At Blizzcon 2017, Blizzard unveiled a number of new features that are coming to Overwatch, the most interesting of which is likely going to be Moira, a healer who relies on lifesteal mechanics to help the rest of the team stay alive. Of course, everyone loves new Heroes and no one likes waiting for them, so Blizzard has unleashed Moira on the game’s Public Test Region for everyone to try out.

As a former Blackwatch scientist and current Talon member, Moira is not one to shy away from combat unlike most of the other healers in Overwatch. In fact, Moira is the only healer in the game who can theoretically lose their ability to heal if you don’t do enough damage. Her primary attack, Biotic Grasp, is an auto-aiming beam (think Symmetra) that does some 50 damage per second up to a range of roughly 20 meters. As you do damage, you heal yourself and refill your biotic energy. This biotic energy is used to sustain Biotic Grasp’s alternate (or primary, depending on your point of view) ability, which is a healing spray that can restore about 50 health per second. Running out of biotic energy effectively means that you can no longer heal, although your biotic energy does come back on its own after a long period of time.

Moira’s secondary ability, Biotic Orb, follows the same theme as her Biotic Grasp in that you can use it to heal people or deal damage. Simply activate Biotic Orb, select the mode that you want, and then throw it in the appropriate direction. As the name suggests, Biotic Orb is a somewhat slow-moving bubble (once again, think Symmetra) that can be used like a more traditional grenade, but it can and will bounce around once it hits a wall or the floor. Thus, you can theoretically use it to flush out enemies who are hiding in small rooms, or you can heal teammates who are out of your line of sight. Thankfully, you don’t have to hit targets directly with the Orb for it to deal damage or heal, but you do have to have the Orb pass within say, 5 meters of something to have an effect.

Moira also possesses an escape ability, Fade, that is similar to Reaper’s in that she can turn into a fine mist and appear somewhere else, but being that she is a healer in Overwatch, it will realistically only buy you a second or two to disengage from an otherwise guaranteed death. Unlike Mercy’s Guardian Angel ability, you can’t fly across the map in a literal or figurative sense, though you can use it to cross a street without the risk of being sniped or mowed down by a Bastion.

However, the most interesting of Moira’s abilities may very well be Coalescence, which is her Ultimate ability. Activate it, and Moira unleashes a beam that both heals and hurts; if you can catch both teams in the beam, you can almost guarantee that your teammates will be borderline invulnerable while the other team will die rather quickly. Coalescence lasts for eight seconds and it has a range of roughly 30 meters, but it is quite comparable to a more directed version of Zenyatta’s Transcendence ability in that you can use it to almost singlehandedly stop or enable a push. Needless to say, the usual Overwatch Ultimate ability rules apply in that Coalescence can be stopped if the caster is killed, so it might be best not to think that you’re invincible while using it.

The timing of Moira’s release onto the PTR is a rather interesting one at this point in Overwatch’s lifespan, if you disregard the obvious fact that Blizzard is following up on the excitement from Blizzcon. Currently, Mercy is indisputably far too powerful, and the existing roster of healers has been unchanged for the past year (since the release of Ana barring some recent changes to Mercy), which means that even if you’re not a Support player, you might be feeling a bit fatigued from seeing the same couple of healers every game, all of whom encourage more passive playstyles anyways. Thanks to Moira, you now have a healer who can get somewhat close to the frontlines, deal damage, and actually fit into quite a number of team compositions without too much trouble, all without being overpowered to the point that your DPS Heroes must go out of their way to swarm her at all costs. Indeed, as people get more and more practice playing Moira, it will be interesting to see what kind of new strategies and team comps will be born with the introduction of what may be one of Overwatch’s most engaging new Support Heroes.

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Anson Chan

Staff Writer

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