Thoughts on the upcoming Lucio changes
For the last few weeks, Blizzard has been actively involved with constant hero balance changes as players wait for the anticipated March 21st release of Orisa.
One of the biggest changes would have to be the rework to Lucio, which can be read here.
While reading the notes, it is clear that Blizzard is trying to fix Lucio’s must pick status in both competitive and casual play. "Lucio has often felt like a must-pick due to his raw healing output and the versatility of providing a speed bonus to your entire team," read the developer comments. "The goal of these changes is to keep those elements feeling strong, but making them harder to apply to everyone on your team at all times."
With the changes to Lucio in the PTR, Lucio’s aura has been significantly reduced, forcing him to run toward his team in order to provide any impact. To counter this, Blizzard increased the amount of heal-per-second by 50% and another speed buff when he wallrides.
There are many pros and cons to this strategy. The biggest pro to this is that Lucio, now, has much more survivability compared to the rest of the support cast, making him more engaging in the fight. One on one, Lucio can run/wallride circles around characters which makes him harder to kill and allows him to easier contest objectives. Along with that, he has increased healing as long as his team stays closer to him.
"Much of Lucio’s character power was tied up in his large passive auras, which caused other elements of his kit to be weakened over time in an attempt to balance him," says the developer comments. "Now that his auras are more focused it will allow them to be much stronger and allow Lucio to be more active in his role."
There is a drawback to these changes. There is a chance that the changes will encourage death ball type strategies, making dive compositions much more difficult to pull off. In continuation, I don’t personally believe that this will change Lucio’s must pick status whatsoever. This patch doesn’t actually do much to deal with Lucio’s being able to coordinate pushes with teams, making them faster and more durable. The changes also encourage the use of Reinhardt, due to having to stay closer together, and Ana, to make up for healing over longer ranges, two heroes that are almost required in most team compositions as is.
This patch has definitely made Lucio a more fun hero to play, but has it really fixed the issues they set out to improve on? This series of changes might be followed up with other tweaks now that his aura range has been nerfed so much.
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