Lifeweaver has been in Overwatch 2 for just under a month, and already the plant-based support hero has had some pretty significant reworks in both his control scheme and abilities. Personally, I’ve had a much better experience with the character since his last update, but it sounds like Blizzard is planning more changes as it tries to figure out where the character should fit into its popular hero shooter.
In a new post on the Overwatch website, director Aaron Keller talked about the team’s mindset regarding Lifeweaver moving forward. While they’ve made some improvements to his healing output (he now has one of the higher ones in the game), the team says changes like tightening the spread on his offensive alt-fire Thorn Volley haven’t had much effect on his kill rate. On the bright side he also has one of the lowest death rates of any support hero, so I’m glad to hear you all took my advice and are keeping your distance from the fight.
All that said, Keller says the team is still looking to better figure out Lifeweaver’s intended role in the game, which is exactly what I’ve been trying to do since he joined the roster. Before Lifeweaver, Baptiste and Brigitte were my go-to support characters depending on my team’s makeup and the map type, but Lifeweaver feels like this very situational character that I mostly run just because he’s new, I like him as a character, and his kit is fun, rather than because his utility feels objectively better than the other options.
His abilities—like Petal Platform, which raises a player to high ground, or the controversial Life Grip, which pulls an ally to Lifeweaver’s position—are best used within a coordinated team. The trouble is, most randos online don’t understand or don’t care about how they can create effective plays, and it feels like most just want support players to act as heal bots, rather than leaning into more varied support abilities. It feels like my teammates, and sometimes myself, don’t know how to coordinate around Lifeweaver, so I can see why Blizzard hopes to make his ideal role clearer in Season 5.
When it comes to future changes for Lifeweaver, here’s what we are thinking. We want it to be clearer why players may select Lifeweaver over other heroes. If your current hero pick isn’t working for some reason (whether it be the map or enemy team comp), what’s a strong incentive for swapping to Lifeweaver? We may make other changes along the way, such as lightly buffing his Thorn Volley and reducing hit volumes, but ultimately, we’ll have changes targeted at further pronouncing Lifeweaver’s strengths and clearly defining his role on your team. This could be leaning harder into his healing effectiveness through a new passive or bringing additional benefits to some of his utility-focused abilities. With a defensive-based hero, we have to be careful how far we go in terms of buffing raw healing and defensive abilities - too far can negatively disrupt the overall flow of an engagement. These are some of the early things we’re iterating through, hope to have our next set of changes ready for Season 5.
Even when Lifeweaver first debuted, I figured he would be a character that would evolve a great deal over time, similar to Symmetra, whose moveset has changed more than once since she debuted at the original Overwatch’s launch. As someone who’s already put over a dozen hours into Lifeweaver, I’m hopeful whatever changes come will help him be the effective support character everyone wants him to be, as Overwatch 2’s beleaguered support players could really use some wins.
More from Kotaku