I request an audience with the balancing team

General Discussion
Jeff, firstly thank you for all your replies over the past few days. It’s nice to know where we stand on things, and as someone who plays Sombra and Torbjorn fairly regularly I’m excited to see what the upcoming balance changes for them are. There is however one post you made recently that I would like an in-depth response to, which is stating that the Junkertown Queen isn’t a nice person (jk). No, I’m of course on about the confirmation you have no plans to revert Mercy. I feel there is already enough evidence to suggest that this is an erroneous decision, and I shall now try and convince you to change your mind.

Just to go on the record before we begin so that it’s clear to everybody reading this that I have no bias, I am not a Mercy main, I only have about an hour total on her across all modes, and the 2 supports I do play; Moira and Zenyatta, are in a strong position currently, sitting as the strongest of all supports. Technically speaking, the most recent Mercy nerf did nothing but help my chances of moving up in SR.

I am going to go through your post bit by bit, and address each point you raised. Point #1:
02/07/2018 05:37 PMPosted by Jeff Kaplan
We have no plans to revert Mercy. We also feel like she's not in a horrible place or unplayable.

Is she unplayable? No, she still has the most consistent heal of the main healers, and the highest mobility of any of the support heroes thanks to Guardian Angel, which means that at the lower tiers she still has a high pick rate, as the most accessible healer for those with potato aim. If you look at the weekly pick rates on Overbuff, you see that Mercy never drops out of the top 2 most picked supports on console at any level, and only does at Diamond and up on PC. She’s a popular character who doesn’t require good mechanical aim to have success. (Note to the forums: Just because I’m saying Mercy doesn’t require good aim, that doesn’t mean I’m saying she doesn’t require any skill.)

Is she in a horrible place? This is kind of a subjective question. Yes, statistics hold an important role in this discussion and should not be ignored, but I shall address those shortly. The important thing you need to remember when discussing if a character is in a horrible spot, is that what may feel horrible to one person could feel great to everyone else, and vice versa. And it’s also worth noting that the angriest people tend to be the most vocal. Considering these points, I decided to venture into the Mercy feedback thread, to see what the common consensus is. Here are the most common opinions in that mega thread (starting from the top of page 175/180 to date):
- Rez on an E ability is not balanceable = This one is coming from both people that want it removed completely, or returned to being ult exclusive.
- Hide and Rez is back, only weaker = Basically people pointing out that Mercy is now so vulnerable during Rez that the strategy this rework was supposed to destroy has become the +EV playstyle once more.
- An earned Rez felt more rewarding than a CD Rez = Completely understandable, when you earn something you get that sense of accomplishment, and it’s a clear way to separate yourself from the lesser players.
- Appreciation that Mercy’s no longer a must pick = Pretty straightforward, people are glad that not having a Mercy is no longer an instant defeat
- Valk Rez not being instant is harsh = It effectively means the signature part of Mercy’s kit does not get stronger during ult, while other parts of her kit do get stronger.

From those statements, It’s clear to draw a couple of conclusions regarding public opinion:
1. Most agreed that the most recent form of Mercy was not balanced. She was still a must pick, and something needed to be changed, whether it was a Revert, Rework, or a standard Nerf.
2. This Nerf was too harsh. Mercy is now so weak when Rezzing that we’ve come full circle and have Hide and Rez back, and her ultimate no longer has any effect on the team fight.
3. When you earn an ability, it feels more rewarding, and it doesn’t feel as cheap to fall victim to. Similarly, engaging abilities that put you in the middle of the fight feel great to successfully pull off, and there’s no feeling of unfairness when an enemy uses it.

02/07/2018 05:37 PMPosted by Jeff Kaplan
It's still to be determined if she is exactly where she should be because it has been too soon and the dust needs to settle. Her playtime in QP and Comp is still incredibly high. Her winrate is still above 50% but more in line with what we'd expect.

