Supports: Why Zerocool is the best but shouldn't be nerfed
Howdy y'all. Today I am talking about supports in general, but as the title of this thread indicates how Zerocool is the best support despite being a balanced hero. His mod Speedrun is a bit strong but, meh, this thread is all about healing. Brace for controversial opinions boyos.
Before we get into the details of Zerocool's singular healing ability that is better than the rest of the supports combined kits, let's first get the different forms of healing specified. Although these terms may go by different names they mean more or less the same things.
Burst Healing -
A large amount of healing that takes place over a short period of time that is commonly attached to a cooldown (CD). Examples: Chain Heal, Life Force, Recharge Beam, 1UP (technically this isn't counted towards heals but we all know this is a heal), Chrysalis.
A low, but constant healing that can but isn't always attached to a CD. Examples: Chain Heal after effect, Regenerator, Stalker, Sacred Ground, Luck Charm, Recharge Beam, Guardian (Guardian can get very high healing per second with many stacks of Soul Eater but it is too inconsistent to be considered Burst Healing), Soul Eater.
Single Target Healing -
An ability or effect that can only heal a single target. Some of these abilities have mods that allow them to heal the user in addition but we will not count those mods in this discussion (Dual Bus, and whatever the name is of the Life Force mod that heals Miko for a portion of the healing per second). Examples: Regenerator, Life Force, Recharge Beam, 1UP, Guardian.
Multi Target Healing -
Abilities or effects that heal more than one target but are limited by a number value. It only effects a maximum number despite how many Heroes are in range of the effect. Examples: Chain Heal, Stalker (this effects a whole team but is still technically multi target healing), Chrysalis.
Area of Effect Healing -
Healing that effects any teammates that are within the range of the ability. Examples: Sacred Ground, Lucky Charm.
With that out of the way now let's focus on Zerocool and why he is the best. For now we exclude Supers because they can solve some problems but when it comes to reliable healing we should only consider base kits.
Burst healing is widely considered the best type of healing in nearly every single MOBA, MOBA style game I have ever played, seen gameplay of. The ability to restore an ally's health from near zero to one hundred percent in a short time is invaluable. We can all agree that the hero I just described in BE is Zerocool. For the rest of the cast it takes double digit seconds to heal a tank's health pool worth of healing while a Zero can do it in less than five. And he can do it consistently. Without stacks Azrael struggles, Kulev can heal the whole team (if they stand in one place), and Miko struggles to effectively heal everyone and even heal one person quickly since she relies on a CD and all of her injured allies to stay near each other so she can make the most out of Chain Heal.
Those problems illustrate the strength of Recharge Beam. An ally gets caught out of position but manages to get away after taking tons of burst, Zero tops them off while repositioning with their team.
Now with Kulev -
Kulev cannot do this, he needs to predict damage, use his Good Omen shield to protect an ally, and only after they get away can he start reliably healing them (this is taking into account Kulev's team is resetting after their ally took too much damage and Kulev needs to wait for his ally to sit still to effectively heal them). To effectively heal between fights allies either need to sit still or use health orbs.
Now with Azrael-
He can reposition with his team, sure, he can heal without hopping off his board, an invaluable skill, but he cannot heal quickly unless he is in a fight applying Soul Eater. If your team is disengaging, Azrael has baby healing. If Azrael is getting to the fight late, baby healing. Like Kulev, Azrael relies on his teammates to use health orbs to stay topped off, heal their mistakes. His Portal can save lives that even Recharge Beam couldn't save, I'll admit that, but it still takes valuable time for Azrael to heal out of combat.
Now with Miko-
The Cain Heal is quickly healing your foolish ally who got caught out, great. You do have to wait for a few uses though, probably 3 to 4, to fully heal them. Even with cooldown reduction (CDR) mods topping someone off inbetween fights takes about 15 to 20 seconds. That is not fast. Chain Heal is factually Burst Healing, but in this scenario it comes across as passive. Miko can only heal effectively if she can keep herself topped off so her Chain Heal bounce and Regenerator passive effect her allies and this means she is only truly effective in a brawl.
Zero doesn't have these limitations. The only one he really is concerned about is his Recharge bar. He is only truly is a burst healer when it is above 50%. Easy enough to do, new players apparently can't read and will waste the resource in full hp allies but they will learn eventually or just find a game that is more simple.
