"Why Does Everyone Hate Mercy?" [Overwatch exploration of support stigma/misogyny]

#1
*support characters

Saw this shared and just started reading through it.

Despite Mercy being posed as the angelic medic of the popular team shooter Overwatch, she, or the people who play her, might as well be the Devil with the way that many complain about her at every opportunity. Their ire covers a multitude of sins but a lot of it centers around her being a female character, a popular support hero, as well as one that exemplifies peacefulness and collaborative team effort. However, these same design choices, as well as the playerbase that have followed her in, have made Mercy a lightning rod for the obvious derision in the competitive gaming community about who plays support, as well as what we assume about their abilities. It is incredibly gendered at times, and that’s not a coincidence.
Women make up a good portion of the gaming audience but their numbers in competitive games are more limited. This is attributed, wrongfully, to the “stress of competition”, but more truthfully is credited to the open toxicity in these games from other players. This then gets portrayed as women having an innate inability to be competitive (rather than wanting to avoid suffering hateful slurs). Across gaming forums and in voice chats, women are spoken of as being “too delicate” for the rigors and stress of these games, preferring more collaborative, supportive roles. This falls in line with the fact that the perception that women often will pick support characters (characters that heal or buff teammates) in these games, if they play at all; this logic then loops into how support characters just so happen to be for players who “lack skill” despite being a necessary part of the team. Sexism is a poison that creeps into everything that is perceived to be “for women” — to those who believe in it, it degrades everything.
Every Mercy main that I spoke to about this lack of skill laughed about it, since anyone who has actually played the role for a significant amount of time knows how demanding it is. Playing support requires a high amount of game sense (knowing where enemies are), a continual tally of team and enemy ult usage, risk assessment in split seconds, as well as crisis prioritization. She is the antithesis of everything we think about first-person shooters mechanically and, therefore, earns a lion’s share of derision because of it.
more stuff at the link

I don't play Overwatch, but I do watch someone play it a lot and found it a shame support characters of all characters get crap like this. Overwatch characters requiring diverse skill sets is a huge positive imo and there's such thing as impressive, skillful play for every character.
 
#2
...that last paragraph is just nonsense re: skill to play mercy

ex top 100 console who hit top few percents on PC without losing and quit afterwards and can confirm: mercy doesn't require much skill to get good results with, nor is she a viable character at the top.

"Every Mercy main that I spoke to about this lack of skill laughed about it, since anyone who has actually played the role for a significant amount of time knows how demanding it is. Playing support requires a high amount of game sense (knowing where enemies are), a continual tally of team and enemy ult usage, risk assessment in split seconds, as well as crisis prioritization. She is the antithesis of everything we think about first-person shooters mechanically and, therefore, earns a lion's share of derision because of it."

...like I'm not trying to be offensive re: mercy mains but yeah no it's not a demanding role in the slightest compared to many of the others.


I find the take that it has to do with the character being a woman interesting but I'm not actually sure that has anything to do with why the average player dislikes a mercy in their lobby.

edit: SR vs winrate, why we hate mercy in a nutshell
 
#3
I never saw anyone hating mercy. Quite the contrary. She's probably the best healer in the game. Whenever i'm playing, people feel relief when someone plays her.

Of course, she's not as useful in other areas as the other support chars, though. You have to balance according with your team, but usually a mercy os good.
 
#4
Do people really hate support characters? Every time I play mercy in QP the rest of the team practically jacks me off in the results screen with upvotes. I mean, hating to play them sure, but hating one on your team?
 
#6
I just find her uninteresting in both character design and gameplay design, you can argue "she's interesting or fun to play in this style or level of play" but no.

If I have to do something very specific to find a character enjoyable, then that's a problem
 
#8
...that last paragraph is just nonsense re: skill to play mercy

ex top 100 console who hit top few percents on PC without losing and quit afterwards and can confirm: mercy doesn't require much skill to get good results with, nor is she a viable character at the top.

"Every Mercy main that I spoke to about this lack of skill laughed about it, since anyone who has actually played the role for a significant amount of time knows how demanding it is. Playing support requires a high amount of game sense (knowing where enemies are), a continual tally of team and enemy ult usage, risk assessment in split seconds, as well as crisis prioritization. She is the antithesis of everything we think about first-person shooters mechanically and, therefore, earns a lion’s share of derision because of it."

...like I'm not trying to be offensive re: mercy mains but yeah no it's not a demanding role in the slightest compared to many of the others.


I find the take that it has to do with the character being a woman interesting but I'm not actually sure that has anything to do with why the average player dislikes a mercy in their lobby.
I do not agree, mercy requires fair skill to keep safe, heal the right people without being attacked yourself and her res can change the flow of combat, she's just as skill based as soldier is.
 
#9
The main reasons people hate Mercy have nothing to do with gender at all. It has to do with manipulating ranked ladder and playing a low mechanics hero while they are at it. Mercy is pretty popular with a lot of women, so some assholes will use that to further rag on players. That happens, it sucks. Its still nowhere near the origin for the Mercy hate train.

