BlizzCon 2017, a festival for Blizzard fans, is taking place in the Anaheim Convention Center. Many Overwatch related news was released during the Blizzard Opening Ceremony, which includes the new support hero, Moira, and a new map, Blizzard World. Also, an animated short that depicts Reinhardt’s past was on display as well.
Moira is a hybrid support hero who can both heal and deal damage. She may look similar to Symmetra at first, but differs greatly in character settings and main characteristics, said Scott Mercer, the Principal Designer for Overwatch. Moira is a healer, to be exact, and all the damage she inflicts upon enemies is fundamental for her healing ability.
“There are new aspects previous maps did not have added, and it includes many Easter Eggs from other Blizzard games,” said Hakseong Lee, the Technical Artist, about Blizzard World, the new map.
We had the chance to ask the Overwatch developers about the new hero and map, and Mercy balancing, as well as the possibility of adding team ranked games and development of a Korean map on the first day of BlizzCon.
A new hero for Overwatch, Moira, has been announced. She looks similar to Symmetra since she’s a scientist, a support, and has similar skill effects.
Scott Mercer: Symmetra is a support that supports allies with turrets and teleporters rather than being a heal-based support. On the other hand, Moira is specialized in heals. She uses Biotic Orb to heal allies and inflict damage on enemies. The interesting part of this Orb is that it rebounds, which means that it will keep bouncing until it uses up its 300 heal capacity or inflicts all 200 damage if used in a small room. And the size of the Orb is reduced along with the remaining heal or damage capacity.
Hakseong Lee: She is also different in her character settings as well. Symmetra is an architect while Moira is a geneticist. She is a character that controls biotic energy to use various skills. We meant to emphasize her cold, brutal aspect that craves science and knowledge rather than having a humane side.
Moira is a support, and yet, looking at her skill sets makes her feel almost like a DPS.
Scott Mercer: She is a healer but her skills can deal damage to enemies. That’s why she may not seem like a pure healer or support.
Hakseong Lee: Moira was meant to be a character who is a healer but unjust and rather cunning, so we made her able to heal and deal damage. But her main role is ‘healer’. Using her skill, ‘Biotic Grasp’, on allies will heal them but reduce the heal gauge.
This is filled again as time passes, but players can deal damage to enemies to fill it much quicker. Inflicting damage will fill up the heal gauge even quicker. This means that Moira dealing damage is a way for her to fill up her heal gauge. Her Biotic Orb heals much more than it deals damage. Using her ult, Coalescence, will heal allies twice the amount of Mercy’s heals.
Moira’s ult can heal allies and deal damage to enemies at the same time, yet her heals are twice that of Mercy’s. It seems that she can heal allies even against Pharah’s ult in the trailer revealed today. Wouldn’t that be too OP?
Scott Mercer: It’s true that her healing capacity is high, but not as much as to cut off Pharah’s ult entirely. It is just meant to depict the new hero characteristics better and make her look even nicer (laughs).
A new map, ‘Blizzard World’, was announced. It was fascinating how features of various Blizzard games were portrayed in it. How did this map get to be developed?
Scott Mercer: We didn’t make it because our office was near Disneyland at all (laughs). In fact, Blizzard World was a theme we’ve been talking about before its development. When you go to a theme park, you’d see each ride having its own symbolic elements. So we came to think that it would be nice to design a theme park using symbols from our own games. So that is why you’d see features like the Siege Tank, Probe, or Stormwind Keep in Blizzard World.
Hakseong Lee: There are several Easter eggs in this map that will be fun to find. There are also barrels from the Diablo series, which will randomly drop legendary items when destroyed. One thing I’d like to point out is that we have pushable objects for the first time ever in all Overwatch maps. There were many objects that could be destroyed so far, but now there are objects that can be pushed in the map like the ticket barrier, which one player at a time can push and pass.
Actually, some people in the event hall were expecting a theme park like Disneyland when they heard Jeff Kaplan say, ‘Blizzard theme park’ during the new map announcement. Do you ever plan to make an actual Blizzard theme park?
Scott Mercer: (Laughs) It’s been 20 years since I joined Blizzard, and honestly, I didn’t expect any Blizzard event as big as this to open back then. So there’s no guarantee that no Blizzard theme park will be made 20 years later.
Competitive Points that can be gained as Overwatch season rewards are solely used for buying gold weapons for now. Do you plan to make anything else other than gold weapons for players to buy?
Scott Mercer: We’ve been discussing it from various aspects, but nothing has been decided yet. The Competitive mode itself wasn’t made for rewards but for players to check their skills and experience competition against other skillful players. We do not wish for players to play the game for any purposes other than the ones we originally meant for it.
The new Mercy has the tendency to stand out too much in the tournament or competitive plays for some time now. Her Resurrect cast time was nerfed in the PTR; what is your main standard for Mercy’s balancing?
Scott Mercer: Before the rework, Mercy had to stay mostly hidden in combat. She had to hide and use her ult to resurrect allies, and wait for them to die again to resurrect, then go hide again, which eventually became a pattern. That was not what we meant for Mercy when we developed her. We changed her ult and put her Resurrect as a normal ability, leading Mercy players to be more active in the game.
Many players showed a pattern of running away right after resurrecting a dead ally, which was risky yet rewarding. There was a lot of feedback saying that Mercy was too OP, so we increased the cast time for Resurrect in order to increase the risk, thus keeping it balanced.
Support players mostly getting teamed up together has become an issue in Overwatch Reddit, forums, and communities recently. What is your opinion on adopting a role selection system before queueing in competitive plays as a solution to this?
Scott Mercer: This is one of the things we’d like to apply to Overwatch. I think there’s a need to discuss this with much interest and we’re considering when and how to apply this.
Do you plan to make a team ranked game mode for premade 6v6 groups for Overwatch?
Scott Mercer: Not for now, but we know many people are interested in this. There’s a possibility of providing a bad gaming experience when there is an insufficient number of players for a team. That is why we are considering allowing such a queue possibly during a certain period of time or as a tournament feature.
The Korean map is still a big issue among Korean players. Will we be able to see it in 2018?
Scott Mercer: We are also looking forward to developing the Korean map (laughs).