They give us a glimpse into some of the new abilities being considered for Moira.
Developing a game as complex as Overwatch can be extremely challenging. From balancing movement speeds, to abilities to map design, there are many aspects to game design that require the developer’s attention. Often, this is lost on the community who fail to have a better understanding of the complexities of game design. The Overwatch development team has released a new blogpost that highlights some of the processes behind Overwatch game development and their thought process behind some of the decisions.
The blog release comes just as Overwatch 2’s first PVP beta comes to an end. The development team has given us some more details specifically on how they have approached development for Moira in Overwatch 2.
We balance heroes after we can take a look at their complete kit all at once. Balance and design aren’t mutually exclusive to one another, but rather they coexist at the same time with multiple factors that influence them both.
Why did Moira need an update for Overwatch 2?
The Hero Balance and Design Team led by Alex Kwok, associate Hero Design believes Moira is an effective support in Overwatch. In fact, sometimes her effectiveness might be a bit too much especially in certain metas such as GOATS.
We believe she lacks the play-making ability and utility possessed by other supports on the roster. To improve the feel of her gameplay, we’re iterating on fresh changes that will give her kit more depth.
Goals for Moira in Overwatch 2:
- To give her more utility.
- To give her the power of making game-changing plays.
There are three iterations of potential changes to Moira highlighted in the blog. Here’s a quick preview of each of them and their current status.
The Pain converter was an innovative ability idea that would convert the pain Moira dealt out to add to her healing potential. In short, it was a damage reduction.
However, despite the innovative story behind this ability, the developers felt this is not a unique ability. It bears striking resemblance to some of the existing abilities in Overwatch, including Batptiste’s Immortality Field. The ability also was very situational and would alter Moira’s gameplay to focus on healing tank teammates instead of DPS allies in the backlines.
We tried binding Pain Converter to the reload key, but this felt awkward since Moira wasn’t reloading a weapon,” Kwok explains. “There was a brief iteration where players could activate it by holding down primary and secondary fire simultaneously, but the key binding added a level of clunkiness to her kit. Moira frequently switches between primary and secondary fire, so the ability would often accidentally trigger.
Also adding Pain Converter would require adding another ability and with Moira’s toolkit being complete, there was little room to add more.
Purge and Nullify
Moving on from Pain Converter, the developers talk about the next two abilities: Purge and Nullify.
Purge, as the name suggests, removes buffs from the enemies. So some abilities like Nanoboost, Soldier: 76’s ult would potentially be negated by Purge. This ability draws inspiration from World of Warcraft’s Shaman class.
“Since this type of ability fits with Moira’s personality, we started thinking about what buffs could be removed,” says Kwok. “We considered Purge canceling Ana’s Nano Boost or Soldier: 76’s Sprint, but it wasn’t super intuitive about what else should be removed.”
The team’s goal with Nullify was to come to a consensus about what types of abilities should be suppressed
After negating Purge, came Nullify. Nullify negated damage reduction, damage boosts, and movement speed while active. For example, it would suppress the effects of Nano Boost for a few seconds.
Players would have been able to stop Nullify orb in its place, thereby creating areas of healing for her teammates. These orbs would also be able to create areas of Nullification for enemies. It was an area control ability.
However, Nullify did not make a big impact on the game. Unless and until you were playing a hero that is directly impacted by this ability, it was difficult to experience the effect of this ability.
What's new for Moira in Overwatch 2?
After trying out several different abilities, the developers are now settled on a new ability named Weaken.
This ability begins charging when reload is pressed once, causing Moira to build up energy in her hand. After Weaken is charged, Moira can fire a projectile that significantly lowers attack and healing output. She can choose when to fire this projectile or hold it at the cost of not being able to use her primary or secondary fire at the same time.
“We are considering something with a small projectile size, like Ana’s Sleep Dart,” explains Kwok. “When we have an ability that requires players to manage things like timing, ultimate tracking, or accuracy, we have more room to make something that is going to feel both impactful to use and fair to play against.”
Weaken might be a high impact ability. But it would also require Moira players to have good positioning and skill to extract it's maximum impact. Usually, the higher impact abilities, like Ana’s Sleep Dart, are well-balanced in the game because they can be countered well in the game.
The developers are currently testing out Weaken and there is a possibility this might be a part of Moira’s toolkit in Overwatch 2.
What’s next for Overwatch 2 heroes?
Discussing the thought-process behind designing heroes, the developers talked about some of the past changes. Heroes often have different iterations of abilities before joining the game. The blog specifically talks about Ana, previously named Alchemist who had different abilities before her current version. Today, Ana is one of the most balanced heroes in the game. It's also very unique in its ability to heal teammates by shooting at them and throwing the biotic grenade. The sleep dart is also one of the most impactful abilities in the game but it requires positioning and skill. It can also be easily countered by enemies via shields or good movement.
Besides Moira, the developers are also working on several other hero redesigns. But so far, we don't have much information. More details will be available on June 16 which is also when we will know the dates for the next OW2 beta.
Overwatch 2 is the version for the 2022 Overwatch League and so far, it has had a positive response fro the community. Blizzard recently finished the first beta for the game. There will be several other beta versions before the game's release.