“Helden sterben nicht!”
September 3, 2017 10:48 AM   Subscribe

• Why Does Everyone Hate Mercy? by Apple Cider [Medium] Despite Mercy being posed as the angelic medic of the popular team shooter Overwatch, she, or the people who play her, might as well be the Devil with the way that many complain about her at every opportunity. Their ire covers a multitude of sins but a lot of it centers around her being a female character, a popular support hero, as well as one that exemplifies peacefulness and collaborative team effort. However, these same design choices, as well as the playerbase that have followed her in, have made Mercy a lightning rod for the obvious derision in the competitive gaming community about who plays support, as well as what we assume about their abilities. It is incredibly gendered at times, and that’s not a coincidence.
A thread on the official Overwatch forums [Blizzard] reads with a giant headline in the familiar font face of the game, “Why aren’t there more female eSports (sic) players?” A forum-goer could believe that it is a serious question and would be further explored with nuanced, respectful discussion. Instead, the first post is the dry fart of a punchline: “because they are all Mercy mains.”

• 'Only Girl Syndrome' Pits Gamer Girls Against One Another by Cecilia D'Anastasio [Kotaku]
“If you’ve ever played Overwatch, you know that throwing shade on teammates’ gameplay—and talking yourself up—is a long-celebrated play strategy. But that’s not how the average commenter felt. “Overwatch cat fight,” “#girlgamer” and “e-girls are a different breed” were some of the Twitter replies alongside the inevitable “I’m turned on.” It wasn’t your everyday Overwatch salt; apparently, it was a battle over who could be the team’s Mercy or, if we want to get symbolic, the team comp’s girl. In gaming spaces, it often feels like there’s only room for one woman—the only girl to get invited to Friday night Tekken or, in this case, your regular Overwatch squad’s Mercy main. There’s only room for one. And, when another girl comes along and picks up a controller, she threatens her standing as the “only girl.” The “only girl” is a token and, yes, at this point, a caricature. From this comes the ubiquitous, and now cringe-inducing, trope for girl gamers—one I, as a teenager, heard myself say—“Yeah, I mostly hang out with guys. I don’t like girls.” “Only girl syndrome” is not a fictional dynamic invented in the minds of Twitter eggs and randos on Overwatch.”
• Redditor Analyzes Reasons Why Women Play Support and Female Heroes [DBLTAP]
“Comparative Cultural Studies graduate, Ammers, decided to post an analysis of how women being pigeonholed into these stereotypes is a result of cultural construction and products. While the sexism is not directly addressed in Ammers write-up, it does provide insight into why the stereotypes exist, and how our culture is to blame.”
"Why are there so many female Mercy mains?" - The real reasons and a woman's perspective for those who care [Reddit]
1. Video games have traditionally been marketed towards boys, resulting in boys acquiring long-term, transferable mechanical skills
2. Gender schemas taught to boys vs. girls from a young age
3. Cultural norms surrounding gendered behavior
4. Female friendly character design (identifying with female heroes)
5. Fear of stereotype reinforcement
• Why is there such a negative stigma attached to Mercy mains in Overwatch? Scott Duwe [Dot eSports]
“Dr. Angela Ziegler, better known as Mercy, is Overwatch's resident combat medic. She is described on the Overwatch website as a "guardian angel to those who come under her care" and "a peerless healer, a brilliant scientist, and a staunch advocate for peace." So why does everyone seem to be hating the hero and those that play her? In the beginning of May, a video of an in-game argument between two players [Twitter] who "main" Mercy (mainly play as her) went viral, with over 8,000 retweets. The two players, both female, both mained Mercy, but obviously only one of them could play her in that specific game. And a fight ensued. And so the discussion and loudest hate towards Mercy mains truly began. Much of the recent vitriol surrounding Mercy is in the notion that the skill it takes to play her well at most levels does not translate well to other heroes. The fact is, a Mercy player can do extremely well at their job without having the best of aim or reaction time. That skillset is much needed on other heroes in the same class, such as Ana or Zenyatta.”
• Female 'Overwatch' player was harassed for 16 minutes (Tim Mulkerin) [YouTube][Mic]
“The video is absolutely gut-wrenching, not only because the content itself is horrifying, but also because it stands for something larger: It's a distillation of the experience of gaming online if you don't fit the stereotypical image of what a gamer is supposed to be. "I am putting this and a few other examples of the way I am treated up not just for entertainment," Overwatch player Glisa said in the description of the YouTube video. "I want to give people a look into how women are treated online. This is not OK, and I'm doing my best to show that."
