Overmix: Taste the Back of My Crystal Fist

Okay, brief backstory: my buddy @Ventain on Twitter decided to run a contest for folks to design their own heroes for Overwatch. Since I’d just spent a bunch of brainspace trying to suss out who the next hero was going to be based on the trickles of information during a brief social media campaign, my creative juices were flowing and I decided to submit. Another artist I follow, @Faebelina, entered as well, and tweeted out her entry, and because I really like this hobby of critiquing OW hero designs from a gameplay standpoint, I asked Faeb if I could post my thoughts up here.

So let’s get started!

Artwork and design credit: @Faebelina

Basics:

  • Role: Support (Healer)
  • Shard Projectiles: Mira shoots shards from her crystal gauntlet that damage enemies.
  • Healing Aura: Mira’s crystal gauntlet heals allies in a cone in front of her.
  • Crystal Traps: Mira places a crystal trap that effects a small area, healing allies and slowing enemies (3 charges).
  • Diamond Skin: In difficult situations, Mira can coat herself in a shield of diamond to escape, making her immune to damage but also preventing her from using any other abilities.
  • (Ultimate) Prismatic Shield: Mira drops a large crystal creating a prismatic barrier reflecting incoming damage back to enemies for 4 seconds.

Review:

Shard Projectiles: Because of the range Mira will be sitting at, and because she doesn’t have any movement abilities, I’m initially thinking that Mira’s primary/secondary fire should allow her to have some ability to threaten targets at a distance. But when you consider that all of the other support-healers have got accurate long-distance threat abilities, there’s value in having a support-healer who is more dangerous up close, especially given her Diamond Skin escape.

So all that said, LMB feels like a crystal shot that fires a projectile similar to Mei’s alt-fire, but with less lead time, less accuracy, and faster reload. Since she will generally be facing her allies in order to heal them, she’s generally going to be spraying into the pack in order to get hits in. I imagine her having a fairly small clip and a moderate reload time, because the idea of her holding up that gauntlet and having it kinda accumulate energy that crystallizes around it sounds pretty awesome visually.

For her RMB, though, I really like the idea of it being a brutal punch with that crystal gauntlet that’s like shotgun damage at close range (consequently requiring her to reload more frequently). Her melee (Mouse4) would still be the slash with that crystal sliver in her left hand, but this RMB hit would just punish anyone who closes with her. Would really diversify her from other healer-supports (aside from Lucio’s boop).

Healing Aura: Depending on the dimensions of the cone, Mira is going to be a fairly mid-line support, which places her close to the pack (like Lucio) but generally not as close as Mercy or as far back as Ana (Zenyatta can be anywhere in LoS after he drops his orbs, so he’s a wildcard). Part of the challenge is going to be how well she can keep a moving pack healed when she needs to be aimed at her allies for her passive healing to work.

Crystal Traps: To an extent, I think you could drop the slow component and just amp up the healing aura around the trap. I say this because when you combine this trap with Symmetra’s turrets (which already slow a target) you’ve basically got a reason for allies to run into Symmetra’s turret nest to get healed (and draw in enemies looking for the kill who then get carwashed). What’s great about dropping these on the payload is that it’ll amp up the passive healing folks get from pushing the payload, which Mira would be sitting behind anyway for cover. It’s a perfect payload-focused build.

Diamond Skin: Part of me sees this as too similar to Reaper’s Wraith Form or Mei’s Ice Block, which makes me want to add a different component to it. Generally speaking, though, a Support who has a get-out-of-death-free card can be really sticky if she’s still got someone else around to heal when the effect ends. There’s probably a need to differentiate it more from Zenyatta’s ult, but it’s a great starting point for an ability. Off the cuff: shorten the immunity time frame, and give her an AoE damage explosion when the ability expires (b/c crystal shards are flying off of her). This doubles down on her being dangerous to have in melee range.

Prismatic Barrier: I love a damage-reflecting barrier, especially since it will straight-up murder folks like Roadhog, Reaper, or Pharah with big AoE damage ults that are hard to aim or cancel. I also love it because it’s a fresh mechanism and those are going to get harder to come by as more heroes get added to the game (though Orisa is a demonstration that you don’t need fresh mechanics to put together a hero, natch).

Assessment: 

Mira’s got a wonderful kit to complement her art. She fills a niche of a melee support hero who’s got some tools to survive toe-to-toe against other brawlers, and her ult punishes heroes who fire blindly into it. Drawbacks are that her only escape is Diamond Skin and her ult can whiff if people get wise to the damage reflection, and if her allies are too spread out then her healing is more limited than Lucio’s and she’s got no way to catch up to them.

Overall, that’s exactly the kind of rock/paper/scissors design that works in Overwatch as a game (aka “easy to learn, difficult to master”). This is one of the more grounded and reasonable designs I’ve seen for hero concepts so far, and you can’t beat the kind of heart that Faeb is able to instill in her artwork. So count me as being reasonably pleased with this design; if my own entry in this contest ends up not winning because Mira wins the prize, I ain’t even gonna be mad. ^_^

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