These two reasons can be summarized by “Hide and rez” and “Resurrect didn’t feel good to play against” . I will start with the latter of those two reasons, as it can be undermined and pulled apart in fewer words.
“Resurrect didn’t feel good to play against” . The first and most obvious question to ask at this point is, “What ultimate, when used to any benefit of the enemy team, is fun to play against?”
Last I checked, being blown up by Rocket Barrage, sliced apart by Dragonblade, frozen by Blizzard, denied by Transcendence, nuked by Self-Destruct, or knocked down by Earthshatter, does not feel good. This is a PvP game; “disheartening to play against”, “frustrating to play against”, or “unfun to play against” are a given for at least one team for part of each match, or the game wouldn’t be empowering for the other team… and thus, wouldn’t be enjoyable. Using this as a reason to change a balanced mechanic isn’t justifiable, unless the same can be said about every other ability in the game. Otherwise, it is simply a double-standard that reveals favoritism.
The second rhetorical question to ask is, “Does it feel better to play against a hero that has been a must-pick for nearly a year?”
Would you prefer to play against a character that resembles every other hero in that their ultimate is annoying to deal with, or would you rather play against a hero that is objectively overpowered, has been nearly a win condition for far too long, and still has an annoying ultimate?
Shall we dive into a bit of player perspective philosophy?
Unless the hero is a balance concern, Player 2’s perception of Player 1’s character isn’t relevant. It is given that Player 2’s perception of Player 1’s character is likely negative when playing against Player 1. On the other hand, Player 1’s perception of Player 1’s character is not a given in any videogame. For the videogame to be successful, Player 1’s perception of their own character, or how it feels to play their own character, needs to be positive. If that perception is negative, players will stop playing. As a result, Player 1’s experience with Player 1’s character is infinitely more important than Player 2’s perception of Player 1’s character.
In short, a player needs to feel empowered by their own actions. The player does not need to feel empowered, and in a PvP game, should not and will not feel empowered, by the actions of their opponents.
Player 1’s experience with Player 1’s character was breached and disregarded when Blizzard tried to make Player 2’s perception of Player 1’s hero positive… which they also failed to do. By attempting to change that which neither needed to be changed nor could be changed, the balance team tampered with something that should never be altered.
Moving onto “Hide and rez” …
“We think it’s wrong to tell a main-healing character to go off and hide somewhere and stop healing for some period of time.”
But it is fine for a main-damage character to go off and hide somewhere and stop dealing damage for some period of time, like many heroes currently do in preparation for an ultimate?
In actuality, you are right; just not for the reason you think you are. You are correct because hiding was maladaptive for the team’s chance of victory, and therefore was a bad way to play her. Allow me to explain this in an even more elaborate manner than my past few megaposts.
The success of a mass-Resurrection (4+ revived players) depended upon several factors:
- The Mercy’s ability to survive and execute the ability in the first place (the obvious one).
- The number of players alive on each team after the Resurrection.
- The number of available ultimates held by each team after the Resurrection (but primarily the enemy team).
- The shock value of Resurrect against the enemy (by far the most important factor for the post-rez fight).
The last factor is more important than the other two post-rez factors because it determines what other factors need to advantage the Mercy in order to have a good chance at a successful Resurrection. As the enemy team is given time to reorganize and fire their first attacks at the newly Resurrected team, they would already have a positioning advantage and the first shot… that is, if the team was expecting the Resurrection.
If the enemy team is expecting the Resurrection, they will have the post-rez advantages of the first shot and additional positioning time. Of course, this is a very bad situation to be in for the newly revived team, requiring some very strong advantages of their own to compensate and have a chance at winning the fight. In this case, they would need both the numbers advantage and the ultimate ability advantage.
If the enemy team isn’t expecting the Resurrection, then the Mercy could probably get by with either the numbers advantage or the ultimate advantage and still have a chance at winning, as the enemy team might not capitalize on their positioning and first shot opportunities as well as they should due to the shock value of Resurrect.
