Overwatch 2's Lifeweaver and the Life Grip ability debate: Is it fair?
Examining what could be the most controversial ability in Overwatch history.
Earlier this week, Blizzard revealed Lifeweaver, Overwatch 2's latest support hero. The character's striking design, attractive appearance, and unique flower powers made him an instant favorite in the eyes of many fans, and as a result, the community is eager to get its hands on him when he arrives alongside Season 4 on April 11. However, one of his abilities in particular has actually stirred up quite a bit of controversy.
That ability is Life Grip, and the way it works is unlike anything we've ever seen from Blizzard's hero shooter. Lifeweaver players can use it to rapidly pull a teammate towards them while protecting them with a Zarya-like bubble, making it an excellent tool support players can use to save allies in dicey situations. The reason why it's contentious, though, is because it forcibly moves allies without their permission.
Initially, fans were worried about Life Grip's griefing potential. Blizzard attempted to assuage fears of getting yanked into environmental hazards by promising that Overwatch 2 will have "guardrails" to stop Lifeweaver trolling, but at this point, I think players are more concerned about the other ways it can influence gameplay.
It's undeniable that Life Grip will be one of the best "bailout" abilities in Overwatch 2's sandbox, and the fact it can be used to pull teammates towards enemies if Lifeweaver is near them means there's a lot of potential to use it for creative playmaking with friendly Reaper Death Blossoms and other damage hero Ultimates. But is it fair that support players can wrench you away from your position whenever they decide to, regardless of whether or not you think it's the right call? Opinions about this in the community are split, but I think it clearly isn't.
As a tank main, this is my big concern with Life Grip. In the Overwatch 2 era, you generally have to be more active and offensive as a tank than you did in the original game, which some players misinterpret as feeding (there's a difference between making space for your allies and recklessly inting without a plan). While I'll definitely be thankful for Life Grip in scenarios where it actually saves my life, it's going to be infuriating when a Lifeweaver yanks me back after I land an aggressive Reinhardt Earthshatter because "you're overextending." And sure, I'll admit that there are definitely times where I actually am feeding my brains out, but it still makes me uncomfortable that a teammate can just rob me of control over my character whenever they want to.
I've seen some support players say they're excited about Life Grip because it finally gives them a way to directly control the way their allies engage and disengage in fights with the other team, and I can totally understand that. It absolutely blows when the tank you match with leaps into fights without an ounce of self-preservation, and in those situations, Life Grip will be a godsend. You follow your tank's lead for a reason in Overwatch, though.
Tanks make space for everyone else to work in with their shields or enemy-disrupting abilities. If your tank isn't able to do their job because you pulled them out of the fray against their will when they needed to be in the thick of it, it could leave your team wide open to counterattack. And while playing follow-the-leader and getting dragged into fights you don't think your team should be getting into can be frustrating, this is ultimately how teamfights in Overwatch 2 work. The job of supports is to, well, support their teammates as they fulfill their own roles, but Lifeweaver is uniquely capable of hindering them instead with poor Life Grip usage.
Damage and support heroes can get screwed over by the ability, too. You might think you're helping that half HP Ana in cover by dragging her to you for healing, but instead, you've sealed her fate by pulling her into an enemy Widowmaker's sights. And that Genji you pulled back for being too far forward? He was about to finish taking out the opposing Zenyatta, which might have given your team a decisive teamfight win.
At the end of the day, the core issue here is that the player on the receiving end of Life Grip doesn't have agency. You can cancel the effects of it with a movement ability, but should you have to waste an entire cooldown just to regain control of your character? I can understand allowing Lifeweaver to pull someone without a confirmation — after all, it would be difficult to quickly save allies from danger if they had to accept it first — but why not give Life Gripped players the option to press a button and stop the ability?
Enemies pulling you out of position with abilities like Roadhog's Chain Hook is one thing, but giving a teammate the power to do it without a reasonable way to override their decision goes too far in my eyes. And while I'm still excited about Lifeweaver overall, part of me can't help but dread his arrival.
Overwatch 2 is one of the best Xbox games on the market for fans of multiplayer shooters, and it's available now on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PC, PS5, and PS4. Season 4 is scheduled to go live on April 11, 2023, at which point both Lifeweaver and the new season's Battle Pass will become available. If you're a new player and want a head start on progression, consider getting the Ultimate Battle Pass Bundle once Season 4 comes out. It will include Premium Battle Pass access, 20 instant Battle Pass levels, 2,000 Overwatch coins, and several Starwatch skins.
Overwatch 2: Ultimate Battle Pass Bundle
The $30 Overwatch 2: Ultimate Battle Pass Pack offers fans a variety of benefits that will allow them to get guaranteed access to a Premium Battle Pass track, 20 Battle Pass levels, 2,000 Overwatch Coins, and during Season 4, Starwatch skins.
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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.