After a week of number crunching and a bachelor’s degree in Excel, here are the results of the Mercy Survey I conducted a while back.
(Note: I am still working on this, particularly on the actual written portions, which is why you won’t see much of that mentioned here. I didn’t want to make you guys wait longer than necessary, so this thread is to get you guys the main results as well as just get the public CSV out there.
I’ll also say this here and at the end. If you’re interested in something that I didn’t cover, let me know and I can crunch the numbers and throw them into this post down the line.)
About the Survey (If nothing else, PLEASE read this)
From the beginning, it was never my intention to say “This is the opinion of the entire Overwatch community!” and take these numbers as unquestionable fact.
Do I expect this to get used by the devs as a basis of their balancing? No. This in no way is a comprehensive study of the playerbase, and they no doubt have more data than I can even dream of. (I do hope to see more use of the forum’s built in poll feature from Blizzard staff, though. That’d be nice.)
But one thing that always bugged me about these forums is that whoever is the loudest is taken to be the majority. The number of unique people didn’t matter, the number of posts saying the same thing did. It’s why you always see people write off quantity arguments as little more than “the vocal minority”. Doesn’t matter if you’re alone, you can still make it seem like you have an army behind you if you’re loud enough.
But now we actually have a basis to actually look at the local community with. I frequent the forums a fair bit, and when looking through the responses, I saw a ton of names I didn’t recognize, while, of course, only seeing the more popular names only once. Here, everyone had an equal say, no single person can drown out the opinion of the others.
So when I say that “61% of players don’t find her enjoyable” that’s not me just exaggerating to prove a point, and it’s not the same person spamming their opinion over and over again, hoping that if they say it enough, it’ll become truth. It’s literally 61% of those around at the time who care enough to give me their opinion actually agreeing on the same point.
This is also helpful for weeding out common stereotypes and misconceptions that seem to constantly plague Mercy discussions among those who are indeed vocal.
“Are the only people who enjoy Mercy ones who never play her?”
No. Two out of every five Mercy mains still find her enjoyable, and of those who claim to enjoy her now, roughly half of them enjoyed her with Mass Res as well, so that’s a non-factor.
“Do all DPS mains want her to be garbage while Mercy mains want her OP?”
No. The spread of DPS mains’ opinion almost exactly matches the that of Mercy mains’. As does the Tank mains’. As does the Non-Mercy Support mains’. The only big difference between any of them is that Mercy mains are more likely to prefer a Revert, and almost no Mercy mains want her to be left completely alone.
“All Mercy mains just want Mass Res back and refuse to compromise!”
No. It’s almost a perfect 50/50 split among Mercy mains. Most of those that do specifically want nerfs along with it. Those that don’t are offering tons of unique ideas and reasoning.
Also, I should mention:
If you feel that the results are heavily skewed by Mercy mains, then simply look at the results that are only about Mercy mains, then talk about it in that context. It’s why I split it up. Looking at the overall average and the overall alone does the data a huge injustice. At the very least you can see how their opinion seems to compare to everyone else’s.
Before we begin, a few disclaimers (Yes, it's a lot to read)
- These numbers aren’t necessarily reflexive of the entire playerbase. For example, I don’t really believe that 40% of all players are Mercy mains, whereas the second most played hero only comes in at 8% (D.Va, if you were wondering). Obviously Mercy mains are much more likely to respond than others, so this survey will be slightly skewed towards them if we just look at everything overall.
- Even with a skew, this survey still gives us a decent idea of what people think and where they’re coming from. Just to be sure, I ran different sets of numbers separately so we not only get the overarching opinion, but the opinions of Mercy Mains, the opinions of Support players, etc. If there’s a huge difference between groups, then we know that at least one side is being biased, which in and of itself is useful to know.
- As I was watching the responses update live, I can say that, for the most part, the numbers were pretty consistent throughout. But it’s important to note that there was a small shift, as both the number of Mercy mains and those who want Mass Res back both went up by ~3% pretty fast at around the same time this survey was starting to be shared around on other platforms/sites.
However, after that initial jump, the numbers stabilized again just as quickly, and didn’t swing around much despite another 1000 submissions coming in afterwards. What this tells me is even though there was a slight initial skew, we still had enough users of differing opinions to balance things out.
It gets to the point where it’s not a skew anymore, it’s just a general consensus of those participating. I’m only mentioning this because this jump was brought to my attention as I was running the survey, and I assure you, it wasn’t as bad as you might think.