I’ve already addressed the pick rate in general, but now I’m going to go in to detail on it. With only 6 supports, 3 of which are main healers, it makes logical sense that Mercy, Moira and Ana should have high pick rates. Earlier I mentioned that even now Mercy only drops out of the top 2 most picked supports from Diamond up on PC, so this is a look into the pick rates of Mercy, Moira and Ana in those 3 tiers. As always, these stats are taken from Overbuff, pick rates for this week only:
Moira = 10.58%, 1st support, 1st overall
Ana = 5.98%, 3rd support, 6th overall
Mercy = 5.77%, 4th support, 7th overall
(Zenyatta sits in 2nd for supports, 4th overall with a 6.58% pick rate)

Moira = 11.48%, 1st support, 1st overall
Ana = 4.92%, 3rd support, 8th overall
Mercy = 4.90%, 4th support, 9th overall
(again Zenyatta is 2nd for supports, 3rd overall with a 7.49% pick rate)

Moira = 10.93%, 1st support, 1st overall
Ana = 3.29%, 4th support, 13th overall
Mercy = 3.12%, 5th support, 15th overall
(as with the other 2 ranks, Zenyatta is the 2nd most picked support, 4th overall with a 7.67% pick rate, but in GM Lucio moves up to the 3rd most picked support, 6th overall with a 6.87% pick rate)

Now I know what you may be thinking. You may be thinking “but Ben, these stats show Mercy and Ana have similar pick rates, they’re balanced, this just shows Moira needs nerfing”. I wouldn’t blame you for coming to that conclusion. However, this is where Zenyatta’s pick rates come into the equation. Pretty much everyone is in agreement that Zenyatta is one of the most balanced characters in the game, and has been for nearly a full year. As a character that is only ever used as the secondary healer (apart from in low ELO where I’ve seen for myself some people try and solo heal as him. It rarely goes well for them), the logical conclusion would be that he should have a lower pick rate than any main healer, especially considering all main healers can double as the secondary healer. And yet, from Diamond upwards he has a higher pick rate than both Mercy and Ana, more than doubling their pick rates in GM. In fact, in the case of Ana, if you look through the weekly pick rates on all platforms and all tiers, the only occasion Ana moves above Zenyatta on pick rate is in PC Platinum (Ana = 5.88% pick rate, Zenyatta = 5.69% pick rate). With this additional knowledge, it’s safe to say that the more likely situation is that Ana and Mercy are underpowered, and it is Moira that is balanced.

Another interesting thing to look at is comparing Mercy’s pick rate at various times throughout the year. I shall focus on 4 periods of time; September 18th (the day before Mercy 2.0), November 15th (the day before E ability Rez gained a cast time and movement slow), January 29th (the day before the most recent change), and today, February 12th. These stats are taken from Overbuff, in the heroes/mercy/trends section:

Sept 18th = 12.06%
Nov 15th = 16.62%
Jan 29th = 15.14%
Feb 12th = 7.50%

Sept 18th = 11.01%
Nov 15th = 16.47%
Jan 29th = 16.25%
Feb 12th = 6.36%

Sept 18th = 11.31%
Nov 15th = 17.82% (technically above 100%!!!)
Jan 29th = 17.27% (also above 100%, presumably from multiple people playing her in the same game)
Feb 12th = 5.18%

Sept 18th = 8.32%
Nov 15th = 17.22% (above 100% total)
Jan 29th = 16.47%
Feb 12th = 3.40%

Sept 18th = 15.33%
Nov 15th = 16.23%
Jan 29th = 14.06%
Feb 12th = 9.51%

Sept 18th = 15.53%
Nov 15th = 16.70% (marginally above 100%, which is 16.67%)
Jan 29th = 15.19%
Feb 12th = 9.70%

Sept 18th = 14.97%
Nov 15th = 16.76% (above 100%)
Jan 29th = 16.22%
Feb 12th = 11.78%

Sept 18th = 14.30%
Nov 15th = 18.00% (above 100%)
Jan 29th = 20.21% (miles above 100%, that’s over 120%)
Feb 12th = 11.24%

