With one of the most consistently high pick rates of all the Heroes in Overwatch, Lucio has become a staple for any team who is looking for a healer. He may lack the raw healing output of other Heroes, but his unique ability to heal and speed boost his entire team by simply existing has made him virtually impervious to Blizzard’s attempts to nerf him. Of course, his abilities are merely shadows of their former selves since the game’s launch, but that has done almost nothing to his popularity. With the Uprising patch, however, certain key buffs and nerfs necessitate a change to certain playstyles.
The largest nerf by far is to the radius of his abilities (from 30 meters to 10 meters), drastically reducing the range that he can stay away from his teammates while still being helpful. This means that you can’t sit far away from (or for more advanced players, orbit) a point and still expect to provide healing, especially when you consider how 10 meters in Overwatch is roughly equivalent to the width of one Reinhardt shield. On the bright side, Lucio’s healing has been buffed by 30% across the board, unless you are healing yourself, which means that Blizzard is really trying to make you choose between staying out of danger and actually helping your team. While this is good news for strategies that revolve around making a concentrated rush onto a point with say, Reinhardt, such a range reduction puts an end to his effectiveness for teams that rely upon being spread out—so, really only if your team has some combination of Reaper, Genji, Tracer, D.Va, Pharah, Winston, etc., which is pretty rare in itself—unless your team picks an appropriate supplemental healer.
Furthermore, Blizzard saw it fit to drastically increase Lucio’s damage output and projectile speed by 25% each (which puts each shot roughly on par with each shot from Mercy’s sidearm), knockback distance (indirectly), and speed when wallriding, further increasing the skill gap between skilled and unskilled Lucio players. Even though an increase in damage benefits everyone, only the most aggressive Lucio players would be able to take advantage of his new offensive capabilities. Thanks to his newfound wallriding speed that is in the neighborhood of the speed he possessed at launch, Lucio now has a much easier time going around chokepoints and knocking people out of position—for example, outside the protection of Reinhardt’s shield or better yet, off the map—although this is obviously dependent on the map and how attentive the other team is. As an added bonus, you can now reliably, kind of, finish off weakened enemies or chase them down if need be, although this is definitely not recommended unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Cumulatively, these changes might spell an end to Lucio’s former utility as a jack of all trades healer, making it much more difficult for newer players to get acquainted with him until they figure out how to best use his speed. Seeing as how you can’t sit far away from the action and heal, this also means that being an aggressive Lucio might be the most effective way to play Lucio, at the very least making him one of the few healers who can heal Overwatch’s more mobile Heroes and actually survive. It also makes him the only healer who has to choose between actually healing and staying alive or providing utility, as his newfound lack of range prevents you from both flanking and healing at the same time, in most cases.
That being said, this does open up new opportunities for the other healers, since Lucio must now stay really close to certain Heroes to get the most out of his healing, which puts him in danger to a great many things that he could previously, reasonably, avoid such as certain Ultimate abilities, splash damage, and Bastion. Naturally, players who already play Lucio consistently will love his changes, but everyone else is going to have to adapt to his not-so-guaranteed healing and play a little bit more cautiously.
What do you think of the changes to Lucio?More About This Game