- The last question was for participants to leave their gamer tag for me to know that what they said was reliable, which roughly 67.5% of all participants did. After looking at all the numbers both with and without the “unreliable” posts, I can safely say that the numbers percentage wise were almost identical to each other (as in literally just a single percent off most of the time). The grand idea is still pretty strong, and, as such, I’ll just be sharing the overall data here to keep things simple. If you really want, I can still go through the named responses as well, though.
- Some questions were admittedly confusing. For example, when I asked if you enjoy Mercy, I had 2 options for No: both a “but I used to” and simply a straight up “No”. I intended the latter option for those who never found her fun to select. But after 104 people claimed to main Mercy while also choosing this “I never did enjoy her” option, it’s a little obvious that the question wasn’t too clear for one reason or another. For those “Mercy mains that never liked Mercy” I’m just counting them under “No, but I used to” instead.
About the actual numbers and people
2709 people initially responded. Even after trimming out some repeats, clarifications, and ineviteble trolls, I still have 2680 “clean” replies to use.
As far as demographics go, I’ll be lumping people into specific categories (Yes there is overlap. This is simply to get a general idea of what type of players are saying what. Also note that the demographic questions were completely optional. If there’s a gap in the numbers, it’s because some people left some parts blank).
- Support Players – Those who consider themselves capable of flexing onto the support role – 90.5% of participants
- Non – Support Players – Those who don’t regularly play support – 9.0% of participants
- Support Mains – Those who main a Support hero in particular – 62.5% of participants
- Mercy Mains – Those who identify themselves as Mercy mains in particular - 42.2% of participants
- Non – Mercy Support Mains – Those who main a support hero that isn’t Mercy (ie. Ana, Brigitte, Lucio, Moira, and Zen mains) - 20.2% of participants
And now that all the clarification’s out of the way, we can move on to what people want to actually know
Do people enjoy Mercy?
Overall, 61.9% of all participants do not enjoy playing Mercy as she currently is for one reason or another. This includes…
- 57.9% of Non – Support Players
- 49.3% of Support Players
- 60.9% of Support Mains
- 57.9% of Mercy Mains
- 67.7% of Non-Mercy Support Mains
It’s also worth mentioning that there’s a popular mindset going around that goes along the lines of “If you enjoy her currently, then you simply don’t play her, and thus don’t know what you’re talking about.” To go off of that, of the remaining 38.1% of the total participants who said that they still find her enjoyable…
- 81.1% claim to generally find Mercy enjoyable to play, regardless of balance
- 66.6% have over 50 hours on her
- 56.1% said both.
In general, most of those who are saying she’s still fun not only actually say they play her, but have the hours to back it up as well. They simply find fun in a different way than others do, which is to be expected when talking about such a subjective subject.
Anyways, a total of 81.0% of all participants also found her more enjoyable in some previous iteration, regardless of their answer before. This includes…
- 46.1% of Non – Support Players
- 79.6%% of Support Players
- 72.5% of Support Mains
- 72.7% of Non-Mercy Support Mains
- 96.0% of Mercy mains
Now, that last one is probably just going to be written off as “Oh Mercy players want her to be OP again.” Just remember that people were complaining about her being unenjoyable while she had a 100% pickrate across the board. It’s not as simple as strength = fun.
Either way, when you ask over 1100 people such a subjective question, and the response is almost completely unanimous on the negative side, it starts to make you wonder if maybe something actually does need to be changed.
Which brings me to my next point…
Where do we go from here?
- 7.1% of players would like to leave her alone for now
- 0.07% of participants feel she deserves a Nerf.
- 17.4% want a simple, flat Buff
- 31.6% want a Rework of some form
- 43.8% of players want some form of Revert to Mass Res (with or without tweaks)
Now, the actual bulk of how to go about it differs from person to person. But in general, over 92% of participants feel she needs to be changed in some direction, while 75% of all participants feel she needs some form of ability revamp, be it her E, Ult, or both (I don’t believe I saw anyone suggesting GA get changed/replaced).
But maybe the overall is a bit biased. Let’s separate Mercy mains from the rest of the group.