So where does Zero come short? He isn't amazing at everything. In an extended fight Zerocool has a hard time maintaining his Recharge bar if his allies, or just one, take high amounts of damage over and over and over again. Eventually the bar reaches zero and instead of having his "get out of jail free card" healing he is instead a passive healer who still out paces Kulev but can only heal one dying ally at a time. In this sense Zerocool's biggest weakness is a TREMONDOUS amount of burst damage or allies who are flat out not winning their fights.
This is a weakness all supports have. No matter how much they heal if their allies can't use the health to frag, capture objectives, or just survive then the healing doesn't matter. The other supports bring tools and have playstyles that make up for their lack of healing but more often than not the ability to heal someone to full health in the middle of a fight, or between them, trumps all.
If we were to start factoring in Supers it only gets worse. Now instead of saving the life of one low health ally he is able to save two, simultaneously. Zerocool, the single target healer, drops a 1UP on the doomed player while healing the other who has a chance. As I said in my Supers post I made a few days ago, 1UP comes in clutch.
Miko's Life Force is technically burst healing but it still takes a while to fully heal one ally, especially a tank. Zero can out pace the multi target healer at healing two allies? Big oof.
Kulev easily gets the most healing per game but it is 100% passive healing. You need allies that are smart enough to use the constant health regen to turn fights around. They also need to be smart enough to see when a fight is lost and abandon the Sacred Ground. Kulev is my favorite support but his healing rarely turns fights around. His Good Omen, Curse, and both of his Supers do.
Azrael, like Kulev, doesn't win fights by healing. He does it through his other tools and straight up dueling. His insanely fast combo is great for pressuring but he factually cannot heal a whole team through a fight.
If the message I am trying to make isn't clear let me go out and say it. The only good solo support is Zerocool. The rest need a second support and nine times out of ten, Zero is that second support.
Do we settle on this undeniable truth? What could be changed to give the rest of the support class the edge they need to heal a team alone? Sure the rest of your team can bring self sustain and suddenly the other three look like they might be able to function. But the safety net of Recharge Beam and 1UP are just too amazing. I don't think Zero deserves a nerf so how do the other three supports get buffed to close this massive gap?
Regarding how to balance out the rest of the support roster:
Kulev (and I'll always support this idea) needs anti-healing features to his curse; only that way can he truly be a valuable buffer/debuffer like he was meant to be.
Azrael is in a good position as a secondary support imo, and if we're talking about secondary supports then Miko would also be in a good position (she is a bad version of Zerocool if played as a main support).
Meaning we now have 1 main support/healer (Zerocool), 1 support that needs a buff in order to be a main support and an anti-healer (Kulev, who for now is just a weird fighter in general), and 2 secondary supports (Azrael and Miko). So aside from a Kulev buff, I honestly think that we need a new fighter that is a main support like Zerocool and [the hopefully buffed] Kulev.
@Surrtan I agree that supports offering different functions and tools than each other is a good thing. I do believe they should all ultimately be healers. Right now we have three utility supports and one healer. I like the idea that supports should have tools that aid their allies in more ways than health recovery but unless they are able to challenge Zerocool's healing he will always be the top tier pick.
Kulev having an "anti-heal" on his curse is a good start. I would also advocate for a cleanse on his Good Omen. As for improving his healing I would suggest reducing the duration of Sacred Ground while maintaining the same amount of healing per cast. I would also suggest lowering the CD so it has the same amount of down time, 3 seconds. Some combo of those ideas could really change the way people go about hero select.
Miko I think should have her Chain Heal's CD reduced. This would make her ability to keep up with Zerocool easier without giving her her old God tier self sustain.
Azrael is tough because Guardian has solid healing if you can maintain double digit stacks of Soul Eater. Maybe a slight buff to Guardian and a big buff to Chrysalis healing.
The hard thing with balancing is that changes that seem small or pointless to new or unskilled players can become a change that makes experienced/high tier players unstoppable. Makutu is a prime example. I would like to be able to justify any support functioning as a solo healer. Whether or not that is the route NT intends or wants remains to be seen. If this game gets a ranked mode there will have to be a support rebalance otherwise it will be Zerocool in every match. Or at least always on the winning team.
I just had a thought. Add a bit more skill to Zerocool by making it so if the bar is depleted for half a second the ability is put on a short CD, 5 seconds. It will feel like an eternity but it will hamper Zero from bailing out his team time and time again. I know I started this by suggesting Zerocool shouldn't be nerfed but I might be flipping my opinion. Recharge is just soooooo good