This alone dramatically reduces the deliberate troll potential of the ability. But it’s not zero. After a bit of practice in a game against bots, I was able to occasionally pull an ally into a pit on purpose, without dying myself, but it was clearly something I wasn’t meant to do. However, this only applies to pulling an ally into an environmental kill.
It’s impossible for the game to prevent Lifeweaver from, say, pulling an ally out of cover and directly into a Widowmaker’s line of fire. Or, like so many clumsy Mei, accidentally ruin a teammate’s ult by snatching them out of position. On that note, characters that can’t move during their ultimate, like Pharah, Bastion, and even Reaper, can be pulled during their ultimates. Which could go very well or very poorly.
The brief period of invulnerability Life Grip offers helps mitigate the potential harm, similarly limiting its troll potential, but it’s not a panacea. Anything a Lifeweaver could pull their ally away from is something he could pull them into. D.va’s bomb, Junkrat’s tire, Mei’s blizzard, Rein’s shatter, Zarya’s grav.
It’s not a question of whether your team’s Lifeweaver is going to get you killed. It’s a question of when and how often.
The Overwatch Hierarchy of Decisionmaking
Depending on your role in Overwatch 2, you might have very different reactions to the sentence above. If you’re a tank, like Tercius, there’s a possibility you haven’t stopped grumbling since first hearing about this. (Even after explaining to Tercius the safeguards in place to prevent Lifeweaver from dropping him into a hole, he still adamantly dislikes the new ability.)
On the other hand, if you’re a support main like me, you might finally feel a sense of balance for the first time in your Overwatch career. I have more hours with Mercy than any other character. (And to stave off the inevitable smears on my honor: Nerfing Guardian Angel was fine, you whiners.) And I’m well versed in the idea of another character’s decision getting you killed.
To understand the problem, we have to acknowledge an unspoken dynamic in Overwatch, which is that the roles are not created equal. There’s a soft hierarchy for who gets to decide when and how to engage in a team fight. Put simply, a tank can rush into a fight and a support can grudgingly follow, but it’s very difficult for a support to fall back from a fight they know is lost and convince the tank to disengage.
“Yeah, but that’s your choice,” Tercius told me, referring of course to my decision to save his Reinhardt-ass when he charges into a losing battle. “Life Grip isn’t my choice. It removes my agency.” (Tercius is actually a great Reinhardt and rarely does this, but I have to vent my frustration with Quickplay tanks somewhere.)