Overwatch 2’s Lifeweaver is a new direction for supports that points to an exciting future
Lifeweaver joins officially joins the OW2 roster on April 11.
Lifeweaver is the 37th hero to be added to Overwatch 2, and players will be getting their hands on the new character on April 11. The plant-themed healer has a very unique kit, offering something new to the role, so we spoke with ML7, one of the best support players in the world, about it.
In many ways, Lifeweaver is a hero designed in the spirit of the character. He is a scientist who wants to see the best in all people. In a beautiful mirror image, his design feels like it’s been conceived with the best intentions in mind too.
For those that have seen his full abilities and have a tendency to be a little more pessimistic though, he does pose several concerns. While Overwatch 2 has cut down a lot on crowd control abilities for enemies that froze, booped, or otherwise displaced your hero, Lifeweaver can do all of that – but to his teammates.
Lifeweaver asks you to trust your allies – not an abundant commodity in many Overwatch players when it comes to queuing up with four other randoms. Seeing abilities like Life Grip, which pulls allies to your position, or Petal Platform, which raises you, your teammates, or your enemies into the air, has already caused concern. It’s easy to start envisioning doom scenarios about being pulled off maps or having your ultimate canceled by someone on your team trolling.
In the Grip of chaos
In practice, the truth lies somewhere in the middle of both sentiments. There are already many tools in Overwatch that achieve the trolling people are foreseeing. Mei Walls and Symmetra Teleports can and have been used to troll teammates, but it’s relatively rare. Unless things have gone seriously wrong in a match, your team is generally going to be trying to win, especially in a competitive environment.
That doesn’t account for the Lifeweaver players that are going to cause accidental chaos though. Especially in lower ranks where players don’t communicate, there are countless scenarios where a Tank or DPS may be exactly where they intend to be, and the unaware Lifeweaver pulls them back right before they pop an Ultimate that would have won a team fight.
Life Grip is the ability giving most players pause for thought since its reveal. However, in my experience, it felt amazing to play alongside. I was continually saved from my bad positioning or tunnel visioning, and I appreciated the assistance every time.
ML7: “I love the idea behind Life Grip.”
Of course, it’s easy to put that faith in your Lifeweaver when they’re ML7, who I played alongside for a couple of games in an early playtest. I asked him his take on the hero, as I’m a barely-Diamond DPS player and he’s the best Support-focused content creator in the world. “I love the idea behind Life Grip and have wanted an ability like this in Overwatch for years,” he told me after playing.
“You can use it to reposition a teammate that doesn’t want to take your Petal Platform or it can be used to push the survival limits of a hero, like Reinhardt – you can throw the [Baptiste] Immortality Field to save him if he goes in really deep, but you can just buy time with that – with Life Grip you also help him disengage.”
Once you let go of the worry of all the things that can go wrong with Lifeweaver, your brain will start to race with everything that could go right. Winston, for example, has one of his key vulnerabilities eased with Life Grasp. Now Winston can dive into a backline, do his grim monkeying around, but whereas previously he might fall to good peel by the enemy, now Lifeweaver essentially gives him a free jump back to safety.
Heal them slow, save them quick
In a lot of ways, this all makes Lifeweaver the most complex support in the game. It’s not so much about sheer healing, but rather in your creativity and game sense to shift the battlefield into your favor. This is going to be a new way of thinking about the game for many support players.
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That’s handy too as Lifeweaver’s neutral game may leave something to be desired. ML7 told me: “I think his healing output is medium to low – I’ve had situations in which 3 of my teammates were low HP waiting for me to heal all of them up but I had a very rough time doing so – felt similar to how Zenyatta would wait for 3 low HP teammates to be healed back up.”
Because of that, Lifeweaver is likely going to need a healing partner like Ana, Baptiste, or Moira who can better keep your tank alive and heal in a wider area. ML7 continued: “He won’t carry through his raw healing and damage numbers, that’s not his strength.
“His strength relies on him applying pressure with his potential usage of his repositioning abilities by forcing enemies to decide if they should invest resources to eliminate a player/Lifeweaver. He will be difficult to learn.”
Don’t overreact too quickly
To begin with, I suspect many players will think he’s weak due to his lower healing output. In his opening weeks, it’s not hard to envision him being maligned by the community. Lifeweaver is not going to be a hero who lights up the scoreboard with his stats. However, the potential of his intangibles is off the charts. After the community gets some time with him and masters the idea of reshaping fights to benefit the team, I expect his real strength will begin to shine.
ML7 agreed, saying: “After some time invested in him, I think he might sneak into some team comps and on some specific maps with a lot of high ground. Initially, he might seem weak heal-damage-wise, but there’s more to him than that. And if his numbers are low, I mean he can always get buffed, right?”
The breath of life
I have no idea how Lifeweaver is going to shake out in the broader meta. He is a brave step for the Overwatch 2 development team – and one that is bound to be controversial. Giving other players on your team control over your character is going to cause chaos, but it’s also going to create some amazing, synergistic plays.
Regardless of how good or bad he ends up being though, he’s a character I love existing. Blizzard could come up with an endless stream of characters that are ‘good at healing and can do a bit of damage’ for the Support role, but Lifeweaver feels like a commitment to implementing outside-the-box ideas.
With a roster that has been around this long, that is what I want to see – a passionate development team putting their all into new and exciting ideas. In the spirit of Hero 37’s namesake, Overwatch is always best when we’re reminded how much life and passion the developers put into the game, and they’ve weaved that in beautifully here.