Blizzard knew two things going in with Moira: She needed to be a healer, and she needed to be a villain.
“If you look at the roster for Overwatch, it has these amazing heroes but not really a whole lot of villains, ” Blizzard designer Scott Mercer said in a post-BlizzCon interview.
“I think to really tell a lot of great stories, it isn’t just about the heroes. You need to have these great villains for them to face off against. So [Moira’s] a healer, she’s a villain, she’s somebody in Talon. “
As Blizzard’s animated origin story tells it, Moira is a geneticist. Ethics do not concern her, only results. At one point she worked with the Overwatch team, on their covert ops Blackwatch squad, but eventually left when she felt the team’s ethical boundaries getting in the way of her work.
“Now that she’s working with Talon she can really just concentrate on what’s essential, and that’s the end result, ” Mercer said. “She really wants to get to the truth of it all and she’s not likely to let anything get in her way. “
While the addition of Moira does open up new storytelling possibilities down the road for Blizzard, she’s also a new hero for the competitive Overwatch roster. Specifically, she shakes up the support pool of healers with abilities that complement those of the other healers.
First, consider the current lineup. Mercy excels at single-target healing and damage buffs, and â? thanks to her wings â? providing aid quickly to those who require it. Zenyatta brings the same single-target benefits, but operates better from afar. Ana, with her scoped rifle, shares that all-range capability, with abilities that cater more to speedy heals and counter-flanks. Finally, there’s LÃºcio, who heals slowly but has movement speed and area-of-effect heals on his side.
Moira draws different facets from all of these heroes, but the result is something very different. Take her main ability, Biotic Grasp.
“When she unleashes this biotic spray, it’s an area of effect therefore it can actually hit multiple heroes simultaneously, ” Mercer said. “It’s great healing in a burst-y way, and we think she can really get into the center of a team fight and assist heal her team in a more powerful way, over a shorter period of time compared to LÃºcio. “
There’s a catch, however: Biotic Grasp is limited by a resource meter. The longer you use it in the sustained blast, the more biotic power you drain. That meter recharges over time, very slowly, but Moira can speed things along simply by turning to the damage-dealing version associated with her Biotic Grasp.
“It gives her some health and furthermore she turns that into biotic energy, which helps fuel the particular healing, ” Mercer said. “So there’s this nice cycle involving the two modes. “
“We certainly wanted her to [deliver] impactful healing over a very short period of your time, ” he added.
Moira’s Biotic Orb has similar heal-or-hurt capabilities, but it’s more of the long-range option â? with an uncommon caveat. When you fire the orb, it travels along a directly line until it comes into connection with a floor, ceiling, or wall, where point it ricochets in an additional direction.
“There’s a lot of actually clever things you can do with [Biotic Orb]. This travels at a pretty fast acceleration, but as it passes by whether friendly target or an foe target, it actually slows down, inch Mercer said.
“So among the cool things you can do if you’re trying to recover your team: You can aim at the team but also make sure there’s a walls past them for the orb in order to reflect back. And then it fundamentally it runs into your team once again and heals a bunch more. “
In this way, Moira combines the girls heal capabilities of LÃºcio using the faster-paced health restoration of an Ana or a Mercy. But she’s furthermore able to get around relatively quickly, because of Fade, which basically allows the girl to teleport short distances.
“Fade is an amazing mobility device, and it’s not just about escape, inch Mercer said. “[So] if you really should re-position to heal a couple those who are trying to execute a flank, you can proceed over to them pretty quickly then start healing them with the squirt. “
Moira’s Ultimate, Coalescence, is perhaps her most unusual capability. She releases a concentrated flow of biotic energy that cures any allies it touches plus hurts any enemy. Her damage-dealing isn’t fast enough to eliminate an enemy team on its own, however it does enjoy the unique benefit of disregarding all barriers, including Reinhardt, Orisa, and Symmetra shields.
“[Coalescence] is a lot of fun to use since you’re trying to line up your teammates and the enemies at the same time, ” Mercer said. “The way that it fundamentally goes through everything, even barriers, implies that normal ways of protecting against damage no longer work with this particular Ultimate. “
In many ways, Moira’s villainhood educated the shape of her abilities. The particular Overwatch team knew going in which they were dealing with a Talon associate, and having that background for the character influenced their brainstorming in the deliberate way.
“Because she is a villain we immediately began exploring ideas [like] what if the lady drains health from her foes to give to her friends? That appears a much more evil way to go about recovery than someone like Mercy, inch Mercer said.
Moira’s recovery spray is distinct from the various other primary heal abilities in Overwatch, but it’s the drain capability which makes it perfect for her as a character. In addition evil than a health-sapping energy vampire? Â
Then, having that drain turn around plus empower Moira’s healing spray developed push-pull consideration with the character that will helped to distinguish her from the remaining support lineup.
“That interaction between the two [Biotic Grasp abilities] and the source management, I think, was very clear in order to us as something we desired to keep for this character. “
The Biotic Orb, on the other hand, has the roots elsewhere. Â
“That was obviously a mechanic that we were playing with for the different prototype, ” Mercer stated. “We set that prototype apart… but we really liked the way the fact that healing orb worked. “
As the team played around along with giving the orb alongside Moira’s other abilities, it just match. It gave her something the girl was missing â? long-range features â? but in an ability which is completely unlike anything else that’s been put into Overwatch thus far.
That’s almost all part of Blizzard’s creative process, as well as a big reason you don’t hear a lot about new heroes until these kinds of are basically finished.
“A lots of times when we’re developing heroes, [we] come up with idea for a mechanic that will sometimes doesn’t fit with the leading man we’re working on, ” Mercer stated. “But then we’ll shelve this and come back to it later. Therefore we’ve always got a lot of things within play, in terms of ideas and options. “