I do not agree, mercy requires fair skill to keep safe, heal the right people without being attacked yourself and her res can change the flow of combat, she's just as skill based as soldier is.
It's not true in ranked ladder. It's actually really popular to pay somebody to duo queue with you are on Mercy to help boost you up to Grandmaster rank. She's easy enough to let that happen on a regular basis. It's not completely brainless, but it's a lot easier than most other heroes.
 
#10
The only time I ever feel fury at Mercy is when she is on the enemy team and rezzes. Those are my moments of anger. Other than that I have no problems with her or who uses her. I don't play competitive though.

All I know is if I see her on the opposing team, I quickly try to defeat her. Especially if it's a Pharmercy combo. If she's on my team, I stay close and defend her.

EDIT: Basically it's just all gameplay stuff.
 
#11
I can safely say that 90% of the hate is gameplay related on why people dislike Mercy. That said there are assholes that just dislike characters because they are female sadly.
 
#12
The main reasons people hate Mercy have nothing to do with gender at all. It has to do with manipulating ranked ladder and playing a low mechanics hero while they are at it. Mercy is pretty popular with a lot of women, so some assholes will use that to further rag on players. That happens, it sucks. Its still nowhere near the origin for the Mercy hate train.



It's not true in ranked ladder. It's actually really popular to pay somebody to duo queue with you are on Mercy to help boost you up to Grandmaster rank. She's easy enough to let that happen on a regular basis. It's not completely brainless, but it's a lot easier than most other heroes.
I can safely say that 90% of the hate is gameplay related on why people dislike Mercy.
Came for these posts :3


I do not agree, mercy requires fair skill to keep safe, heal the right people without being attacked yourself and her res can change the flow of combat, she's just as skill based as soldier is.
I do not agree, mercy requires fair skill to keep safe, heal the right people without being attacked yourself and her red can change the flow of combat, she's just as skill based as soldier is.
It's moreso at the end of the day she's half as efficient at doing stuff vs others (see the fact that the vast majority of the playerbase even in grandmaster will swear by full team res when it's infinitely worse than tempo ressing) which can lead to frustration- to play her at the same level as other supports is indeed a feat, but it's also not very achievable by almost anyone who's in the discussion, so it's not really relevant.

Also you're hardly the reason your team won as mercy sadly.
 
#13
It's the only character I like to play as. It's really fun for me for some reason. I don't give a shit about "skill" in goddamned Quickplay.

Man, fuck Overwatch.
 
#16
The main problem IMO is that for some reason Mercy gets way better SR ratings than just about any other hero, including the rest of the supports, meaning that by just playing Mercy, a bronze-tier player can hit Gold pretty easily. That's where I think a lot of the hate comes from, the skill floor is nonexistant and her most useful role in a high SR team fight is to hide around a corner in case the rest of the team dies. People get jealous when they see players getting higher SR with a character they percieve as being easier to play than just about every other character in the game. *shrug*

I haven't encountered the sexism at all though, but that's just my games, and from the other comments I see here it does exist.
 
#18
I can safely say that 90% of the hate is gameplay related on why people dislike Mercy.
While this may be true, at least on PC, I've experienced a ton of gendered slurs and sexist comments in chat towards me and others when one of us plays Mercy.

Competitive just seems to be getting more toxic in general, I've given up entirely this season.
 
#19
The only time I ever feel fury at Mercy is when she is on the enemy team and rezzes. Those are my moments of anger. Other than that I have no problems with her or who uses her. I don't play competitive though.

All I know is if I see her on the opposing team, I quickly try to defeat her. Especially if it's a Pharmercy combo. If she's on my team, I stay close and defend her.
Same here, especially if it is a big rez. That ult is quite bothersome if the enemy team has Mercy because it can give a big advantage to them.

Otherwise, I don't hate her. Nor like her. As a healer, I think she isn't hard to use.
 
#21
Like, if someone wants to be Mercy and wants to play support, that's awesome. The Overwatch is the most toxic shit community, my god. A good Mercy is great and anyone who complains is a jerk.
 
#22
As a Genji main, I love Mercy players and go out of my way to defend them (unless they're the red team Mercy).

But as a Genji main, Mercy players hate me cause of other idiot Genji players who spam healing and don't help.

It's like real life!
 
#23
...that last paragraph is just nonsense re: skill to play mercy

ex top 100 console who hit top few percents on PC without losing and quit afterwards and can confirm: mercy doesn't require much skill to get good results with, nor is she a viable character at the top.

"Every Mercy main that I spoke to about this lack of skill laughed about it, since anyone who has actually played the role for a significant amount of time knows how demanding it is. Playing support requires a high amount of game sense (knowing where enemies are), a continual tally of team and enemy ult usage, risk assessment in split seconds, as well as crisis prioritization. She is the antithesis of everything we think about first-person shooters mechanically and, therefore, earns a lion’s share of derision because of it."

...like I'm not trying to be offensive re: mercy mains but yeah no it's not a demanding role in the slightest compared to many of the others.