Sept 18th = 13.64%
Nov 15th = 16.12%
Jan 29th = 13.86%
Feb 12th = 7.97%

Sept 18th = 13.71%
Nov 15th = 15.47%
Jan 29th = 15.06%
Feb 12th = 7.75%

Sept 18th = 14.63%
Nov 15th = 16.90% (above 100%)
Jan 29th = 17.85% (above 100%)
Feb 12th = 8.49%

Sept 18th = 12.82%
Nov 15th = 18.08% (above 100%)
Jan 29th = 17.56% (above 100%)
Feb 12th = 9.91%

There are 2 things we can take from this set of stats:
1 – Mercy’s current pick rate is down across the board compared to the day before Mercy 2.0 was introduced, having been significantly higher across the board in the previous iterations post-rework.
2 – On console, Mercy now has similar pick rates to Moira’s PC pick rates. The aim of any changes you make next should be to try and increase her PC pick rate up towards a similar spot as her console pick rates, without sending the console pick rates back into the stratosphere.

Now, moving onto Mercy’s win rate, it’s concerning stuff. Let me just quote you again before we get into it:

02/07/2018 05:37 PMPosted by Jeff Kaplan
Her winrate is still above 50% but more in line with what we'd expect.

Is it though? Is it really above 50% win rate? Time to find out, as here are the Overbuff stats of the last week:

Overall = 49.84% (13th highest) (5th support)
Bronze = 46.29% (10th) (5th)
Silver = 47.42% (13th) (5th)
Gold = 49.27% (12th) (5th)
Platinum = 50.85% (11th) (5th)
Diamond = 51.96% (12th) (5th)
Masters = 51.71% (17th) (4th)
Grandmasters = 52.42% (20th) (5th)

Overall = 50.33% (11th) (5th)
Bronze = 45.11% (16th) (5th)
Silver = 47.11% (12th) (5th)
Gold = 48.45% (11th) (5th)
Platinum = 50.36% (11th) (5th)
Diamond = 51.87% (13th) (5th)
Masters = 52.27% (13th) (5th)
Grandmasters = 58.31% (9th) (3rd)

Overall = 49.33% (15th) (5th)
Bronze = 47.50% (5th) (3rd)
Silver = 45.50% (17th) (5th)
Gold = 48.01% (11th) (5th)
Platinum = 49.24% (16th) (5th)
Diamond = 50.57% (18th) (5th)
Masters = 51.37% (18th) (5th)
Grandmasters = 55.24% (20th) (6th)

As you can see, Mercy’s overall win rate is only above 50% on PS4, but it’s within 1% either side on all 3 platforms, so once you take into account the variance using a 3rd party site for stats is bound to have, saying her win rate is at or just above 50% is perfectly possible. The thing that stands out to me is that her win rate in relation to everyone else as a general rule gets worse when you reach the higher tiers, with Mercy dropping to 20th of 26 in GM both on PC and Xbox. Also it’s worth noting that in almost every section Mercy is 5th of 6 just looking at supports, and unsurprisingly the one character below her in every single one of those 5th is Ana. This adds more weight to the claims that both Ana and Mercy need buffing.

02/07/2018 05:37 PMPosted by Jeff Kaplan
Also, we don't agree with the statement that all supports are weak. Support heroes are extremely powerful and impactful in OW.

Whilst I agree that the statement “All supports are weak” is false, I feel it’s frankly farcical to take that to mean all supports are strong. As I feel I have proven here, Mercy is not strong. Ana’s pick/win rates speak for themselves. And Symmetra? The less said about her, the better. The other 3? No real problems with them. Lucio could maybe do with a compensation buff to make up for being hit badly with 2 accidental nerfs (the ultimate casting change hit Lucio worst and the recent movement changes hurt him), but Moira and Zenyatta are in really good spots currently.

