Players have been clamoring for another support hero in Overwatch for quite some time, and they got just that with the announcement of Moira, a tall, redheaded geneticist with a very interesting set of skills. After a few weeks gestating on the PTR, Moira hit the live servers late last week. I braved the wilds of Quick Play and spoke to the Los Angeles Gladiators, as well as Winston's Lab analyst and writer, Peggy Forde, to get a better idea of what to expect with Moira.
When I first jumped into training with Moira, it was immediately a refreshing experience. Unlike any other healer in the game, you need to do a little bit of damage if you want to keep people up in longer engagements. Similar to Zenyatta's buff and debuff, Moira's Biotic Grasp can be used to heal or to harm. When you use it to heal (left click), a yellow spray shoots out in a cone in front of you. The kicker is that the biotic energy you need to keep healing deteriorates over time, forcing you to track down some enemies and sap some life from them (right click) with a purple beam, thus replenishing your biotic energy bar and any health you might have lost. In an actual game, this isn't as stressful as it might sound:
As you can see, Moira is very comfortable at medium range, and while her biotic energy meter in the middle of the screen doesn't deplete all that fast, it refills quite slowly unless you use right-click to drain an enemy. This makes Moira a little more vulnerable than you might expect. Unlike Zenyatta, Lucio, or Ana, Moira doesn't have the tools or burst damage to outlast flankers. She can survive a bit until help arrives, but she has trouble finishing off DPS. I fought against a pretty good Moira in a deathmatch as Genji, and even with the healing and lock-on damage, I came out on top most of the time. It would appear as though Moira is better suited for standard tank compositions rather than dive compositions.
"Moira seems to be quite self reliant as a support when it comes to facing off a flanker like Tracer, much like Lucio is," says Benjamin "BigGoose" Isohanni, support player for the Los Angeles Gladiators. "However it's quite hard for her to kill anyone by herself without her ultimate. I believe she is very great when played together with tanks with some simple coordination, and when played with dive you need to play with a bit more unorthodox style. Moira seems relatively weak with dives whereas she shines especially in tanks vs. tanks. I believe Moira won't be a 100 percent pick like Lucio used to be but rather more situational and map dependent."
BigGoose's healing partner, Jonas "Shaz" Suovaara, feels much the same:
"Moira seems good with tanks and not that great with dive," Shaz says. "I don't think she will impact the meta much. She sucks on maps with a lot of high ground."
That's a very important point to keep in mind while developing your Moira game. Because of her limited range and mobility, most of the other healers have her beat in situations where you need to control the high ground. Be sure to stick with your tanks and call out targets if you're going to try sticking it out on maps like Watchpoint Gibraltar.
She will be great on defense
Peggy Forde from Winston's Lab spent a little time with Moira last week, and she feels that Overwatch's new healer is going to be a monster on defense:
"Let me just say she's insane on defense 2CP," Forde says, referring to Assault (two capture-point) maps like Temple of Anubis and Volskaya Industries. "I don't think she's that strong on offense or on payload maps until the very end on defense, like as a last resort (like how Sombra is commonly used)."
She is definitely strong when the fighting isn't too spread out, and 2CP maps look like they're going to be where Moira shines. Not only will her basic functions be easier to use, but her E-Skill, Biotic Orb, needs a lot of surfaces to bounce off of in order to maximize its effectiveness both for healing and damaging:
Choke points are your friend. As my team approached point B on Volskaya, we're greeted by the enemy Moira's orb. Seeing that there was at least a Symmetra out of position, I tossed one out myself and ended up getting a kill while the orb was out of sight. There's not a lot of skill involved with that ability, so throw it out against a wall and see what it brings back. It has some really good range on it, too:
Moira's ultimate ability, Coalescence, reaches considerably farther than her standard attack or heal. Having friendlies and enemies grouped up will make it much more effective to use. Remember that Coalescence goes through shields, once again affirming that Moira will be very good for and against choke point defenses on 2CP maps. Take a look at my obscenely skilled ultimate on Hollywood:
The other Moira is back in the cafe, but I'm able to bring her down from across the capture point before I decided it would be a great idea to go after a Torb turret and Symmetra. Imagine having a Transcendence that you can aim, but it also hurts the other team. That's what Moira's ult feels like, and it's going to be a beast to deal with if you're trying to crack a defense on maps like Hanamura or Volskaya Industries.
Coalescence can also be used to break through fortified enemy choke points, providing a safe lane for your close-range DPS heroes to advance on the opposing team. The beam's damage isn't super-high on its own, but providing constant healing to your Reaper or Symmetra will let them get into range and dish out some pain.
One last thing to note is that Coalescence builds pretty fast. You should still be smart about using it, but don't be afraid to burn it on a flanker or on enemy defenses if you're sure that you won't have to buffer any DPS ults. With a little good fortune, you should be able to use Coalescence quite a bit throughout the duration of a round.