Part of what makes Blizzard’s Overwatch so consistently compelling is the developer’s complete lack of fear in making significant changes to the game. Sometimes, those decisions are relatively easy to make and won’t cause any public backlash – when Blizzard significantly reduced Overwatch‘s loot box duplicates, there was never any danger of raising fans’ ire. Yet the company has been comfortable making changes that target specific characters in the multiplayer game as well, and although they usually benefit its gameplay, they are usually met with loud disapproval from certain fans.
Perhaps Blizzard doesn’t want to create another angry Overwatch mob – or the change was deemed relatively insignificant by the developer – because the next change being made to an Overwatch character has quietly been implemented on the Public Test Region server. According to player reports, Blizzard will be targeting support character Mercy’s ultimate with a nerf in the near future, inhibiting Mercy from using her ultimate ability to resurrect teammates while still inside of a spawn point.
This isn’t the first time Blizzard has quietly changed Overwatch, and it’s likely the developer didn’t believe the change to Mercy was that big of a deal. For the most part, that will probably be true, although fans have already pointed out that maps like Gibraltar and Anubis feature layouts where Mercy’s ultimate was frequently used within a spawn point just because of the context of that map’s environment. As usual, we’ll have to wait and see how professional Overwatch players exploit and adapt to these changes before seeing for sure how it will impact competitive play, but as it stands right now, the Mercy change seems like a bigger deal than it might at first glance.
Of course, there’s still time for Mercy’s nerf to be changed before the test patch goes live on official servers. In the meantime, players sweating out a change to their main – or hoping for a change to the bane of their existence in team fights – can rest easy, waiting out the likely return of Overwatch‘s Summer Games 2017 later this year.