As far as Mercy mains are concerned…
- 2.6% want to leave her as-is
- 0% want a Nerf
- 16.0% want a flat Buff
- 31.3% want a full on Rework
- 50.2% want to revert back to Mass Res (with or without tweaks)
And the rest (those who don’t main Mercy)…
- 10.6% want to leave her as-is
- 0.13% want a Nerf
- 18.0% want a flat Buff
- 31.7% want a full on Rework
- 39.4% want a revert to Mass Res
Hell, I even did for Non-Mercy Support Mains just to double check…
- 9.8% want to leave her as-is
- 0% want a Nerf
- 18.3% want a flat Buff
- 38.7% want a full on Rework
- 33.0% want a revert back to Mass Res (with or without tweaks)
I was also asked to look into DPS and Tank mains so…
- 12.0% said they want to leave her as-is
- 0.36% said they want a Nerf
- 15.5% said they want a Buff
- 27.7% said they want a Rework
- 44.4% said they want a Revert to Mass Res
- 9.7% said to leave her as-is
- 0% said they want a Nerf
- 21.2% said they want a Buff
- 28.0% said they want a Rework
- 41.1% said they want a Revert to Mass Res
Both Tank and DPS mains
- 11.0% said to leave her as-is
- 0.2% said they want a Nerf
- 17.9% said they want a Buff
- 27.8% said they want a Rework
- 43.0% said they want a Revert to Mass Res
The only two differences major differences I see are thus:
- More Mercy mains want Mass Res than Non-Mercy mains
- Almost no Mercy mains want her to be kept as is, whereas, for the rest, 1 in 10 on average want her to to be left alone.
It’s also worth noting that I asked a question about what do/did/don’t you like about Mercy, with the option to choose as many as you like. The first thing to pop out to me was that the single most popular answer was players enjoyed her at 60 HPS, while the least popular was 50 HPS.
To give you an idea, overall, 71.0% of all participants said they liked and miss her old 60 HPS, while only 5.3% of participants said they like her current 50 HPS as “Strong heals”.
Here's a breakdown on the more specific general demographics
Among those who don’t like her currently
- 73.7% said they liked 60 HPS, while 1.6% said they like her current 50 HPS
Among those who do like her currently
- 66.6% said 60 HPS, while 11.2% said 50.
Among those who liked her more before than now
- 85.7% said 60 HPS while 3.2% said 50.
Non – Support Players
- 34.3% said 60, while 6.3% said 50
- 74.2% said 60, while 5.1% said 50.
Non-Mercy Support mains
- 66.1% said 60, while 5.5% said 50
- 81.2% said 60, while 3.7% said 50
At this point I feel comfortable saying the number one priority people want right now is stronger heals. Regardless of if you think it should be buffed to 60 or should meet in a middle ground, or even rework a different healing ability into her kit, it’s safe to say most people find her single 50 HPS heal beam alone honestly isn’t cutting it.
These are mostly just random observations that I’ve been finding. This section won’t be as orderly as above, mostly because I’m not quite sure how to work them into a coherent section, so I’m just leaving them as footnotes for conversation if you so please.
Just know that since the results as a whole are still a work in progress (particularly the written portion) most of these are subject to change as I get more free time to look through them, so I really don’t want to make a concrete claim then prove myself wrong down the line, after everyone’s already spread it as “truth”.
Also, note that all suggestions are strictly based off of what the user said. It’s safe to assume all of these numbers are realistically higher, as many people only said what they prefer and not what they’d be fine with.
(As an example, a popular idea is bringing back Mass Res with a LoS restriction. If you simply said to “bring back Mass Res with tweaks” then you wouldn’t be marked down as wanting LoS, regardless of your actual opinion on that particular tweak, simply because that’d be an assumption on my part)
Anyways, based off of what I’ve looked through so far, it seems that…
- 65.6% of suggestions want Res to be restricted to Mercy’s Ultimate (be it via restricting it to Valk only, reverting back to Mass Res, or some various new idea)
- 15.0% of suggestions say they’d be fine with getting rid of Res all together.
- 25.0% specifically stated that they want a flat healing buff, 66.3% of which would like to see it back at 60 HPS.
- Missing Mass Res is the #1 most common primary reason as to why people have their current opinion on current Mercy, coming in at 22.2% ( This includes 27.4% of Mercy mains)
- Missing her old 60 HPS takes second place, coming in at 21.7% (This includes 23.1% of Mercy mains)
- Third place goes to people enjoying Guardian Angel, making up 9.2% of the overall vote, and 10.8% of Mercy mains
- Multiple people brought up their interest in Titanium’s and EeveeA’s suggestions for Mercy. Definitely worth checking those out if you haven’t already.
I’m going to leave it there for now. Like I said, I plan on looking at it more as free time comes, but this way you at least have the basics. I also wanted to get this out before the next PTR patch, which, judging by Jeff’s post, is likely to be this week, if not tomorrow.
If you’re curious, you can find a Google Sheet of the full, cleaned up CSV here. (Read only, of course. You can still download it if you want to mess with it, however)
If you have any questions or concerns about the results, or have an idea for me to look more into, feel free to leave them.
Thanks again to all who participated, and happy gaming.