Overwatch players have noticed an undocumented buff to Mercy’s ultimate on the latest PTR patch.
Mercy has been one of the more contentious heroes in the history of Overwatch. She’s been through several rounds of reworks and heavy balance changes over the course of the game’s lifespan due to several periods in which she was considered the most powerful hero.
In recent months, however, she hasn’t been nearly as prevalent as she once was. Despite this, she wasn’t mentioned in the patch notes for the recent update to the Public Test Realm (PTR), which included a variety of balance changes for multiple heroes.
On the PTR itself, however, players have noticed a change that wasn’t included in the notes. During her ultimate ability, Valkyrie, Mercy now has the ability to fly around at normal speed while casting her Resurrect, rather than being significantly slowed as usually happens while using the ability.
In theory, Valkyrie is supposed to enhance all of Mercy’s abilities, and originally this included Resurrect, which had its cooldown reset upon using the ultimate. This aspect of Valkyrie was removed in Mercy’s last major balance adjustment, however, and no replacement buff for Resurrect was added to Valkyrie – until now, it seems.
The change is not an insignificant buff to Mercy’s Resurrect. Bringing a team-mate back to life in the middle of a fight is one of the most powerful abilities in the game, but it does normally come with the risk of being an easy target while using it.
When Mercy is in Valkyrie, at least, this change should make her far more evasive, although players will now have to be a little more careful not to move out of range during the ability.
Some fans have pointed out that this could be an unintended side-effect of other updates affecting movement, such as the change to knock-backs which means that they no longer take into account the enemy’s direction to determine the size of the knock-back, and that flying characters – which would include Mercy in Valkyrie - can now be knocked back.
If this change is unintentional it’s possible it might not ever reach the live servers, but considering the generally positive initial response to the change Mercy fans should be hopeful that it will survive testing on the PTR.