Things have been a little quiet over in the support side of the Overwatch roster since Ana’s release. When you consider that Symmetra can’t even heal at all, it makes sense that Overwatch fans have yearned for a new support to step in and change up the roster. Now that we have Moira on her way, those dreams are coming true.
There’s clearly a lot to dig into regarding Moira, ranging from her lore (she has a history with Blackwatch and Talon), to her place in the current metaplot of Doomfist trying to start a global war ... but most people are going to be curious about her gameplay. After the opening ceremony, we had a chance to sit down and play Moira in a No Limits game. Here are our impressions of Overwatch’s new hero.
Moira’s primary and alternate fire both come from her hands, and have no reload. Her left hand, and primary fire, heals allies in front of her. Her right hand, and alt-fire, does long range damage (think a lower damage, less locked-on Symmetra beam) that heals and replenishes Moira’s biotic energy. Her heal is extremely powerful, but it drains over time with a very slow reload rate, and she needs to replenish it by draining enemies.
Her left-shift gives her a blink called Fade. Enemies see a quick flash at Moira’s location, and there is no wind up or warning. Then, she appears a short distance away. While there’s no telegraphing, she also can’t travel as far as, say, a Sombra during her stealth. It’s an objectively more powerful ability than Reaper’s wraith walk, but clever enemies may be able to guess her path and blow her up as soon as she reappears.
Finally, there’s her ultimate, Coalescence. Moira’s ult fires both healing and damage out as one powerful beam, and it’s so strong it can go through barriers. Orisas and Reinhardts, be warned.
Cass: I was playing Moira in the most casual possible environment: a No Limits match on a brand new map, where there were at least four Moiras running around at any given time. Despite that, I already know Moira is going to be a high skill floor, high skill cap monster of a character for players to master. Unlike Mercy or Lucio, she doesn’t have a lot of tools with which to defend herself. She can pick up some healing from her E healing orb, and she has her blink, but both of them are incredibly difficult to use compared to Mercy’s Guardian Angel and self-heal or Lucio’s wall-riding and healing aura.
Her resource system is also incredibly opaque to players who haven’t had the details explained to them, and I still don’t feel like I have a strong handle on healing, damaging, and staying safe while doing both despite playing her for some time. I suspect that casual players are going to struggle to sink their teeth into Moira — she is definitely not a replacement for pre-rework Mercy.
It feels like Moira is a secondary healer. Her blink and leech heal on alt-fire isn’t enough to keep her alive against a prolonged assault from an enemy sniper or Pharah, and her resource system and range means she’s just less reliable overall as a primary healer than the alternatives. That being said, she brings spades of damage and area control to the table in return.
While she’s frustrating and difficult, players who want a challenge are going to love this new hero. Even better, her ultimate makes up for a lot of the early struggle in learning her. The powerful heal/damage beam will actually pull your mouse slightly, forcing you to aim it — it feels like a barely contained torrent.
Also, I’m not going to lie, I didn’t ever think I wanted a David Bowie-style villainess in Overwatch but I absolutely did, and Moira is perfect.
Michael: Moira, based on my short time with her at BlizzCon, is exactly the character I’ve been hoping Blizzard would add to Overwatch for months: a fun to play, high-damage support character — one that an offense instalocker might lean toward when none of the other randos on my team want to play healer.
One part of her kit that I love that I didn’t see you discuss much, Cass, is how fun her bouncing orbs of damage and healing are. Moira can fire a Biotic Orb, mapped to E, that takes the form of either a regenerating ball of health or a decay effect sphere that deals damage. The orbs themselves don’t have to make direct contact with other players; a bolt of healing or damaging energy will spark off and lock on to multiple friends or foes if they’re in range. They’re short-lived and situational, but it looks like Biotic Orbs might be helpful in breaking up crowds or forcing an opponent to move from a protected position.
I’m also excited about the possibilities for her ult, Coalescence. Having a healer than can perform during those frantic moments where, say, both teams are locked in a stalemate guarding the payload by dealing simultaneous damage and healing is enticing.
It will be interesting to see how new players, especially those who don’t shine to healers, adapt to Moira’s play style. I didn’t get a sense that there was great visual feedback when Moira was healing with Biotic Grasp, and I was initially confused about where her biotic energy meter was on the UI (even though it’s, uh, right there on her reticle).
I’m also excited to see what Moira brings to the lore, especially in her interactions with McCree and Reaper, and that Blizzard went super Bowie with her character design. I mean, look at this amazing “glam” skin.
Moira has been the type of healer I’ve been fantasizing about, and I can’t wait to see a wider range of players get their hands on her (hopefully soon).