Blizzard's Overwatch team has announced a major change to the abilities of healing hero Mercy, including a new ultimate ability replacing her ability to resurrect multiple dead players in her immediate vicinity.

Instead, her new ult, called Valkyrie, allows her to fly freely around the map and buffs all her other abilities, meaning her healing and boosting beams will reach further, her pistol deals more damage, she can leap toward allies quicker and from further away, and she can resurrect players quicker.

That last buff is to Mercy's new secondary ability, which allows her to resurrect players one at a time with a "rather long cooldown" as game director Jeff Kaplan explained in a new developer update video.

Kaplan begins the video with an explanation as to why this significant change is being made to one of the shooter's roster of unique playable characters.

"One of the problems we see with Mercy right now is there's a weird behaviour that's encouraged by the core, fundamental design of the hero," he explains.

"Which is that if you're a Mercy player and you're healing your team and your ultimate is up or close to being up, you have this weird moment where you stop healing your team, you go into hiding and you start to tell your team, 'Everybody die together, die on the point.'"

He goes on to explain that some players may not hear this and suddenly wonder why Mercy is no longer healing players. As he explains, the current set-up stops Mercy players from doing exactly what they're supposed to do as the healing character.

The update to Mercy are now available on the PC version's Public Test Realm (PTR) server, where Blizzard will hone the changes. Kaplan explains this includes toying with how the new resurrect ability is used in tandem with Mercy's new ult.

Once Blizzard is happy with the tweaks, Mercy's new loadout of abilities will roll out to the full versions of the game on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

At the end of the video Kaplan states that similar changes may happen to other heroes, specifically naming D.Va as a character currently being experimented with. Changes to the character are now also available in the PTR.

Overwatch Mercy
Overwatch hero Mercy is one of the most popular characters in the game.Blizzard Entertainment