Just two weeks after launching in Overwatch 2’s fourth season, Lifeweaver is getting a pretty significant update to make him more viable as a support hero.
Shortly after Blizzard added the Thai, pansexual, plant-based hero, many players (myself included) recognized Lifeweaver was a pretty ineffective healer. Not that every support character needs to be Baptiste or Moira, mind you. Most people don’t complain too much about Zenyatta’s lack of healing output because he’s pretty good at popping heads. But Lifeweaver’s utility wasn’t quite balancing out his lack of big healing plays. So the team has confirmed some of his numbers are going up on April 25. Lead hero designer Alec Dawson posted the changes on his personal Twitter account, breaking down each change the team will make in the next update.
Healing Blossom (a healing projectile that locks onto teammates)
- Ammo up to 20 (from 12)
- Slow during charge now kicks in 1 second after fully charging
Thorn Volley (alternate fire that deals damage)
Tree of Life (ultimate ability that raises a tree on the map that heals teammates in its proximity)
- Health up to 1200 (from 1000)
- Per pulse healing up to 75 (from 50)
Parting Gift (a passive ability that leaves a healing flower on the map where Lifeweaver dies)
Ultimately, his main healing ability, Healing Blossom, isn’t getting a major buff in terms of numbers, but Lifeweaver can now throw more of his 65-point healing flowers before he has to reload, going from 12 uses to 20. The team has also shifted around the slowing effect that the ability has on Lifeweaver. Right now, the hero’s movement slows while he charges up Healing Blossom, which obviously leaves him open to enemy fire. Now, the slow effect won’t start until after the ability is fully charged. This should hopefully make it easier to get into position to heal a teammate without having to give up movement speed right as you start charging. Hearing this gives Lifeweaver only a second of normal movement might not sound like much, but Overwatch 2 is a game defined in split-second plays, so it does matter.
Healing Blossom may have gotten a significant buff, but those who were unhappy with the original (still pretty low) healing number of 65 HP will likely not be satisfied with this change. The numbers that did go up, however, were in his ultimate ability Tree of Life. With this, Lifeweaver raises a tree on the map that releases healing pulses within a small radius. It’s not an immediate life-saving ultimate ability like Lucio’s Sound Barrier or Zenyatta’s Transcendence, but it’s got some respectable healing power and can act as cover. Now, it’s better at both of those things, because the update will give it 200 more health on its own, allowing it to take more shots before it’s destroyed, and each healing pulse it emits will heal surrounding teammates by 75 points rather than 50. It’s still not quite as effective as Transcendence, but hopefully, this can help offset the potential damage taken to make it a more useful defensive ability.
For me, one of the most exciting changes is to Lifeweaver’s alternate fire Thorn Volley. This rapid-fire projectile is evocative of something like the Needler in Halo, but right now, it has a pretty significant spread that makes it more useful at close range. But it sounds like the plan is to tighten the spread so it’s more accurate. Despite being a support character, Lifeweaver can deal some pretty significant damage with this ability. So this will be helpful in allowing him some damage, whether that be to dissuade pursuers or to get a kill or two.
The one debuff Dawson lists here is the team is removing Lifeweaver’s passive ability Parting Gift. Originally, when Lifeweaver was killed by an enemy, he would drop a healing flower another player could pick up. While it would heal allies more than enemies, it did give the character a semblance of strategy when it came to where on the map you died. If you found yourself in a bad situation, could you reach a place where a teammate would be more likely to pick up the flower than an enemy? It made it important to keep your distance as Lifeweaver, so that even if a Widowmaker sniped you in the backline, you wouldn’t be giving your enemy team a helpful item. Now, it seems like Blizzard has just opted to cut that entirely. Sorry to Parting Gift fans. Parting is such sweet sorrow.
On top of these changes, the Overwatch 2 team is also looking to mitigate some frustrations players have had with Lifeweaver’s extensive kit and its button mapping. Speaking as a console player, the main issue I’ve had with playing Lifeweaver is that Thorn Volley has been mapped like an alternate weapon in the default button layout. This means that you have to press right on the d-pad to switch to Lifeweaver’s only offensive ability, and when all his other utility is mapped to the triggers, it means I’m constantly using claw grip to use all of Lifeweaver’s moves. Director Aaron Keller posted about a new default control scheme for the hero on his Twitter, while also making clear the one Lifeweaver launched with will still be available for those who have already gotten used to it.
These kinds of controller snafus have always been a problem that peripherals like the DualSense Edge and Xbox Elite Controller are trying to offset, in that, sometimes the controller we’ve been given doesn’t always accommodate every experience. So hopefully these changes will help those who have had a frustrating time using all of Lifeweaver’s abilities. Personally, I’m pretty much used to the first control scheme, so I might just keep using it unless the new one just feels immediately better. To be determined.
What Blizzard doesn’t address in all these changes is that Lifeweaver’s Life Grip ability still lets griefers pull teammates off the map—maybe next patch.