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Overwatch 2 chief says controversial self-heal will be part of larger package of changes

Aaron Keller clarifies issue after fan confusion
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Blizzard announced a massive change for Overwatch 2 Season 9 last week with the introduction of self-healing for heroes of the Tank and Damage classes, a toned-down version of the ability of the Support class. This immediately proved to be a controversial decision. Some users declared that Support heroes would become useless now, others saw the change as Overwatch 2 being transformed into a regular shooter like Call of Duty.

Aaron Keller, the game director for Overwatch 2, has responded to these player reactions in a bid to calm everyone down: “Clarifying a few things with the self-heal. It's one part of a much larger set of changes coming to the game in S9. Internally we're talking about, and targeting some of these changes at damage spikiness in game, the role of DPS in securing kills, and the strength of healing.”

Reinhardt in Overwatch 2.

Grizzled OW veterans have been through many changes, but that doesn't keep them from complaining.

The update for Overwatch 2 coming with Season 9 will contain a large package of adjustments, which was alluded to in the initial blog post revealing the self-heal change, but obviously wasn’t made clear enough to avoid outrage – a communication mistake the game director admitted.

“It was a mistake to talk about this lone change out of context, since it's a part of a much bigger set coming to Season 9. Sorry for that, and I look forward to more discussion around S9 balance changes when we drop more details,” Keller wrote.

Blizzard reasoned that the self-heal change will “give non-Support players more options in terms of sustaining themselves. It should also take some of the pressure off Support players to keep everyone alive since individual players now have more control of their own health pool.”

Another aspect is that of how powerful teamwork should be. Obviously, the hero shooter is at its core a team-based game, but most people will probably play a majority of their matches with a random group of fellow players – and, let’s be honest, teamwork does not always work without issues in that situation. Toning down its importance is a way of making playing with randoms a more enjoyable experience.

“In Overwatch, there is a constant tug of war between the power of a team and the power of an individual hero or player. A change like this shifts that balance a bit. This is something that we are constantly evaluating. We still want Overwatch to be defined by team strategy and mechanics, but we feel this can be pulled back a bit now and possibly more in the future,” Blizzard stated.

We’ll hear more about the complete package of planned changes closer to the start of Season 9.