Here is just a brief sampling of some of the things he said over the course of the match:
• "Mercy, heal me. I won't call you ugly again. Just kidding, you're probably ugly."
• "I like how this Mercy's trying to heal me because she wants me."
• "I'm assuming Glisa's setup is in her kitchen — as you know, she is a woman."
• "We honestly lost because we had an e-girl on our team"
• "Can you stop talking please?"
• "I don't care, post about it on Tumblr, you sexist."
• "I like Americans because they're good at raping people."
• "This isn't sexual harassment, this is gender equality."
• "You're a woman, do you even have a right to give your opinion?"”
• Blizzard’s radically changing Overwatch’s Mercy by Michael McWhertor [Polygon]
“Overwatch healer Mercy is getting a massive overhaul, game director Jeff Kaplan revealed today in a developer update video. The most radical change — “and it’s going to seem a little bit shocking at first,” Kaplan said — is that Mercy’s ultimate ability will no longer be Resurrect. Instead, Resurrect will now be a secondary common ability for Mercy, Kaplan said, explaining that she’ll no longer have the ability to resurrect multiple teammates at once as part of her revision. Resurrect is now single target only ability, Kaplan said, and will be on a “rather long cooldown” so you won’t see Mercy players constantly reviving their teammates. Mercy’s new ultimate ability is called Valkyrie, and when she uses it she’ll have the ability to fly. Like, really fly, Kaplan said.”
• Caduceus Staff: Mercy’s healing and damage boost beams now affect all allies near the targeted teammate, and the staff’s effective range has been extended
• Caduceus Blaster: Granted infinite ammo, while simultaneously increasing damage and fire rate
• Guardian Angel: Increased range and movement speed
• Resurrect: Cooldown is instantly reset when Valkyrie is activated and reduced to 10s after the initial cast
• Hover: Mercy gains the ability to fly freely, at increased movement speed
Regeneration (Passive): No longer interrupted when Mercy takes damage
• Mercy is the Most Terrifying Character in Overwatch by Joshua Calixto [Kill Screen]
“Screw Genji, screw Reaper, screw Zarya: Mercy is the most terrifying character in Overwatch. Watch her dance through the backline, a gossamer beam of gold and azure granting vitality and strength to her allies. Watch her float high in the heavens with Pharah, lingering there like a blond-haired specter of love and death. Watch as your team empties clip after clip on the enemy Reinhardt, only to realize in white-knuckled horror that Mercy has been around the corner healing him the whole time. Observe in frustration as the enemy Mercy glides to her allies at the very last possible moment, dodging 10 high-cooldown abilities and throwing your entire team on tilt. Rejoice in certain victory during the final 30 seconds of the game as your team finally sets up its glorious three-Ultimate stack, massacring the enemy and walking the payload toward its final destination. Then listen for the three most ominous words in Overwatch, yelled in glorious, unmistakable German: Helden sterben nicht!”
• In Support of Supports by Jorge Albor [Pop Matters]
“A well designed support character, defying expectations, is an absolute blast to play. However, well designed support characters are, almost by definition, difficult to master and therefore present a large barrier entry to casual players. Take a look at Team Fortress 2‘s incredibly well designed Medic character. While the medic’s damage output is minimal, his healing powers can be devastating. While healing allies, medics charge up the power to grant temporary invulnerability. The charge speed increases when healing damaged allies, so medics have every incentive to find their hurt allies and top them up. This requires a second level of attentiveness other classes lack. Medics must pay attention to both enemies and allies, while also surveying team composition, battle layout, and current meta-strategy to maximize their effectiveness. Trying to seize a capture point? Try staying with your heavy, the team’s mobile tank. Looking to take out enemy turrets? Maybe follow a soldier instead. Alternatively, circle shootouts, healing your allies along the way, right before you time a blast of invulnerability. Mastering the medic class demands a comprehensive understanding of the entire system, not just your single space within it.”
• A group of fans made a seriously elaborate live-action Overwatch short film. [YouTube][Kotaku]
Created by Lupin Productions, it tells a dramatized version of Mercy’s backstory. While the grimdark tone and writing don’t quite land (in my opinion), it’s still an impressive production.
posted by Fizz (46 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Albor's article is right on: playing support is hard. You have to be aware of the whole state of play, you have to shift your attention/healing between your teammates, all while preserving your health. (I'm no good at this, so I am eternally thankful that someone else takes support. Upvote your healers, kids!)

