incredibly well: look at Ana, her voice lines recorded on location in Egypt.
On top of that, her “Glam” skin is an obvious nod to David Bowie, with the classic quiff hairstyle and the star make-up.
It’s great having a new support on the Overwatch roster. Moira’s playstyle is refreshing as well, as she feels like a much more aggressive support than the other heroes. She’s also a lot more situational because of that, and doesn’t fit all people’s playstyles or all team comps. However she is an interesting addition to Overwatch, and it’ll be interesting to see how she’s played in competitive.
Have you tried Moira yet? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Column, First Person Shooter, FPS, Overwatch, Play of the Fortnight, Shooter