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Overwatch 2 director apologizes for the way self-healing heroes in Season 9 was announced: 'It was a mistake to talk about this lone change out of context'

 Close up of Overwatch 2's Mercy on white background.
Close up of Overwatch 2's Mercy on white background.

Overwatch 2 game director Aaron Keller has apologized for last week's announcement of upcoming changes that will grant every tank and DPS hero a self-healing ability, saying that there's a whole host of changes coming to the game in season 9 and talking about this one out of context "was a mistake."

The upcoming addition of self-healing for tank and DPS heroes represents a genuine sea change for Overwatch 2. Associate editor and Overwatch knower Tyler Colp said Blizzard is "taking a sledgehammer to the way Overwatch 2 is played," calling the new passive ability "the first explicit step toward untethering support players from focusing on their team, an essential reason why anyone would want to play the role in the first place."

"Overwatch used to celebrate teamwork and now it's a nasty little burden that every balance change and hero release seems targeted to alleviate," Colp wrote. "By minimizing the opportunities for support to step in, the distinction between all three roles blurs and the web that holds a team together dissolves with it. Instead of an arena for balletic expressions of teamwork, changes like this flatten Overwatch into a cartoony firing range."

Keller's subsequent apology isn't for the planned addition of self-healing, but for the way it was revealed. "Clarifying a few things with the self-heal," Keller tweeted. "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.

"It was a mistake to talk about this lone change out of context, since its 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."

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. It was a mistake to talk about this lone change out of context, since its 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.

(Image credit: Aaron Keller (Twitter))

The implication is that the addition of self-healing for everyone, which has not gone over well with an awful lot of players on Reddit and the Blizzard forums, will make more sense when considered alongside everything else Blizzard has coming in the new season. Of course that's impossible to judge until it's all revealed, but there's also no overlooking that this means the addition of a universal self-healing passive—which is undeniably a very big change to the game—is just one part of an even bigger overhaul coming to Overwatch 2 than we expected.

It will be very interesting to see how the Overwatch 2 player base reacts to that full raft of changes once it's detailed. For now, the response to Keller's tweet is mixed: Some players hold out hope that the new season will revitalize the game but quite a few others remain skeptical, a feeling likely reinforced by the recent introduction of the tank hero Mauga, who in the words of Tyler Colp "single-handedly ruined games for matches of all skill levels" until he was heavily nerfed.

There's no word on when the rest of the changes coming to Overwatch 2 in season 9 will be revealed, but given the current state of player unhappiness, I expect we'll see something soon.