One reason supports don't get enough love is probably that they're almost invisible when done well. If you have a good healer, you just feel like you're able to go out there and do damage and not die. It's an illusion, as you'll find if you have no support on the team.

The misogyny of so many gamers is an abomination, though FWIW they're awful in so many other ways as well. Some dudes really want you to know that everything bad that happens to them in the game is either their teammates' fault, or Blizzard's.
posted by zompist at 11:26 AM on September 3 [11 favorites]


Female 'Overwatch' player was harassed for 16 minutes by Tim Mulkerin

Just to clarify, Tim Mulkerin is the author of the Mic piece, not one of the harassers.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 11:33 AM on September 3 [16 favorites]


I don't hear people complaining about Winston being a low skill hero even though he's as easy to play as Mercy. Winston is the Mercy of tanks - no aiming required, can fly through the air to escape trouble, easy for beginners to get competent - but he isn't ripped on in the same way.

In support of the idea that team play is constitutive of ability/skill as much as mechanics, this highlight video argues that the South Korean national team is unbeatable because they take each role seriously and play their positions - especially supports - really well. NA, on the other hand, is underdeveloped because we associate skill with DPS and don't take supports as seriously.
posted by Hume at 11:33 AM on September 3 [4 favorites]



Female 'Overwatch' player was harassed for 16 minutes by Tim Mulkerin

Just to clarify, Tim Mulkerin is the author of the Mic piece, not one of the harassers.


Sorry, so many links. Could I have a mod update and edit that please.
posted by Fizz at 11:48 AM on September 3


There's also the concept of the Healslut, which adds a half-twist and a somersault to the level of What.
posted by delfin at 11:50 AM on September 3 [3 favorites]






I'm not even a gamer (GUESS WHY), but the answer has got to be a fairly obvious "because they really hate women, especially when the need them," right?
posted by schadenfrau at 12:03 PM on September 3 [10 favorites]


Some of the problem is that her ult is incredibly frustrating to play against. It really pisses you off when you almost down the other team but Mercy ults and you're completely screwed. There's an element of transference of that frustration to hating people who play Mercy, and it manifests as sexism. This is not to say that the comments aren't horribly chauvinistic, but that ult was just bad game design and it unfortunately had collateral damage.
posted by Veritron at 12:07 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Some of the problem is that her ult is incredibly frustrating to play against.

They've recently updated her ultimate and many of her abilities, so it will be interesting to see how that changes her game-play and how people who Main Mercy respond. Though, the sexism and hate are probably not going to go away just because of this adjustment/buff.
posted by Fizz at 12:14 PM on September 3 [5 favorites]


it's incredibly frustrating when people don't keep track of the enemy's ults and take out the mercy before she can rez, or save their own ult for immediately after she panic rez's a single tracer alone on the point. it's even more frustrating when other people's inability to track enemy ults leads to complaints that other characters and other players are the actual problem.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:18 PM on September 3 [4 favorites]


I tend to main Lucio, Symmetra and Torbjorn, based on team comp and map.

I used to main Mercy, but I wanted to "get stuck in wif da boyz!" a bit more and mix it up (because if I am a straight-up healer, then I am going to STRAIGHT-UP HEAL, and not be a Battle Mercy), so the shift to Lucio.

I am a male, but tend to play support a lot (back in my TF2 days, many old school game MeFi's might remember, I was Engineer 90% of the time).

Even as a guy, I get a fair bit of crap for high kill counts (ESPECIALLY if I get a PoTG) as any of those latter two, especially. I mean, I figure a high kill count means I set my defenses up well and did my job. And, if you watch me play either of those, I am out there pumping rounds/photons into enemies as best I can with the (what I call) strikers. (Okay, except for payload maps as Torbjorn, but I am still vacuuming up any scrap I can get without overly delaying the payload.) Also, playing Lucio is his own special challenge as you have to keep a mental map of where everyone is, where you should be. Then there's the priorities to decide. If two team members head out in a forward defense and everyone else camps the point, do I support the outliers or hang back and support the main force?

