After months of complaints, Mercy has finally received nerfs on the Overwatch live client, and players are rejoicing. But if the nerfs were such an obvious decision, why did it take Blizzard so long to push them through?
There were two main reasons for the delay, one conceptual and one practical. The first was a fundamental issue with how the development team saw Mercy.
When Mercy's ultimate was first changed from Resurrect to Valkyrie, the new ability was still focused on the concept of reviving dead teammates. Blizzard hadn't fully embraced that Resurrect wouldn't be central to Mercy's kit, so even though the enhanced healing was valuable, the extra resurrecting power was far more so.
When Blizzard finally realized just how potent Resurrecting even a single target was (thanks in part to Mercy haters such as Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles), the balance team had already tinkered multiple times with Mercy, leading to the second problem: Serious fatigue from Mercy fans. That made the team hesitant to put forth a fix until being relatively sure it would be final.
@PlayOverwatch #JeffKaplan Guys, was this really necessary? As a previous Mercy main, I’ve been adjusting to the shortcomings and previous nerfs but did you have to nerf her again? Leave my girl alone. Better yet, restore her to her former glory. #Overwatch #Mercy pic.twitter.com/s0sfBbwjJk— Jess (@PunkDoll999) January 30, 2018
After significant brainstorming and hand-wringing, the development team ultimately decided to cut Mercy's Resurrect out of Valkyrie entirely. Until that point, Valkyrie was an ultimate in name only — in truth, Resurrect was still the reason Mercy ever saw play.
Although fans will still complain about their hero receiving nerfs, the changes at least address the underlying issues with Mercy without compromising her character. Valkyrie is still a strong ability, and so is Resurrect, but neither will be able to dominate the meta as fully as Mercy had until now.
The change might not be completely perfect, but it does pull the rotten tooth that had been paining Overwatch. Now the true healing process can begin.
Cover photo courtesy of Blizzard