Overwatch 2: A Modest Defense of Lifeweaver

by: 
hello world!
Tyler Graham
| January 8, 2024
hello world!

I think I can say with a fair amount of confidence that Lifeweaver is one of the most controversial characters in Overwatch 2 (I mean, hey, what Support hero isn’t controversial to talk about now, amirite?) 

He launched in a pathetically weak and clunky state and was then given compensatory buffs and reworks that turned him into a veritable healing machine. He can pump out a little over 50 healing per second, accounting for the reload time on his blossoms. 

This means that Lifeweaver is often the primary target to take down during a team fight – he’s gone from an incredibly underwhelming hero to a hero who can consistently pump out some of the highest healing numbers in the game.

Now, it’s essential to keep in mind that Lifeweaver is a character in a hero shooter. Overwatch 2 is an FPS, a game where tactics and positioning are important, but mechanical skill and good aim are just as important to win the game. Lifeweaver is a character that caters far more to the tactical nature of Overwatch, and as such, he requires very little mechanical skill. 

If you’re an outsider to the Overwatch community, what you need to understand is that there’s a cadre of Overwatch players who are hell-bent on sowing derision and hatred for what they see as “low-skill heroes.” Generally, they’ll call for nerfs to these characters. A very die-hard group of players would like to see them entirely removed from the game.

Mercy, for example, is just as controversial as Lifeweaver, and for many of the same reasons. She derives her value from healing teammates and (more importantly) providing them with a 25% boost to their damage output. Any mechanical skill expression a Mercy player exhibits comes from their movement rather than their aim. Guardian Angel allows Mercy to slingshot herself around her team, making her a tough target to land shots on.

Poor Mercy got the brunt of everybody’s hatred until Lifeweaver was released. It’s ok… I love them both.

What’s important to note, however, is that Mercy does require an expression of skill – it’s just not the pinpoint accuracy needed to play a hero like Sojourn or Soldier: 76.

I think Mercy is a perfectly fine character to play, and I also think skilled Mercy players should be respected. There’s also a pervasive, inherent sexist attitude that many people have about Mercy, presuming that only women enjoy playing her… and that they should stay out of the boys’ game! 

That’s incredibly stupid, but I’m not qualified to write on the ins and outs of that, nor do I aim to! While I certainly had to make mention of that so community outsiders have a full and complete contextual understanding, it isn’t the matter at hand! The luxurious hardlight architect Niran is our subject matter for today, chums.

What I was trying to get at before I lost the plot for a second is this: Lifeweaver is a slippery target, just like Mercy is, but I still think there’s a certain level of skill expression inherent to the character’s playstyle. 

Lifeweaver players need to position themselves so that they can see their entire team but can’t get lasered down by enemy hitscan heroes. Furthermore, they need to prioritize healing certain teammates and make judgment calls when it’s not feasible to save two people during a fight. 

Do you save the other support to help keep the rest of the team standing? Or do you save a DPS hero that can help end the fight quicker and let the other support regroup for the next team fight? There’s a calculus to this decision that any support has to make, but Lifeweaver has such a strong healing output that players who enjoy this hero get very good at it.

It becomes even more apparent that Lifeweaver has very real skill expression when factoring in his most important utilities: his Life Grip and his Tree of Life. In addition to positioning himself to provide healing to teammates, a good Lifeweaver has to place himself in relative safety for a Life Grip save. If a teammate is about to die, the Life Grip grants them invulnerability for a couple seconds as they’re pulled to the Lifeweaver player.

Lifeweaver is great for using elevated positioning to scope out the battle from above, plucking out teammates in imminent danger!

Can this be frustrating to the enemy team? Yes, I’d imagine so. Life Grip is a very powerful ability that can rob the opposing team of an elimination. It’s also an ability on a 19-second cooldown, which is absolutely massive in a fast-paced game like Overwatch 2.

The Tree of Life is a bit of a different story. I can see why people get up in arms about this one. I mean, this thing charges up super quick, pulses out healing over the duration of its uptime, and provides the team with overhealth. It can also block the enemy team’s path in some niche situations.

I’m still going to defend this ultimate, though, because it has weaknesses and counterplay that I think make it more than fair. The tree itself starts with 1,200 health and degrades with time; that doesn’t stop the enemy team from blasting the ultimate and shredding it down faster. A Bastion turret or Roadhog ultimate essentially shut down Lifeweaver’s ultimate. 

Additionally, Ana’s Biotic Grenade can lock down the area if placed correctly, preventing the ultimate from having any effect at all. Hell, if the enemy team picks their targets together and does enough damage, it’s not impossible to make eliminations through the tree’s healing pulses, anyway.

Support is definitely an over-tuned role right now, but if we’re going to look at paring back the effectiveness of certain heroes, it’s Kiriko, Ana, and Baptiste who probably need the nerfs. 

Lifeweaver has high burst healing and plenty of mobility, but he has little in the way of defending himself or doing damage. In Overwatch 2, a game where it feels like Support heroes often need to keep pace with DPS heroes to provide adequate value, I think the state of Lifeweaver’s kit is more than fair.

Leave my fierce Thai boy alone, Blizzard. Or maybe even buff his Thorn Volley to have less spread. That’d be fabulous, I think.

What’s your opinion on the state of Support heroes in Overwatch 2? How about Lifeweaver? Let us know in the comments!

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