Sometimes, I get mixed in and play Reaper, but just because of my conviction any self-heal is better than no self heal, and Soldier '76 is just TOO standard FPS for me.

In face, as far back as Tribes, I was that jerk camping the friendly base with a repair kit and sniper rifle, making sure there was still a functional base for people to come back to.

(Also, there's NOTHING like playing Mercy, and triggering your ult to turn the course of a match, let me tell you!)
posted by Samizdata at 12:21 PM on September 3


anyway the new changes look hilariously, painfully bad but i'm less bothered about it because junkrat's buff has been so hilariously OP that i haven't had anything under a quad kill on ult since they patched it in
posted by poffin boffin at 12:24 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


anyway the new changes look hilariously, painfully bad but i'm less bothered about it because junkrat's buff has been so hilariously OP that i haven't had anything under a quad kill on ult since they patched it in

Someday I will learn to Junk well, but, for now, I will be willing to keep you patched up and ROCKING!
posted by Samizdata at 12:26 PM on September 3


Don't cross Mercy.

Forget that. Try being Lucio, the only healer on the whole team AND the top kills, and Soldier gets it for like 8 Helix Rocket kills. Want to see a Samizdata yell at his screen?
posted by Samizdata at 12:28 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


I don't get it, why would you go for Mercy when you could be playing with a giant robot with an unstable reactor core?
posted by pwnguin at 12:31 PM on September 3 [3 favorites]


pwnguin, you're my favourite and so is D.Va
posted by Fizz at 12:33 PM on September 3


pwnguin, you're my favourite and so is D.Va

Yeah, well, when you both die and lose us the match, you might want to reconsider it.
posted by Samizdata at 12:36 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Some of the problem is that her ult is incredibly frustrating to play against. It really pisses you off when you almost down the other team but Mercy ults and you're completely screwed.

I don't play online multiplayer games but doesn't this just mean you played badly by not eliminating the Mercy first, or not saving resources for after Mercy resurrects people?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:45 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Some of the problem is that her ult is incredibly frustrating to play against. It really pisses you off when you almost down the other team but Mercy ults and you're completely screwed.

I don't play online multiplayer games but doesn't this just mean you played badly by not eliminating the Mercy first, or not saving resources for after Mercy resurrects people?


In general yes, "geek the mage first" still applies. She's quite slippery, starts regenerating health after only a second, and has a far ranging dash that can let her re-engage to ally corpses even when she's first to go down, if you take too long to take down her teammates after finding her first. All this on top of the general terrible attitude towards support/healers and general misogyny adds up to quite the pile of crud directed towards her.
posted by Lykosidae at 12:56 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Just happened again. Symmetra. 40 kills. I am in shooting it up with the rest, my shield gen is meaning the one healer (Ana) we have is working less, and the Junkrat with 21 kills gets the commendation. :sigh:

I mean, seriously, I don't even HAVE a screenwiping ult.
posted by Samizdata at 12:57 PM on September 3


And that was WITH getting a PoTG. Is it because I saved up for the (expensive AF), non-trampy Vishtek uniform skin?
posted by Samizdata at 12:59 PM on September 3


Well, I generally give my vote to the best teammate who didn't win PotG. Others may vote the same.
posted by Windopaene at 1:04 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Well, I generally give my vote to the best teammate who didn't win PotG. Others may vote the same.

Fine.

What's your BattleTag (so I can NOT play with you!)?

:laughing:

FWIW, I tend to always vote healer.
posted by Samizdata at 1:30 PM on September 3


I love playing Mercy, but I don't love playing Mercy with people who blame me for their inability to not run headlong into a hail of bullets on the point three seconds after I exit the respawn area. I get yelled at by random jackholes enough on the phone at work, so fuck that noise while playing video games.


In general yes, "geek the mage first" still applies.

