For the first three days of the Overwatch 2 beta (opens in new tab), Mercy couldn't heal properly. The game's most popular healer had a bug that prevented her healing beam from chaining to allies during her Valkyrie ultimate, squashing any hope of saving her team during a hectic fight. Blizzard issued a patch that fixed the ability today, but a list of problems remain for the support character, which are detailed in this Reddit post (opens in new tab) by user ihatemouthwash.
I noticed Mercy's wonky behavior myself while playing the beta this week. Valkyrie is supposed to increase the healing rate of Mercy's beam and spread out across your team while also allowing you to freely fly around the map. It's not uncommon for your allies to die during it anyway, but it was hard to tell why Valkyrie was less effective than in the original game. The time-to-kill in Overwatch 2 is noticeably faster without a second tank to turn around and help you out, so I initially attributed it to that. Now that it's fixed, Mercy should at least be able to keep up with the rest of the support roster, but that's not the end of the story.
Mercy's signature ability, Resurrect, is inconsistent in the beta right now too. Players are reporting that it won't work within its intended range, its cooldown is sometimes reset for no reason, and that the animation for it can stall out and interrupt the ability. The new, contentious scoreboard (opens in new tab) also doesn't seem to correctly reflect the amount of damage Mercy's beam has boosted while attached to another hero. An alternate setting that allows Mercy to fly to teammates while healing someone else seems to break occasionally, too.
Outside of the now-fixed Valkyrie bug, none of Mercy's problems are game-breaking on their own. It's possible they could be fixed before the beta ends in May, but they drag the character down in a beta that already seems to have it out for support players. Much of the feedback in the last few days has been that playing a healer in the fast-paced Overwatch 2 beta is a thankless, laborious job where you repeatedly get crushed by enemy DPS and tanks. The most popular thread (opens in new tab) on the official beta forums is simply titled, "Support feels AWFUL," with many players discussing how hard it is to survive in the game's much more lethal 5v5 format.
"In OW2, I just can’t heal enough, no matter how well I do," wrote SkillNoKills in the thread while on the topic of Mercy. "I barely get any chance to damage boost because there’s always more healing that needs to be done."
"Now, Mercy can’t keep up a DPS getting attacked, and it’s more like delaying the inevitable," they added.
Serten1tynow, a Mercy main who plays her in the game's highest competitive ranks, told me that the Valkyrie bug was manageable for experienced players because they're used to juggling the health of their allies, but that it doesn't solve the current state of the support role.
"Support in general is having it rough compared to the rest of the roles," he said.
"In most places, Zenyatta fills Mercy's spot better," he said. "That’s why we saw Brigitte Zenyatta [compositions] be so dominant. He has amazing damage, a good defensive ult, and Orb of Discord. Mercy has been a niche pick for a very long time, although you can make it work if you adapt, there are just heroes that do it better sadly."
"Removing hard crowd control from the game didn't do anything except make supports feel worse to play," argues Reddit user Sushi2k (opens in new tab). Many players, including myself, have found that highly mobile supports, like Lucio and Moira, can safely zoom around the map and avoid getting snared by an enemy DPS. Blizzard removed most forms of stuns from damage characters, like Cassidy's Flashbang and Mei's freeze, which were often used to help protect their healers. Now, healers have to defend themselves. The only answer, in a lot of scenarios, is to simply kill your attacker before they kill you. Damage characters all move faster and tanks have increased mobility. Supports now have regenerating health, but it rarely matters when it's so easy for enemies to jump onto you.
That leaves heroes like Mercy, who is primarily made to heal and damage boost allies, feel too weak to play. More aggressive healers like Zenyatta and Moira (opens in new tab), on the other hand, are better equipped to chase down eliminations while also healing. It's a shift from the live game, which currently favors a mixture of dedicated healers and damage dealers. Across Reddit and the forums, support players seem confused on whether they should heal or deal damage. And without a new hero to experiment with, they're left struggling to make their current favorite heroes work in Overwatch 2.
if the next overwatch 2 character isn't a support, you support mfs need to start protesting or something you guys are being abused this is sadApril 28, 2022
"If the next Overwatch 2 character isn't a support, you support mfs need to start protesting or something you guys are being abused this is sad," wrote professional Overwatch player Apply. For reference: the last support added to Overwatch was Baptiste, a healer/DPS hybrid, in early 2019.
The reason for a beta is to give feedback on the game, so it's possible Blizzard will take this into account and adjust healing to be more useful soon. The Mercy Valkyrie fix is a step toward balancing the role, but it's clear that something has to be done on a larger scale. Overwatch League's 2022 season, which will be the first professional event on the beta build, starts next week. Even in the hands of the game's most skilled players, the matches might help reveal why support needs some help.