It's hard to appreciate Overwatch 2's newest support hero knowing that at any moment he could absolutely ruin your day.
On April 11, Overwatch 2 will introduce Lifeweaver, a charming Thai hero who has the ability to pull his teammates toward him. If an ally is in danger, Lifeweaver can cast a shield onto them and yank them to safety. He can also yank them into danger, or off the map.
Lifeweaver could be a griefer's dream, but Blizzard seems confident it won't be a problem.
"In terms of trolling, we do have some controls over where Life Grip can be cast from, and it's doing some detection to make sure that you're not doing something really bad like dragging someone into a death plane off the side of the map or something like that," hero design producer Kenny Hudson said in a group interview with PC Gamer.
Heroes with their own movement abilities, like Tracer's Blinks or Moira's Fade, can escape Lifeweaver's grip, but wasted abilities cost you precious time in a fast-paced match.
"Internally, when we were coming up with this ability, there was a little bit of apprehensiveness," Hudson said. "But what we found as we were playtesting was that we actually saw a lot of heroic saves with Life Grip, especially if you have an over-extending tank or something like that."
In the gameplay video released today, you can see Lifeweaver pulling a friendly Reaper and Pharah through enemies as they use their otherwise stationary ults. It's an impressive display of what coordinated plays could look like with the ability, but it also seems like it would be rare outside of high-skill matches.
Lifeweaver has to spend time healing too, but he was designed to offer an alternative for players who want to help their team in other ways. Blizzard hopes its long cooldown will help players learn how to use Life Grip effectively without disrupting their teammates.
I'm not entirely convinced Life Grip won't be a problem given how sparse communication is in everyday matches. I've played over 3,000 hours of this game and I hesitate at the idea of moving my teammates around without their permission. I can't always see what they see or know what they're thinking. It's hard enough trying to play my own hero well.
Lifeweaver's other major ability, Petal Platform, could introduce a similar problem. When used, he tosses a flower platform onto the ground that rises up into the air when he, an ally, or an enemy steps on it. Say hello to a new way to accidentally give the enemy Cassidy the biggest high noon of his life.
Thankfully, Petal Platform can be taken down by Lifeweaver at any time and it can be destroyed by enemies, so, like with Life Grip, Blizzard seems confident it won't be as big of an issue as it sounds. I'm inclined to believe it; Mei's had the ability to raise an ice wall that can lift players up since the game's launch and it's rarely a problem.
As long as Lifeweaver doesn't become the bane of every match, he's got a lot to like in the rest of his kit, which looks like this:
- Primary fire: Healing Blossom — Hold to charge a healing burst. Release to heal a targeted ally.
- Secondary fire: Thorn Volley — Rapidly fire a spread of projectiles.
- Petal Platform: Throw a platform that springs upwards when stepped on by the first person, enemy or ally.
- Rejuvenating Dash: Dash towards your traveling direction and lightly heal yourself.
- Life Grip: Pull an ally to your location, protecting them as they travel.
- Passive: Parting Gift — On death, drop a gift that heals the first person, enemy or ally, to pick it up.
- Ultimate: Tree of Life — Place a tree that instantly heals allies upon sprouting and continues healing periodically as it lives.
Lifeweaver appears to be a blend of Mercy's consistent healing and Kiriko's utility for saving her teammates. He can pump out heals and save someone in a pinch.
Blizzard has admitted that the support category has lacked variety for far too long. Lifeweaver is the first step toward making support more appealing to more types of players—but that just might include some people who aren't interested in helping.
Everyone will be able to play Lifeweaver when Overwatch 2 season 4 begins on April 11 for a limited time, according to a post on Xbox Wire. But to unlock him permanently, you'll have to purchase Overwatch 2's season 4 premium battle pass, climb to tier 55 of the free track, or complete a set of challenges.