Blizzard Entertainment is gearing up for the release of their newest Overwatch 2 hero – Lifeweaver, the nature-loving Support character hailing from Thailand. He was announced via Twitter on 4 April, with a full breakdown of his abilities revealed soon after. In a recent interview with the team behind the new hero, GamesHub was able to deep dive into the creation of Lifeweaver, his abilities, and plans for Support heroes moving forward.
Lifeweaver’s ‘unconventional’ ability kit offers a high level of mobility and verticality, and a variety of abilities to assist allies and also hold your own. Overwatch 2 Lead Narrative Designer Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie says that the hero is likely to appeal to ‘all sorts of players all across the spectrum,’ due to being accessible to new players with features like his auto-aim. Despite being new-player friendly, Jurgens-Fyhrie says Lifeweaver players will also have ‘so much to master…and so much to learn’ due to his unique ability loadout.
Extensive playtesting appears to have gone into the creation of Lifeweaver, a likely much-welcomed move given previous new heroes like Kiriko have been subject to balancing patches soon after release.
Touching on concerns that the new character’s Life Grip ability – which pulls an ally towards you while protecting them from damage – could be used to grief allies through means like pulling them off of ledges, the Overwatch 2 team was confident that the work done prior to Lifeweaver’s release would be enough to ensure this didn’t become a common headache for players.
Overwatch 2 Lead Hero Designer Alec Dawson says that while plenty has been done to protect players from this kind of behaviour, they’re on the lookout in the post-launch period for any intentional misuse of abilities at the expense of allies, and would consider penalties for griefing behaviours. They also confirmed that movement abilities like Tracer’s Blink and Kiriko’s Swift Step can cancel out Life Grip.
Despite this, it seems like the Life Grip ability is likely to be a player favourite, with the potential to make major impacts on competitive gameplay – whether that’s saving a teammate cut off after a charge, or pulling back overly enthusiastic allies that have over-extended.
It’s not just Lifeweaver’s Life Grip that’s bound to change strategic gameplay up, though, with his other abilities equally as complex in how they could impact the current meta. His Petal Platform in particular has a range of uses, from lifting up teammates like Widowmaker to new heights on maps or getting your team out of a tight spot.
Senior Technical Artist Takki Thammawan says that while the majority of his abilities do have an obvious application, ‘as you play him more, you’re going to realise that each of his abilities can be used in so many ways.’
Strategies and team tactics
Beyond the utility of his loadout, Lifeweaver’s kit also has the potential to bring a big shakeup to overall game tactics. Jurgens-Fyhrie says that while Petal Platform can protect allies, enemies can also use it to their advantage if Lifeweaver is on the losing end of a line fight, making for ‘really exciting and new gameplay elements that will give players a new strategic element to their teamfights.’
His passive Parting Gift ability, which drops a healing pack on death, can also be used by allies and enemies alike, although allies will receive a bigger health boost from the pack than the enemy team.
In terms of strategy, if you prefer to take on a fully supportive role in Overwatch 2 (as opposed to dealing out damage and a bit of healing on the side), you’re likely to find Lifeweaver is a good fit for your playstyle.
Dawson says that while his utility makes him a strong and complex character to play, one of his weaknesses is falling behind on healing. ‘He’s very good at anticipating and if you’re prepared for things, but sometimes it does take time to charge up your healing,’ he says.
Teaming up with other Support heroes with burst healing like Ana or Baptiste while playing Lifeweaver can help to balance out this weakness. He’s also likely to pair well with aggressive DPS heroes like Reaper and can offer advantageous access to new heights for allies with low mobility.
Whatever the team composition, the Overwatch 2 team says players who are deliberate about positioning and the use of their abilities are likely going to get the most out of Lifeweaver.
Lifeweaver’s creation seems to signal a shift in how Overwatch 2 will approach creating further Support heroes to bolster the role, which currently has the smallest available hero roster.
The process of creating Supports comes with its own ‘unique set of challenges’, with an aim to introduce new heroes that bring something new and interesting to the game, as well as a clear utility to team compositions.
In designing Lifeweaver, Dawson says they ‘reevaluated what it means to create Support heroes…how can they defend themselves?…how do they fight back?’ He also confirmed that going forward, Overwatch 2 will continue to release two new Support heroes for every Tank and DPS character introduced.
Lifeweaver will launch alongside Overwatch 2 Season 4 on 12 April 2023 AEST and will be unlockable instantly by purchasing the Premium Battle Pass (US $10 | AU $14.95 | 1,000 Overwatch Coins), or can be earned via the free Battle Pass track.
If you’re keen to try him out before unlocking him in the Battle Pass, he’ll be available to play in the limited-time Arcade game mode B.O.B. and Weave, which will run from 12 April AEST to 25 April AEST.