With Overwatch 2 now adopting a new way of introducing heroes to the mass public, each rollout has taken on more importance than before. Fans expect nuanced, developed characters to join the fray, and developers must do just that while ensuring enough gameplay value and impact with the new addition. All of that happens to be just what the new Overwatch 2 hero, Lifeweaver, is bringing to the table.
Known as Niran PruksaManee, nicknamed Bua, the Thai ranged support healer does not just look good on the eyes, but is also a great performer out on the battlefield.
“Lifeweaver, in particular, is all about helping your allies whether it’s putting them in a better position with Petal Platform, whether it’s pulling them out of trouble, and you can actually dish out a tonne of healing if you’re ready for the situation,” shared Lead Hero Designer on Overwatch 2, Alec Dawson.
“So I think that’s one of the things where we find Lifeweaver is really excelling and those are the types of players that are attracted to Lifeweaver the most.”
The flexibility of Lifeweaver is perhaps what shines the brightest. Petal Platform can help allies reach greater heights for better angles or protection, while Life Grip shields the target as Lifeweaver pulls them towards him. Rejuvenating Dash heals the hero lightly while providing a quick escape, and even in death, Parting Gift can be a clutch heal for an ally or an enemy. And while his primary can be charged up to heal a teammate even more, the secondary ability that is Thorn Valley ensures that this hero can dish it out as well.
Then there is the matter of the Ultimate of Lifeweaver in Overwatch 2, a literal Tree of Life with instant and continuous heals for allies for as long as it is alive. Smart teams can also use this skill to block off parts of the map to add more chaos to the mayhem of a skirmish.
There is a clear synergy in how this new hero can combine with others, and making the most of advantageous positions or ensuring a smooth retreat from a bad time can be Lifeweaver’s calling card in Overwatch 2, but it most certainly isn’t the only good thing about the futuristic druid.
What players get will be a support hero in Overwatch 2 that is viable in most situations, especially as Lifeweaver is more about strategic play rather than pinpoint accuracy. “There’s so much there with the auto aiming heal, the utility that appeals to anyone just starting off in Overwatch, but there’s so much to master and so much to learn. I think it appeals to all sorts of players across the spectrum,” added Lead Narrative Designer Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie.
Obviously, the character design will play a big part in attracting players, and Lifeweaver’s Thai origins are prominent and celebrated in Overwatch 2, helped by the likes of Senior Character Technical Artist Chonlawat Thammawan being on the team.
“There’s a lot of references that our concept artists and our localisation team try to jam in there. Like the pants he’s wearing, it’s a Thai traditional garment with an interesting silhouette. We have Thai patterns hidden everywhere in his kit, even down to the type of flower he used. On the narrative side, we also have a lot of voice lines that are native to the character,” the developer shared, pointing to the performance of Phuwin Tangsakyuen as one to look forward to.
“What I like about Overwatch is that we have space for characters to speak their native language, which is highly uncommon for characters from Thailand. So I’m really excited for our Thai players to hear their own language in Overwatch.”
As the 37th hero to join the ranks in the first game and Overwatch 2, Lifeweaver represents “a new challenge” for the Blizzard team to figure out where to go next. More importantly, it represents the evolution of the developers’ approach to revitalising the meta every so often. Potential additions are divided into those integral to lore, cool design ideas, and others with interesting gameplay hooks, and in recent years, designers and artists have “pushed each other up and highlight each other’s ideas and create something new and exciting” that Blizzard is excited to share with people.
The hope is that it is truly the case when Lifeweaver becomes available as part of the battle pass for Overwatch 2 in the upcoming season. Even if that wasn’t so, Blizzard will continue to work on their end to add more local flavour to the game after this dash of Thai spiciness.