I'm always so pleased when people know that phrase.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:52 PM on September 3 [5 favorites]


If you think this is horrifying, just remember that most of those gamers are able to vote. I mean, this explains a lot about our society.
posted by happyroach at 2:19 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


From Reddit, one more example of a man being horrible to a Mercy player. It's so far gone, I wonder if the guy had ever really tried to relate to a woman.
posted by Hactar at 2:39 PM on September 3 [3 favorites]


Blech, setting aside the sexism part of this (which I know is missing much of the point and deserves far more attention than what I'm about to say) screw the hate for support style players or roles. It's less apparent in EVE than in many gaming spheres that I've ran in, which is refreshing, ditto for the current sphere of people in our corp who are receptive and welcoming of all...

But damn, I just do not get people who are willing to heap scorn upon healers or other support classes in team games. Sure I'd make light of a friend's performance in a game if he/she was genuinely bad, but to make fun of someone, again setting sex aside because that happen s too, because they are doing X or Y role EFFECTIVELY? I just blame it on testosterone and the safety of talking big through the internet.

That doesn't make it right, far from it, and I wish it would go away. I'm sad that women appear to be taking the flak here as well. We need more female gamers. I wish my wife played, it would be great to play a video game with her. Any video game, but they are very few and far between.
posted by RolandOfEld at 3:27 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


“Splatoon doesn’t have voice chat,” complain the players who would drive off a huge portion of the player base specifically by using voice chat

Anecdotally, in Japan Splatoon’s popularity seems fairly evenly distributed across gender lines. There may be quite a few reasons for this (Japan’s sexism is usually at a constant simmer, rather than a raging fire occasionally consuming your whole kitchen) but “no voice chat for randos” is almost certainly a major factor.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:43 PM on September 3 [9 favorites]


I don't play online multiplayer games but doesn't this just mean you played badly by not eliminating the Mercy first, or not saving resources for after Mercy resurrects people?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe


This is where the Mercy rez mechanic goes a bit wrong. When she has her rez ultimate, she will spend her time hiding, some distance away from her team.

So of course if you get to the point to capture it, it's guarded by 5 defenders all shooting at you, putting themselves between you and their Mercy who is hiding in a small room or corner somewhere in the back... in some maps, it could even be in an area the attackers can't access! Even worse, in some maps in the past, Mercy could team rez FROM the inaccessible area!

Of course it's stupid to use all your ults on the enemy team if you can't find their Mercy... but...

If you can even manage to find her and kill her first, you risk killing her too early - maybe she dies (remember she's apart from her team), then you muster the rest of your team into position and marshal your ultimates and wipe out the other 5 players - and then suddenly you realise you took too long and she has respawned and comes back to rez her whole team.

So basically against Mercy you're trying to avoid killing her too late (she rezzes the people you killed earlier) or too early (you kill her first, but she respawns and comes back and rezzes the people you killed after) and it's a very fine line to thread especially when against a decent Mercy you have no idea where she is hiding.

(in terms of resources, each player has an "ultimate" and it's a generally one shot ability used to capture the point - normal skirmishing won't result in a point capture since defenders effectively respawn faster than attackers, so by default you usually have to expend multiple ultimates to wipe out the defenders all at once, which can be undone with a single Mercy rez, so there's not really an option to "save" resources for after the rez since you needed those ultimates to kill them in the first place)
posted by xdvesper at 3:43 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


as mercy, when you die a lot, it's not because the enemy team is hunting you down over and over and solo ulting on you, oh no, see, it's because you're not a good enough player. but when your teammates die, it's never because THEY'RE not a good enough player, it's your fault too. your fault for not following them to spawn camp alone while the rest of the team is on the objective, your fault for not being able to get all the way up to their stupid perch to heal them because they don't know to come to the edge, your fault that genji inexplicably can't 1v6 the enemy team, your fault that no one seems to understand that even if they're the current heal target they still need to back up or disengage when taking dps from all sides as a 200hp hero.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:46 PM on September 3 [7 favorites]


When she has her rez ultimate, she will spend her time hiding, some distance away from her team.

lol i know about 30 mercy mains and none of us do this, even in mayhem. and even if some mercy mains DO hide to wait for their ult it's a bullshit complaint because so do reaper mains and mccree mains.

