The Overwatch 2 beta has arrived, and it’s come bearing gifts for tank and damage players who’ve received a bunch of new bells and whistles to mess around with. But alas, healers, the stalwart cornerstone of the team-based shooter, are feeling left by the wayside. Blizzard just rolled out a patch for the beta, and while it implemented more nifty tweaks for plenty of the game’s heroes, concerned support mains got the short end of the stick.
Players appear to be having a blast with the Overwatch 2 beta, testing out significant reworks to characters like Doomfist and Orisa, and uploading clips of themselves popping off in the beta’s more fast-paced, deathmatch-style gameplay. However, some format changes introduced by the sequel–like the presence of only one tank position per team, and the abundance of flanking opportunities on the game’s larger maps–have left healers more vulnerable than they were in Overwatch.
“Blizzard have managed to make the roles more fun to play, but support [characters] seem to be the most vulnerable role to play,” Overwatch YouTuber Stylosa said in a video. While tanks have become “beefier” versions of their Overwatch (I refuse to call it Overwatch 1) counterparts, Stylosa said support characters are “living on the edge” in the beta.
While “living on the edge” has long been the cross that Overwatch support veterans must bear, the vulnerability feels even starker in Overwatch 2’s beta. This isn’t to say support characters weren’t given anything new with which to protect themselves. In fact, supports across the board were given passive health regeneration, something that was previously exclusive to Mercy. Oh, were you expecting something more? Sorry. Aside from some minute patch-note changes, healers have been left virtually untouched from their Overwatch versions.
Where do the tweaks to the game’s overall format leave our largely unchanged healers? The name of the game for support in Overwatch 2, aside from damage-boosting and keeping everyone alive, is maneuverability. If your character can’t keep up in these trying, fast-as-fuck times, your ass is grass.
In the spirit of keeping my fellow lapsed Overwatch refugees informed on the status of their support mains, I’ve broken down today’s patch note changes and ranked characters by who got the rawest deal in the Overwatch 2 beta, and who’s looking pretty good right now.
Zenyatta, buddy, I’m sorry. You didn’t get anything new in the latest patch notes for Overwatch 2’s beta. While it’s generally a good thing hearing your main didn’t receive a patch change, Zenyatta was already an “Oh, so you want to die?” support character thanks to his shields having the structural fortitude of a Nature Valley bar. My man still floats with the molasses, so I hope Zenyatta mains aren’t rusty with their alternate fire, or you’ll end up like Mondatta on the battlefield.
Brigitte, the bane of many an Overwatch player’s existence for her shield-bashing stuns, got the most extensive revisions in Overwatch 2’s beta out of any support character. Chief among them, her shield bash no longer stuns enemies. Instead, it deals damage, increased from 1 to 50 pts. To make up for that, her range is increased to 12 meters, her cooldown is decreased from five seconds, and barriers don’t halt her bashes anymore.
Folks on the r/Overwatch subreddit are debating whether Brigitte is a shadow of her former self, but thanks to her larger shield and health, she’s more durable as a support than she used to be.
Baptiste is probably the only support to get a net-positive with the beta’s patch. His ultimate, Regenerative Boost, has seen its ally-healing power increased from 75% to 100%, and the minimum falloff range for his primary fire was reduced from 25 to 20 meters. Baptiste can still heal via grenades at a distance, and his jumping capabilities enable him to reach a higher vantage point and get out of harm’s way.
Ana, one of the more demanding support characters to master, appears to be flourishing in the Overwatch 2 beta due to her ability to crowd control with her healing/damage grenades. The only change to her kit as of the latest patch is that her sleep dart cooldown has increased from 12 seconds to 15. While your mileage may vary depending on your skill level, Ana’s survivability hinges on your ability to choose your shots, especially with your sleep dart. Only shoot if you’re certain.
Lucio’s maneuverability remains second-to-none. His kit also remains mostly unchanged, aside from his ultimate, Sound Barrier, getting reduced by 12%. He can still glide across walls just as well, if not better, than his OW version, and you can take advantage of the maps’ wider spaces to glide to the beat of your own drum.
According to Overwatch YouTuber Flats, Mercy’s changes are “quality-of-life” improvements for players and teammates. Those QOL features include a HUD that displays damage boosts and healing more clearly. In terms of getting out of Dodge when things get dicey, Mercy can still glide towards allies if they’re in line of sight. So, if you see a DPS character making a break for it, be sure to use that fancy new ping system and let them know you’re on their six.
Out of all the support characters, Moira (who just so happens to be my main) is probably the best off when it comes to survivability. While she and Zenyatta haven’t had their kits tampered with in the latest patch, Moira’s maneuverability as a support gives her a bit more of an edge in comparison to other characters. Thanks to her fade ability, Moira can nope out of any dicey encounter with the enemy team. Alongside every support’s passive health regen, Moira’s Biotic Grasp, Biotic Orb, and her ultimate, the Biotic Beam, triple down as a means to heal herself while dealing damage to the enemy team.
While my assessments can all be undone by the stroke of another patch update (something the ol’ Overwatch is wont to do), at least supports can take comfort in not getting shit on as often for losing the game. That’s probably gonna be tanks now since there’s only one per team. Still, it’s still a hard-knock life. Godspeed, support players. You’re doing the lord’s work.