TL;DR – To help nerf GOATS and to future proof against more overbearing 0-3-3 metas in the future, I suggest changing how healing stacks so that multiple sources of healing lose effectiveness when they are applied to the same target.
This topic needs very little introduction. There’s been many requests to nerf aura healing to weaken GOATS comp, but even if, for example, Brigitte was removed, Blizzard would basically be barred from producing another aura healer to prevent another ultra-durable composition from taking form (at least one that relies on multiple healers). Frankly, it’s a fun enough mechanic that is otherwise balanced, so cutting it off would be a big loss in potential game design.
Instead, it would be best to throttle how having multiple healers interacts with the overall healing rate on a team. I’m proposing adding diminishing returns on healing when a single target is being healed from multiple sources.
The Brief Explanation: If a healing target is receiving health from multiple sources at the same time, each healing source’s healing rate is reduced by 75% for every other healing source greater than it.
The Detailed Explanation: Let’s start by laying down terminology. I’m going to refer to each source of healing as a “Layer”. The source with the highest healing per second (HPS) is layer 1. The source with the second highest is layer 2, the third is layer 3. Etc. Every layer’s HPS is then decreased by 75% for every layer above it.
Here’s an example that uses a standard GOATS comp: Zenyatta, Brigitte and Lucio.
As of now, without ultimates or Lucio’s Amp , these heroes apply a maximum of 62.67 HPS to a single target (Zenyatta’s 30 HPS + Brig’s 16.67 HPS + Lucio’s 16 HPS).
Applying the diminishing return of 75% per layer, this happens to each healing source:
Layer 1, Zen: 30 HPS -> 30 HPS (No change)
Layer 2, Brig: 16.67 HPS -> 12.51 HPS (16.67 x 0.75)
Layer 3, Lucio: 16 HPS -> 9 HPS ((16 x 0.75) x 0.75)
Total Healing: 62.67 HPS -> 51.51 HPS (about 82.2% of the original rate).
For a point of comparison, Mercy’s healing nerf a few months ago was a reduction from 60 HPS down to 50 HPS, a drop that was big enough to pull her straight out of must pick territory.
Of course, with Aura healing, 32.67 HPS will be granted to the rest of the team (Brig’s 16.67 HPS + Lucio’s 16 HPS). Let’s crunch how this looks:
Layer 1, Brig: 16.67 HPS -> 16.67 (No change)
Layer 2, Lucio: 16 HPS -> 12 HPS (16 x 0.75)
Total Healing: 32.67 HPS -> 28.67 HPS (about 87.8% of the original rate).
For one more example, let’s apply Lucio’s Amp to see how the numbers shift:
Layer 1, Lucio: 50 HPS -> 50 HPS (No change)
Layer 2, Zen: 30 HPS -> 22.5 HPS (30 x 0.75)
Layer 3, Brig 16.67 HPS -> 9.38 HPS ((16.67 x 0.75) x 0.75)
Total Healing: 96.67 HPS -> 81.85 HPS (about 84.7% of the original rate).
The overall goal is to make the benefits of multiple healing sources less pronounced while still giving the overall benefit of more healing. As you can see from the examples, more healing sources and stronger sources of healing still provide the greatest amount of healing, but the overall reduction increases as the number of healing sources do. It also leaves the largest source of healing untouched, allowing primary healers and support ults to still be effective at their jobs. This directly combats the issue of stacking several healers without nerfing individual healers and having a minimal effect on 2 healer compositions. It also keeps the design space for more aura healers open in the future, but applies a safety valve to prevent it from becoming a problem later on.
Finally, it is not a very difficult mechanic to understand from a surface level, so it is unlikely to cause confusion for casual viewers and players.
A few details:
Instant healing (Ana’s grenade, Brig’s repair pack, etc.) would probably not affect or be affected by this mechanic. I don’t know how they would be calculated in a way that feels fair.
I went with 75% because it felt like a solid number. There’s likely a better reduction percentage, or even a better equation. However, I felt like this was a good starting point.
It is possible some characters would need re-balancing. For example, Moira can produce 2 healing sources by herself (left click and orb), which can make this a direct nerf to her.
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