again, if you can't handle tracking enemy ults and paying attention to what's going on in your game then maybe you need to work on that instead of blaming people who DO pay attention.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:51 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Poffin Boffin, you should see the “my loss is everyone's fault but mine” salt that comes out of the fighting game community, in games where, by design and definition, there are no teammates to blame.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:52 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


About 20 years ago, I had a friend who tried to convince me that online gaming would be fun, and I replied that I worked with people all day, and video games or a way to deal with those days when I just wanted to go home and punch an orc or something, and he said no it was really fun, and so he set up a game and I stood and watched him get abused for about half an hour, and I was like yeah, that does seem like fun. And this is why I have never played an online game and never will.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:17 PM on September 3 [10 favorites]


I have to admit, despite the shitty experiences I have had, the Overwatch community, to me at least (and I barely voice chat, so my gender is undisclosed), has been a lot better than a lot of them.

I have though been trying a social experiment lately in text chat, where I try to provide positive feedback for good plays and such. Unfortunately. I generally have to do it at end game, as I am too busy in game. I also make a point of calling out and greeting other players I have played with before, even if they are not on my friends list. You'd be surprised at the number of comments about how playing in a group with me is really pleasant. I, OTOH, have been pleasantly surprised at how easily I can trigger, for lack of a better term, a civility cascade.
posted by Samizdata at 4:43 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


as mercy, when you die a lot, it's not because the enemy team is hunting you down over and over and solo ulting on you, oh no, see, it's because you're not a good enough player. but when your teammates die, it's never because THEY'RE not a good enough player, it's your fault too. your fault for not following them to spawn camp alone while the rest of the team is on the objective, your fault for not being able to get all the way up to their stupid perch to heal them because they don't know to come to the edge, your fault that genji inexplicably can't 1v6 the enemy team, your fault that no one seems to understand that even if they're the current heal target they still need to back up or disengage when taking dps from all sides as a 200hp hero.

Thanks for summarizing my comp experience as Mercy so comprehensively.

(Although in my case it was 50% of my team claiming it was the fault of me and one other player. SOLELY.)

FWIW, I basically ditched comp, as I play for fun, and comp wasn't. (My ego is okay with me knowing I am being the best player I can be, without needing a scorecard. OTOH, my MeFi favorites count is UNACCEPTABLE PEOPLE!)
posted by Samizdata at 4:46 PM on September 3 [3 favorites]


lol i know about 30 mercy mains and none of us do this, even in mayhem. and even if some mercy mains DO hide to wait for their ult it's a bullshit complaint because so do reaper mains and mccree mains.

Oh I wasn't complaining, I'm just saying how it is. The more effective ones I've seen know how to keep their distance and quietly slip away unnoticed instead of healing her teammates at the first inkling of trouble. Mercy is a ton of fun to play but I rarely play her in competitive largely because I don't think I have enough awareness to play her. People who say Mercy doesn't take skill don't know what they're talking about! I'm a support main Zen, in about Diamond (matches average SR of 3200 or so), and his ult fits my natural inclination (run directly towards the Hanzo spirit dragon!). When I play Sombra I make it my special mission to dive into the back in stealth and find and assassinate their Mercy. If she's with her team, I just EMP them all and kill her, if she's by herself apart from her team, I hack her and kill her then EMP the team.

My inclination for game design leans more towards the DOTA philosophy - if everyone is overpowered, then no one is. I feel like the game would lose something core to its identity if you could no longer change the game in an instant by rezzing 4-5 fallen teammates. I love kooky stuff like that. Like the fact that Mercy can 5 man rez her team from the safety of the spawn to save the point on Dorado is probably not great for game balance, but I love the fact that it even exists - it's cool things like that that make the game memorable long after you stop playing it.

Like, imagine if Reinhardt's Earthshatter ultimate was changed to stun a maximum of only 2 people at a time because it was too strong. I really don't think that's the right path towards fun gameplay at all. People like to FEEL powerful, and if other heroes aren't strong enough to compete, they should get some love too.
posted by xdvesper at 6:44 PM on September 3


Just wanted to say, great post Fizz.
posted by Sphinx at 8:02 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Oh I wasn't complaining, I'm just saying how it is. The more effective ones I've seen know how to keep their distance and quietly slip away unnoticed instead of healing her teammates at the first inkling of trouble. Mercy is a ton of fun to play but I rarely play her in competitive largely because I don't think I have enough awareness to play her. People who say Mercy doesn't take skill don't know what they're talking about! I'm a support main Zen, in about Diamond (matches average SR of 3200 or so), and his ult fits my natural inclination (run directly towards the Hanzo spirit dragon!). When I play Sombra I make it my special mission to dive into the back in stealth and find and assassinate their Mercy. If she's with her team, I just EMP them all and kill her, if she's by herself apart from her team, I hack her and kill her then EMP the team.

