Preceding the announcement of the Mercy Recall event, Blizzard released a short story called “Valkyrie”. This story sees Dr. Angela Ziegler trying to help in war-torn Cairo, where she runs into Jack Morrison and Ana Amari. Through this interaction, she struggles with the idea of joining the fight as Mercy once again. She also reflects on her decision to join Overwatch and where that path led her. Here are a few takeaways from the 26-page-long story.
The Valkyrie story starts with Ziegler thinking back to the loss of her parents, who died in the first Omnic Crisis. This loss bookends the story, with Mercy saving two children whose parents perished as well. This framing provides the crux of Ziegler’s decision to rejoin the fight; she saw the necessity of ending this for the good of all.
Throughout the story, she is seen as solely wanting to help people. When joining Overwatch, her reasoning was that it was the fastest route to production of her technologies, revolutionizing the medical industry and betterment of all lives. Even in battle she would focus on saving lives rather than tactics or strategy. But is there something deeper to this altruism?
Sparing a philosophical debate on the definition of altruism, parts of this story imply Ziegler has a ‘Savior Complex’. At one point she said, “there were people here who needed me. Egypt had too many problems and not enough people who were willing to help”. While assisting others, especially as a doctor, is always a good thing, it can give the assistor an inflated sense of self-worth or a dependence on saving people for validation.
Ziegler perhaps is experiencing this, as she not only mentions her “vast reserve of heroism,” but exhibits a boosted ego as a result of her technology. When Morrison recruits her to Overwatch, she nearly scoffs at the idea he could have comprehended her research paper. When she rescued the two kids, she was disappointed that they had not heard of her nanobiotics. And even more so her ego is buffed by her ability to fly, as she noted how flight had changed everyone’s perspectives, but “none of them had flown like I had”.
While this could be over-analysis of a simple, feel-good story, it seems worth noting. It provides depth to this potentially one-dimensional character and could be used against her by Talon or affect other story arcs down the road.
This story provides a bit more context to Jack Morrison’s motivations as the masked Soldier 76. It provides a glimpse at his fall from grace, and how him and Reaper have become two sides of the same coin. Once a great strategist and commander who took things by the book, Morrison has become a masked vigilante hunting down the members of Talon. “Someone has to make them pay. I will get justice,” he said. This provides a poetic mirroring of Gabriel Reyes, who became Reaper and is going after former Overwatch members.
In the flashback to Ziegler’s admission to the task force, the description of the room has two items that stick out. The first is a leather-bound copy of Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War. This ancient text is a first-hand account of the war between Athens and Sparta, comprised of two distinct phases separated by a period of tenuous peace. There is a symbolism here between the Omnic Crises and Peloponnesian War. Morrison’s knowledge of the text shows his knowledge of military history, but this also foreshadows the events of the Second Omnic crisis and conflict set to occur in Overwatch 2.
The other item of note in Morrison’s office is his chessboard and copy of Bobby Fischer’s My 60 Memorable Games. Fischer is widely considered to be the greatest chess player of all time, but this book is unusual because unlike other chess memoirs, it includes accounts of his losses and draws. Morrison has pored over this book as it is described as dog-eared. This shows the significance strategy held to him, as well as being able to learn from failed missions. But in the present day, much of this attitude is gone as Morrison sticks to the shadows and does whatever it takes to achieve what he thinks is right.
While the Baptiste short story provided the new character of Mauga (who was set to be the new hero before they decided the move-set was more fitting for Sigma), there is no such character in the Valkyrie story. Sojourn is one of the upcoming heroes, but the story indicates she has been laying low in Canada. This sets her up to be a new addition alongside the Toronto map when Overwatch 2 releases. Beyond that, there is nothing suggesting new heroes in this story.
As far as abilities go, the only one mentioned is the healing ability of Mercy’s Caduceus Staff. In the lore, her flight is not limited as the Guardian Angel ability is in-game, and there is no discussion of the Resurrect ability. This is likely just a gameplay mechanic in the way Zenyatta’s Orbs of Harmony and Discord are not canon.
Ziegler mentions her time spent doing humanitarian work in Poland, South Korea and Venezuela. In Venezuela, she worked alongside Reinhardt, Genji and Winston to clear rocks after a storm, but this is also where she met Baptiste as told in the “What You Left Behind” story.
She notes the weight of the Valkyrie suit, which also has self-cleansing contact lenses that clear the burning smoke from her eyes.
The battle Ana lost her eye to Widowmaker in occurred in Poland.
Ana wears the Shrike mask in this story, not the Bastet mask.
Ziegler’s condition for joining Overwatch was that she got access to more postdoctoral researchers.
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Featured image courtesy of Kim-Seang “Nesskain” Hong at Blizzard Entertainment.