I find the take that it has to do with the character being a woman interesting but I'm not actually sure that has anything to do with why the average player dislikes a mercy in their lobby.
I was going to say that she doesn't seem to be that hard a character to play. Though I was going to follow up with: It's why I use her.
 
#25
People hate 1 trick Mercy
It's weird. Mercy atm is one of the best characters in OW right now.
With that being said, Mercy is a character that takes very little skill compared to every other character in the game.
Mercy is a character that you can't really get better with because there's no where to grow really. You can get better at shooting sure, but even shooting is barely used because healing is needed more usually.

Mercy also has a problem of being one of the most 'MAINED' characters in the game.
So if you join a game, and you have 3 or 4 Mercy(many youtube videos about this) mains on your team, you are SOL.
 
#26
While this may be true, at least on PC, I've experienced a ton of gendered slurs and sexist comments in chat towards me and others when one of us plays Mercy.

Competitive just seems to be getting more toxic in general, I've given up entirely this season.
Yeah that sucks. Wish there was a way to fix this other than blocking them easier but...
 
#32
Her Ult isn't fun to play around for either team. She's annoying to play against and annoying to have to play around. Unsurprisingly, most people would rather just stay alive than have to die and get Rez'd.
 
#34
Right, if you are banking your ultimate for larger rezes, which typically are not as good as doing smaller rezes More often since she gets her ultimate back extremely quickly.
Yeah, I know. You still will rank up faster and maintain SR better by playing her in a sub-optimal way since the stats can pull you up higher than a steady W/L record. It's a legitimate problem with how SR is calculated.
 
#35
The hate for mercy is because you can climb the ranks with a winrate WAY below 50%.

Then you get a shit ton of mercy mains/one-tricks in the top ranks that have garbage game sense and don't have the necessary mechanics to pick other characters besides Mercy to play in the ranks they're at.

Why does everyone hates Mercy? Because Blizzard messed up.
 
#36
The only time Mercy ever becomes "hard to play" is in GM/Top 500 games. And then you've got one trick Mercys in your GM game who play at a diamond level that don't have good positioning or game sense to stay alive vs. tanks and DPS that are playing at GM level.

That's where majority of Mercy hate comes from. Not because of sexism, although it definitely exists and is terrible.
 
#37
People hate 1 trick Mercy's who hide and wait for the huge rez, instead of doing a 1 or 2 person rez that can turn a fight.
Yep. Rez in a FPS game is really bad design and making hers so effective breaks the game in many ways. A team getting outplayed shouldn't be rewarded if one character was able to hide effectively. It then forces the other team to play the same game since there's one character that can negate an entire team fight with Rez. So then you have each team with mandatory Mercy trading rezzes.
 

ponpo

( ≖‿≖)
#38
Pretty sure the mercy hate is mostly just a meme but that won't stop people from writing dissertations about it on medium dot com
 
#39
what is this crap lol

mercy gets hate because she's incredibly easy to climb with and encourages a boring, uninteractive gameplay style. not only that, but nerds that climb with her have 0 mechanical skill on other heroes so if you get 2 mercy "mains" on your team, you're essentially fucked.
 
#40
This article definitely doesn't match my experience with Overwatch. Usually people are pretty happy whenever anyone actually bothers to play support. As others have said, some current Mercy hate is just due to issues with the competitive ranking system.

I definitely can see the part about the perceptions about female players and support, the toxic communities, and so on. I don't think people's issues with Mercy necessarily come from a place of misogyny though, especially in a game that has people of all shapes, ages, sexualities, and ethnicities.
 
#42
As someone who just bought OW two weeks ago (on PS4, though), I do have to say that my decision to mute everyone back in the Free Weekend is being proved a better decision every week. Sounds like things have just gotten worse, and exponentially so in the last few months. Hopping into an occasional Quick Play game because it sounds fun, and not being dragged down by the friggin' scum that caused me to mute everyone in every other Online game I've ever played is nice.
 
#45
https://youtu.be/WOCv9rbISsY

This reminds me of the video above. The problem is that nearly 2/3 of heroes are DPS and there are only four healer with 5/6 tanks. I hope Blizzard will fix it but I seriously doubt they can. They created Sombra and Orissa to try to change Reinhardt as a must pick, and they failed.
 
#47
Everyone always blames the healer. It's a thankless job.
Unfortunately this right here is the correct answer, not misogyny, stigma, etc.

Most people playing DPS roles simply don't have the ability to self-reflect and realise when they simply don't have the mechanical skills to fulfil that role and give it to someone else more capable. So their easiest target becomes the healer. That's how it has been in most games with any sort of role select and it is truly sad. Playing a healer is truly a thankless job.
 
#48
Ressurect just isn't a fun ability to play around, never has been, IMO. Make it interruptable and we'll talk.

That's the only reason I hate the character, lol.
 

DR2K

Doesn't buy fighting games to actually play them
#50
I always find it amusing that in a game with characters like DVA, Solider, and Bastion people have the audacity to call Mercy a low skill hero.

I'd love her to be retooled to use Rez less and her pistol more. Since the game really doesn't let you play attack Mercy