Lt. Morales—a Medic from StarCraft—has just been added to Heroes of the Storm, and already people know the drill. I load into a match on Dragon Shire and an ally spells out the game plan in chat. “Alright, kill their Morales and we win,” they declare, before following up with “and make sure our Morales doesn’t die.” I am the Morales in this situation, and the enemy team has been reading from a similar playbook.
I’ve almost exclusively played support roles since I started playing MOBAs six years ago—and in other genres before that—but I’ve never felt more like a carry while playing support than I do with Lt. Morales. Her Healing Beam is so ridiculously fast that she can make an ally close to unkillable. So the logical response to that kind of power is simple: make sure you kill Lt. Morales first, even if you have to ignore the enemy’s actual carries to do it. But Lt. Morales isn’t a great support just because of her healing power; she’s great because playing as her put me out of my comfort zone and into danger—and she’s one of the few support characters since Team Fortress 2’s Medic who feels important enough to target over the damage dealers.
I’ve played strong healers in other MOBAs before, so I know supports having a big red target on their back isn’t unique to this Medic, but when I'm Lt. Morales it feels like I'm constantly at the top of the kill list. Instead of being prioritized over tanks, warriors, and bruisers simply because I am squishy and easier to kill, I’m generating enough threat from a single ability to warrant an immediate response.
That response is funny from my end because, honestly, I think she has a pretty boring set of support abilities, especially compared to the other support characters in Heroes of the Storm. She’s got a regular ol’ heal (powerful though it is), a damage resistance buff, a knockback, and two heroics that amount to buffing or quickly moving allies. Admittedly, the Medivac Heroic—which calls in an airship to transport you and your team across the map—is exciting as there hasn’t been anything else quite like it in HotS, but none of her basic abilities are particularly unique or interesting. Using them is a straightforward game of healing low-health allies and shielding endangered ones, with the knockback being the only ability that requires some level of forethought.
Instead, what makes Lt. Morales engaging to play is mostly mana management and positioning during fights. Her Healing Beam is strong, but overusing it ran me out of mana so fast that at first I only noticed by the time I was nearly empty. Her passive trait keeps her at high health outside of fights, but I frequently found myself tapping Healing Fountains while undamaged just to get the mana. Misusing her other abilities, especially during the early levels, would cause her to run out of juice and possibly prevent her from healing an ally at a critical time.
But positioning is really what determines how effective you can be with Lt. Morales. It’s a tightrope walk of being close enough to heal those who need it while simultaneously running away from the assassins who make it their mission to turn you inside-out as fast as possible. I was constantly the first to die in team fights, helplessly watching as the enemy team would run straight past our carries to kill me—because they knew full well that if they didn’t, I'd do everything I could to keep those carries alive. Because of her low maximum health and inability to heal herself until level 13, staying alive myself was just as important as keeping my team’s health bars topped off.
In spite of her bland kit, I’m having a ton of fun playing as Lt. Morales. The strength or her Healing Beam can make for some incredibly exciting saves, but I mostly like her because she provides a support experience I rarely see. I get to focus on different aspects of the game than I usually would in the support role. I need to be on my toes, and not just because I have a smaller health pool than my allies. Lt. Morales has a presence so imposing that the enemy targets me like a carry while I’m playing as a support—and it's the most important I've felt in the support role since Ubering a Heavy in TF2.
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