How does “Hide and rez” fit into all of this, you might ask? Hiding before the fight removes the possibility of having enough of those advantages against the enemy team in the post-rez fight, and therefore any chance of a victorious post-rez fight against any team of similar skill.
Hiding leaves the initial fight to a 5v6, the missing hero on the Mercy’s team being the main healer and primary source of sustain. Obviously, this is a huge advantage for the team of 6 in the first fight, allowing them to steamroll over Mercy’s team with likely zero casualties, and ultimate expenditures used only to counter any of the opposition’s ultimates. On top of this, the team of 6 also now collectively has 2000-3000 more ultimate charge from killing 5 players in addition to any healing dealt over the duration of that fight. Thus, it hands the ultimate ability advantage to the team opposing the Mercy.
The opposing team, assuming they are paying even the slightest attention to what is happening around them, would notice that the enemy is crumbling very easily for a supposed 6v6, raising suspicions as to whether or not the fight really is a 6v6, quickly leading to the realization that the enemy Mercy is missing from the fight. From this, only one conclusion could logically be drawn; she’s waiting to use Resurrect. There goes the ultimate’s shock value.
At this point, even if the team of 6 somehow managed to sustain 2 casualties in the initial fight, it won’t matter. If both teams entered the fight with the same number of ultimates, the team that does not have the hiding Mercy has at least two more ultimates than the other team (2000+ ultimate charge, Mercy’s team used Resurrect). One or two offensive ultimates is the absolute maximum a team needs to wipe a freshly-revived team when they are expecting the Resurrection, resulting in the revived team staring down the barrel of a gun they have no chance of avoiding.
In contrast, a Mercy who stays with her team keeps the fight at a 6v6, granting her team more sustain and forcing the enemy to expend ultimates to overpower them. Once the ultimates started firing, the mercy would distance themselves from the fight, evade, or take cover, laying down pistol fire or amplifying damage rather than attempting to heal those for whom healing would be useless. As a result, the enemy was less likely to realize that Mercy has Resurrect (the enemy was comparatively difficult to kill, removing the prompt to think about why they were crumbling easily in the first place), Mercy’s team was more likely to pick off a few enemies, and Mercy has successfully baited more ultimates from the enemy team. As a result, her team has more advantages and fewer disadvantages in the post-rez fight.
The only cost to staying with the team was an increased chance of being picked off before being able to revive the team, which just follows the same risk choice explained in the Resurrect section; if taking more controllable risks now helps to mitigate the high risk later, then taking those smaller risks now is safer than not in the long run.
Consequently, reviving a team after hiding typically resulted in a second wipe, while staying with the team until it was unsafe to do so was more likely to yield favorable results. That is why it was “wrong to tell a main-healing character to go off and hide somewhere” . It was a bad tactic, as it usually backfired.
Rather than letting the issue resolve itself by fixing the SR exploit that ultimately led to the tactic’s rise in the first place, the developers decided to remove Resurrect as an ultimate entirely. They changed the thing that wasn’t the problem, and ended up pissing off the playerbase.
Anyway, I’ve used this example many times before, but removing Resurrect as an ultimate because some players abandoned their team leading to a second wipe is equivalent to removing Rocket Barrage as an ultimate because Pharah players too often blew themselves up with it. There’s no need to intervene; the tactic will die out on its own, so long as the ranking system isn’t feeding it.
Ironically, the rework ended up only replacing one tactic of hiding with another. This time, however, the is no drawback to it, making the tactic beneficial. Valkyrie is best used by pressing Q and then flying the hell away, barely staying within beam range of the team. Doing this minimizes risk, but compromises no rewards. A Mercy playing closer to her team in Valkyrie is not helping her team any more than a Mercy 29 meters from her team, and is only exposing herself to enemy fire. Consequently, staying as far as possible from the fight for Valkyrie’s full duration is the way to go.