Overwatch Players Are Actually Embracing Moira

Moira

It takes Overwatch fans mere minutes to churn out fanart for each newly-released character, but a few long weeks or months to welcome them into their competitive mode teams. But for maybe the first time ever, Overwatch's newest hero, the mad scientist Moira, has been immediately accepted into the game's competitive community with wide open arms.

Overwatch has seen five new heroes since its release in May, 2016. After each release, the heroes suffer through varying levels of Overwatch meta purgatory. Players took about a month to stop condemning teammates who chose Orisa and Ana in competitive matches.

Doomfist and Sombra have been less lucky and, in most levels of play, are considered risky picks. Crows of "change plz" and "nooooooooo" greet players who choose heroes looked on as iffy.

Why the hesitation? Like suspicious cats eyeing a visitor from a dark corner, competitive Overwatch players don't easily take to new things, and especially when those things can compromise their competitive ranking. So shaming teammates who make rogue hero picks into submission is just a part of the culture.

That didn't happen with Moira, a support hero who equally heals teammates and drains the life out of enemies with a beam and an orb. A week after Moira became available in Overwatch's competitive mode, her pick rate on PC was an inspired 7% -- many, many times more than Doomfist (.6%), Orisa (2%) and other newer heroes in the same time period. It also helps that she wins slightly over half the games she's played in.

Overwatch's community has loved Moira since the day she was born.

Why? Moira is intuitive to play. She feels like the evil brainchild of Zenyatta, who both heals allies and damages enemies with his orbs, and Symmetra, whose high-damage laser locks onto enemies. Her teleporting move -- which, by the way, gives her great mobility -- looks like others we've seen in the game, too.

Picking her up, I had reference points for how evasive I should be, how far behind tanks I should stand while I healed and what risks to take when killing enemies with my beam.

Moira immediately feels like she's meant to be in Overwatch, something other new heroes' designs didn't quite manage: Sombra's hacking and sneaking techniques at face proved difficult for kills-focused DPS players to grok and Doomfist essentially plays like a fighting game character (in part, that's why he has one of the lowest pick rates in Overwatch's competitive mode). Moira is a very, very safe bet when skill rating is on the line.

Moira also added something Overwatch desperately needed: another very competent healer who doesn't depend on aiming. After the game's main healer Mercy received a very righteous buff, games without her were rare, in my experience.

Other healers averaged about half of what Mercy does on average -- until Moira came along. Moira now the second most powerful healer, an attractive alternative that energised the competitive's support class meta.

Also, since her attacking and healing rays lock onto targets, and her orb literally bounces all over the place, nobody has to stress about not clearing some invisible skill barrier when it comes to aiming (And, so far, I haven't heard of too many players condemning Moira for being low-skill).

When I'm queueing up for an Overwatch match, I often suffer low-level anxiety about which heroes teammates will pick. It's nothing a doctor would prescribe something for, but it's there.

That's because some picks can compromise my ability to perform well -- for example, if we don't have a tank to absorb damage, it's harder for squishy DPS heroes to get kills without dying.

Moira hits that perfect, gratifying balance between helping me mow down enemies and healing me along the way. A few times, I've been standing out in the open, steamrolling two or three opponents with with lighter attacks before realising that, actually, a Moira was standing behind me dealing half that damage. That's the ultimate support.

Designing with an eye for how a hero can echo well-loved designs and fit into lots of common situations may seem less exciting than putting out another Doomfist or Sombra every few months. Designing with an eye for competitive play in general could be stifling to players who just want to have fun and chill. It's good that Blizzard takes risks with new Overwatch heroes.

Sometimes, it's the community's reticence to risk-take that's the most damning for them. With Moira, perhaps her relatively safe design will whet players' palates for some more left-field ones.


Comments

    Because her attacks bypass shields, it's what the developers have been trying to fix with Reinhardt since day one, without nerfing him.

    The majority of battles consisted of everybody shooting his shield, when it drops someone gets picked, usually by Roadhogs hook and if it's the other Reinhardt then that team immediately backs off until he spawns in again. Barely anybody stayed and fought without a Reinhardt.

    They first tried to fix it with Ana. But her sleep dart required getting too close, her ult made someone a pick target and her bottle was less than useful if you could get a pick even with them being healed.

    Next they tried Sombra. The idea of someone teleporting/cloaking past their shields then turning and hacking it was intoxicating. However, behind enemy lines she was an easy pick and her hacking required getting in close, actually managing to target Reinhardt within the enemies line, and avoid getting shot long enough to hack. Ultimately you could only rely on her ult and nobody likes relying on ults for someone to be functional.

    Next they tried nerfing Roadhog. It didn't make a difference.

    Then Orisa comes out, they experimented with an 'offensive' Reinhardt who could protect while constantly barraging the other shield. This worked a bit better, but so many people were so focused on the meta that whenever I picked Orisa, specifically to counter Reinhardt and Roadhog, I was met with anger and thrown matches.

    Next up is Doomfist. He can knock Reinhardt around, pull him in, punch him out, uppercut him, and his ult caused everybody to scatter. Plus, he gained shields when he attacks, he couldn't be picked when doing his job! Except it still wasn't enough and everybody avoided him.

    Now comes Moira. She sends out a ball of hurt that bypasses shields and hurts everyone. They need D.Va on constant defense or everybody starts taking chipping damage that support can't keep up with. The only solution is to drop Reinhardt and do so much damage that Moira has to focus on healing to keep the line from dropping.

    Reinhardt is the sole reason for the meta and they couldn't fix him without a nerf until now.

      What meta? Reinhardt is only used on a few maps, the rest is Dive with Winston and D.Va.
      This was the case long before Moira was announced. Reinhardt hasn't seen constant play like Winston and D.Va since early this year, just before people were adpating to Dive.

      If anything, Moira will bring back Reinhardt and Zarya on more maps. Either that or Moira becomes a staple hero when running Deathball compositions, similar to pre-Dive Ana with Triple Tank.

    While she is interesting, her death ray is badly in need of a nerf. That range on that thing is incredible and inescapable in a lot of conditions. And lets fact it, its not like it takes skill. Its made even more annoying as they havent acted on how unfair Sym's death ray feels, so instead they doubled down on it and made it worse and gave to a healer.

      def needs to be short end but the damage it does is less then every other hero can do, for a toon that need to do combat inorder to be able to heal seems kinda shit on both sides, and why is there only one healer that can res, she has the same tecth more or less

    im loving moira. ive just been picking her in pre match skirmish to get used to her movements and skills and have just started using her in matches and im really enjoying her. loving her energy ball and playing around with angles to get maximum boingage aorund the enemy choke points.
    fun character to learn if you haven't tried her yet.

    When I'm queueing up for an Overwatch match, I often suffer low-level anxiety about which heroes teammates will pick. It's nothing a doctor would prescribe something for, but it's there.

    This is a part of the reason I stopped playing Overwatch. If people feel this way and don't quantify that it's a competitive match, they are in too deep and need to step back for a bit. Even if it's competitive, it may be time to chillax a bit.

    It's funny actually that you say people don't consider Moira low skill considering she's much easier to play than Mercy. Moira can heal, deal damage, move fast without needing team mates (and generally be way, way less dependent on team mates to do well) AND needs to aim less since aiming the orbs and spray are easier than hitting with Mercy's pistol.

    Only thing she doesn't do better really is constant sustained healing when you can't use her life drain to build back up meter.

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