So what is it I want for Mercy?
Well firstly, I want Rez to not be an uncounterable E ability, but I want a situation where Hide and Rez is no longer a viable strategy. Whether this means reverting it to be an ultimate ability, reworking how it works but keeping it as an E ability, locking Rez behind the ultimate door but as part of Valkyrie, or removing it completely, I just want rid of the current version of Rez. It is not balanced, and all the whilst it’s a standard ability with a standard cooldown I do not think it will be.
Second, I want Valkyrie to be reworked in a way that incentivises Mercy to be in the middle of the fight. Never has there been a voice line as appropriate as ”I will watch over you”. That’s all you currently do in Valkyrie: become a spectator for 15 seconds.
And finally, I want whatever ends up as her ultimate to actually feel powerful. Something that can actually be wasted with poor use, but can swing a team fight in your favour if used well. Every other ultimate does this currently, even Orisa’s Supercharger, but Valkyrie does not. In short, I want Mercy players to be rewarded when they take risks. A “high risk/skill, high reward” ideology is a great one to have when creating a video game, and it’s I feel why in spite of his win/pick rates Doomfist is one of the most loved characters. I intend to post a thread similar to Titanium’s “Let’s fix everything” thread based around that ideology, but that will take weeks of writing. This post is the first one I haven’t written on the fly and has taken me 4 days and 6 pages of writing to reach this point.

Thus ends my argument. Jeff, if you do read this, however unlikely that is, I politely ask that you at least acknowledge this threads’ existence. In the recent developer update you said that balancing changes revolve around 3 things: Statistics, Public opinion, and the Developer 6th sense. You also said that if 2 parts conflict with the 3rd, you will look into why they conflict. In this thread I provided examples of both statistics and public opinion suggesting Mercy isn’t balanced, so now it’s up to you guys.

To the forum mods: I know you’re locking threads that mention Mercy’s balance, but I request that you please leave this be. Even if it’s just for 24 hours, I want there to be that faint chance of Jeff replying, and instalocking it removes that chance. Thank you.
Over 2600 words. This is a 10 page essay. 20 page if you go by the double space requirement in most universities and colleges. Now that is dedication.
02/12/2018 03:13 PMPosted by Elyssa
Over 2600 words. This is a 10 page essay. 20 page if you go by the double space requirement in most universities and colleges. Now that is dedication.

All of that and I'll just say: Mercy is fine. Maybe a few little buffs to help Valkyrie (it's kinda pointless right now) but she's finally on a nice place compared to other supports.
I don't think we are allowed to call specific blizzard team employees in the title, so i would edit that if i were you.
You cannot call out Blizzard employees by name in the title or the topic. You're in clear violations of the rules.
02/12/2018 03:35 PMPosted by soireal
I don't think we are allowed to call specific blizzard team employees in the title, so i would edit that if i were you.
Good point, edited it so it doesn't mention any names now.
02/12/2018 03:38 PMPosted by Bendubz11
02/12/2018 03:35 PMPosted by soireal
I don't think we are allowed to call specific blizzard team employees in the title, so i would edit that if i were you.
Good point, edited it so it doesn't mention any names now.
No problem,
Wouldn't normally bump my own post, but this is one that I put a lot of time and effort into so I'm not going to let it die easily
Jeffs got better things to do
Very sensible arguments. I felt defensive reading your opening lines but as I got further, I noticed you took into consideration the issues that most Mercy players have discussed which we feel has been ignored by most players for the longest time, all while keeping the issues most players have formed against the hero. I do hope the development team reads this. Best of luck!
I would love to hear a response on this. One of the worst feelings in Overwatch is that my character feels so much worse to play than she used to, and that my concerns and feedback feel unheard. Excellent post!
What well thought out, polite, sensible feedback with stats and references to back it up.

Sadly, you made a very common mistake: You posted it on the Blizzard feedback forums, the last place Blizzard goes to for feedback.

I would suggest becoming a semi-famous streamer or youtuber. That'll get you their ears real quick. If that's not possible, maybe try Reddit.

Forum Moderator Note: I’m going to lock this thread. However, we encourage to continue sharing your feedback on the changes for Mercy in this topic. This is in an effort to consolidate feedback for our team.

To clarify, there is a lot of really in-depth feedback in this thread! The thread wasn't locked due to the quality of it. However, it defeats the point of consolidating feedback in a Megathread - which is to collect feedback in one place so that it can be reviewed - if a new thread is created. Feedback is far more likely to be read in the megathread, simply because it's collected in one place rather than scattered across dozens or hundreds of pages.

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