My inclination for game design leans more towards the DOTA philosophy - if everyone is overpowered, then no one is. I feel like the game would lose something core to its identity if you could no longer change the game in an instant by rezzing 4-5 fallen teammates. I love kooky stuff like that. Like the fact that Mercy can 5 man rez her team from the safety of the spawn to save the point on Dorado is probably not great for game balance, but I love the fact that it even exists - it's cool things like that that make the game memorable long after you stop playing it.

Like, imagine if Reinhardt's Earthshatter ultimate was changed to stun a maximum of only 2 people at a time because it was too strong. I really don't think that's the right path towards fun gameplay at all. People like to FEEL powerful, and if other heroes aren't strong enough to compete, they should get some love too.


Yeah, but this is a classic Blizzard problem. EVERYONE wants to be THE BEST at EVERYTHING. Look at the periodic rebalance patches on WoW if you don't believe me.

I am not as happy as I could be, as I would occasionally enjoy playing Roadhog and nuking annoyances with his chain throw/shoot combo. Which I saw as a reward for developing the chain throw skill.

Apparently not. It was OP! (a common refrain on the Blizzard forums, sadly)

And it's not like everyone has a vast and varied palette of attacks, like in WoW. That nerf pretty much broke my enjoyment of Roadhog, truthfully (especially since you could be pretty sure you could hook that annoying little person of illegitimate birth for CERTAIN DOOM!). And the recent changes in Lucio's boop ability have taken some of the fun out of him for me too.

But, you know, I am not independently funding Overwatch, so, what I say is largely small beer.
posted by Samizdata at 8:30 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Largely small beer
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:18 PM on September 3 [5 favorites]


This makes me happy I play on Xbox and have never invested in a headset. Pharaoh main these days, but Mercy was my entree into Overwatch.
posted by sixswitch at 10:33 PM on September 3


Hmm, haven't played Overwatch for some time, are the changes good enough for me to come back ? All my online friends who used to play with me have quit, sadly.

I tried the first season of competitive play, but it really stressed me out :-(

I mained D.Va but also played a lot with Pharah, Mercy, Lucio and Mei.
posted by Pendragon at 3:03 AM on September 4


The thing is that making the rez an E ability and not an ultimate is actually a buff, not a nerf.
posted by Scattercat at 4:47 AM on September 4


Well, yes and no. Weaker, more frequent rezzes are definitely a buff to her toolkit, but the explicit reason for the change is to reduce Mercy's impact on the last minute or so of the match.

As it is now, a last-minute rez can literally win the game. In 2CP especially, it's the only thing that can counter the attacking team using 3-4 ults to steamroll the defense.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 6:07 AM on September 4


Well, yes and no. Weaker, more frequent rezzes are definitely a buff to her toolkit, but the explicit reason for the change is to reduce Mercy's impact on the last minute or so of the match.

As it is now, a last-minute rez can literally win the game. In 2CP especially, it's the only thing that can counter the attacking team using 3-4 ults to steamroll the defense.


It has in a couple of games I have Mercy'd.

I can't help but wonder what it will be like if there's another Uprising. That REALLY shifts the mechanics a fair bit.
posted by Samizdata at 6:18 PM on September 4


It's really unfortunate that voice chat is so toxic in online games. I used to play Destiny quite a bit, and it's really fun when you can coordinate on objectives and react and share your experiences in real time. Trying to use text really doesn't work well when you need to coordinate. It's really only good for a "gg" at the end of a game.

Online gaming with a voice chat is great if you want to hang out with friends or family from far away. If you Skype a friend, it feels like you have to talk about something; it feels like the call has to have some purpose, whereas when you're gaming with friends you can just shoot the shit.
posted by Start with Dessert at 4:37 AM on September 5


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