As Medic just wrote a great article summing up our experiences with the Overwatch open beta, I thought I could get more specific and cover the classes I’ve enjoyed playing. By no means do I consider these extensive guides or anything; these are mostly first looks since I’ve hardly had time to play them.
But of course I’m going to start with Mercy. Not only are medics inherently attractive from the perspective of an untrained newbie who wants to help his team, I’ve also got more hours playing Medic in TF2 than any character in video game history.
Obviously the two characters are extremely similar, and Medic no doubt played a role in Mercy’s design. A character who regenerates health and enjoys a decent base speed, who heals teammates with a medium-range healbeam and has a weakness for self-defense, they are in many ways cut from the same cloth. If I had to place Mercy on a spectrum, she’d be somewhere in between the TF2 Medic and the medic class from Planetside 2. Her pistol is definitely a better self-defense weapon than the Syringe gun, not to mention one of only two secondary weapons in the whole game. Mercy and Torbjörn are the only characters with weapons occupying the 1 and 2 keys, which is kinda weird. I guess they couldn’t think of a decent way to make the healgun shoot bullets?
But she’s got some pretty awesome mobility tricks up her sleeve. If she can make line-of-sight with a teammate, she can hit Shift to fly over to them all fast like. So far I’ve found it very useful for close escapes and quickly re-entering the fight after respawn, though I haven’t found the related ability to float really slowly through the air by holding space bar that useful. I think it might be designed to hide in the sky and heal people in a place people don’t normally look, but I’ve never found myself up there often enough to abuse it, since you’d need a teammate or a flight of stairs to get there to begin with. Her alt is also more defensive than an Ubercharge, reviving dead teammates within a circular range, and its power cannot be overstated.
I often say that many video games don’t do enough to make the healer class feel fun and rewarding, usually because they focus too heavily on the healing rather than making it a means to an explosive and powerful end. Overwatch avoids this for free by having the ult mechanic, but the ability to toggle between a healbeam and a damage-boosting beam is a nice compromise for keeping the player on their feet, even though (just like with Lúcio) the healing flavor is going to be your default for the most part.
So in conclusion, I enjoy Mercy, and I’ll probably be playing her a lot. But her mobility disappoints me more than it impresses me, especially when her primary competitor is the speed demon Lúcio. That’s probably my largest complaint.