Overwatch's next update aims to balance the support class with a big Mercy nerf

An upcoming Overwatch update will bring about some big balance changes to nearly all of the game's support heroes, in order to "keep them competitive with each other," developer Geoff Goodman revealed on the Blizzard forums today. And what that means, it seems, is buffing most of them and dialing back Mercy so that maybe someone else will get picked once in awhile. 

Ana, Brigitte, Lucio, and Moira will all be tweaked to some extent, but Mercy is the primary target: The effectiveness of her primary fire healing beam will be reduced by 17 percent, from 60 HP per second to 50.   

"Mercy is intended to be able to consistently pump out more healing than any other healer over the course of a match. While this is currently true, the difference in healing is so significant that it makes it very difficult for other healers to compete with her for a spot on a team," Goodman explained. "Reducing her healing output will close this gap a little, but she will still maintain her status as the go-to pick for raw healing power. We’ll keep an eye on her to make sure she is still a strong pick."

Brigitte is also being nerfed, although much more slightly: Her Shield Bash cooldown is being increased from six seconds to seven, which will open the door to "a little more counter-play" against it.   

On the buffed side of things, Ana's Nano Boost ultimate will instantly heal its target for 300 HP on top of the attack and damage resistance boosts it already confers, the effect of Lucio's Sound Barrier ability will be increased from 500 shields to 750 and his Crossfade aura radius will go from 10m to 12m, and the base regeneration rate of Moira's healing resource will be upped by 20 percent.   

The one support who won't be messed with is Zenyatta, "as we feel he is in a pretty good spot," Goodman said. "He is doing his job well as a hybrid damage/healer and being able to provide Discord Orb for your team will always be welcome." 

A rollout date hasn't been set but Goodman said the changes are coming to the PTR "very soon." 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.