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OverwatchFeb 8, 2018 3:00 pm CT

It’s no surprise Mercy’s win rate is down since her nerf

After months of ideation and iteration, the hammer finally dropped on Mercy last week. Not only was she nerfed, she was nerfed hard.

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment (Official Post)

Mercy

  • Valkyrie
    • No longer makes Resurrect instant
    • No longer grants a bonus Resurrect charge
    • The speed bonus Guardian Angel receives when activating Valkyrie has been decreased by 50%
    • Duration reduced from 20 seconds to 15 seconds

Before these nerfs, Mercy was perceived as far too powerful — powerful enough that including her in a team composition was practically mandatory no matter the situation. Her ability to nullify allies getting picked off with frequent Resurrects set the pace of the game all on its own. After the nerfs, Dot Esports (using data from Omnic Meta) reports Mercy’s usage has dropped precipitously, and her winrate isn’t doing too well, either.

The most dramatic swing is in the Grandmaster ranking, where Mercy usage has dropped almost 80% — but even down in Bronze, Mercy usage is down 20%. Her overall win rate before the nerfs was among the highest at 54%, but has since dropped to below 50% alongside Ana, long considered the weakest support character in the game.

Ultimately, it’s no surprise at all Mercy’s usage and win rate have plummeted. There’s no arguing the Mercy changes were a nerf; they were specific, directed changes to scale back Mercy’s power level, and such changes will always make a hero’s win rate trend downwards. Likewise, Mercy’s usage was inflated by the value of her Resurrects. If she’s considered mandatory, her usage is going to be through the roof — and when her power level has been scaled back so significantly, it’s going to drop like a rock.

What’s more, Overwatch is a competitive game with a variety of Support options. At high levels of play, such as Grandmaster or in the Overwatch League, players will always pick the heroes they believe are the best — not good, but the best. If Mercy is no longer the best, some other Support character will inevitably fill that role, and it’s only a matter of time until the playerbase demands that character be nerfed, too. In fact, it’s already happening: Moira’s usage has jumped since Mercy’s nerfs. Why? Because Moira is the new mandatory and the community already wants to put a stop to it. If Moira gets nerfed, some other support character will be on the chopping block.

Mercy’s nerfs also reveal a fascinating divide in the playerbase. In her previous state, Mercy often received criticisms for being a “low effort” or “low skill” hero, with suggestions Mercy was almost a passive character: hold down the heal button, and when someone dies, hit the Resurrect button with little interplay or counterplay. Long-time Mercy players were never of that opinion, but after these nerfs, they are. With the changes to Resurrect, Mercy players feel they don’t have enough to do in a fight anymore, saying their gameplay in the time between the extended Resurrect cooldowns feels downright sluggish — and Valkyrie isn’t particularly impactful without the bonus Resurrect charge. We’ve moved from Mercy critics believing Mercy is non-interactive to Mercy players feeling she’s non-interactive.

It’s likely we’ll need more than a week to see the true shape of Mercy after her nerfs, but whatever the case, we hope Blizzard brings her back in line if she dips too low. A character being too powerful is a problem, sure, but a character being tossed into the dumpster is just a new problem, not a solution.

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Filed Under: Esports, Mercy, Moira

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