Six years of playing Overwatch has taught me that PC gamers always go above and beyond to gain the slightest advantage against the other team. Some will dominate every hero so they can fill any role, others will get so frighteningly good at a particular hero that they can’t be beaten, and some will just install a few tricks. I thought I had seen it all, until I saw a Mercy motorized player.
Last weekend, Overwatch streamer EvilToaster tweeted a video clip of his encounter with Mercy’s strange player, Draco. He stood out from the average Mercy player because instead of periodically switching between his yellow healing beam and blue damage-boosting beam depending on the situation, Draco’s beam would rapidly change from yellow to blue hundreds of times a minute without stop.
I ran into a Mercy player in Overwatch today who, no joke, hooked up a motor to the free-moving scroll wheel on their G502 mouse so they could switch between healing and damage boosting so fast it does both at the same time, if you’re not doing it, you’re playing tbh pic.twitter.com/56ioQXMP8OApril 4, 2022
EvilToaster and his group were a little weird. “I’m not grieving man,” Draco said. When asked later in the match how he was pedaling skills so quickly, Draco revealed his trick: a custom motor working in tandem with a Logitech G502 mouse to spin the free-scrolling mouse wheel as fast as possible.
Despite the streamer’s enthusiastic requests, Draco initially did not share photos of his motorized mouse – a unsatisfactory end (opens in new tab) for a fun date.
I caught up with Draco this week to find out more about the project, and it’s even cooler than he made it out to be. The motor isn’t really attached to the mouse as I originally thought, but integrated into a glove that he wears while gaming. The glove motor spins a rubber wheel which, when pressed on the mouse, starts to roll down the mouse wheel super fast. By mapping Mercy’s healing to “scroll down” and holding down the damage boost with the right mouse button, Draco is able to essentially use both abilities at the same time. Draco sent me a little demo of the mouse below:
It’s a pretty cool (albeit a bit noisy) effect that works surprisingly well. In practice, it looks like you’re getting the best of both worlds from Mercy, but Draco says it’s not perfect. He estimates that the power mouse can produce “about 80% or 90%” of the healing it achieves by holding down the button normally.
As for the damage boost, whether or not it really helps is up to the hero. Since there are milliseconds of time when the damage boost is off, it works best with heroes with high fire rates. “Let’s say Winston or Zarya, for example,” Draco explained. “They have faster rates of fire, so they sync up better with the timing of the damage increase. But on someone like Pharah [who shoots a single rocket every second or two]it’s a coinflip whether she gets the damage boost or not.”
Because of the motorized mouse’s limitations, he only uses it when his team is using certain hero combinations and when he can play as Mercy. In the six months he’s used it in Overwatch, Draco says strange reactions from teammates have become commonplace.
A motor-assisted mouse strikes me as a gray area in terms of fairness, so I was curious if Draco, a Diamond-rated Overwatch player, thinks his gadget has noticeably improved his Overwatch position. “I don’t think it specifically increases my rank. It’s of little use if my teammates are playing certain heroes,” he said. “I use it more for playing games and having something fun to talk about. People’s reactions are hilarious. If I really want to put in the effort in a game, I’ll play any of the other supports, whichever is best for the team.”
Draco came up with the motorized mouse as a way to start teaching himself the fundamentals of engineering and tuning. He originally wanted to find a way to integrate a motor inside the mouse to turn the wheel, but calculated that would require “an engineering degree and a 3D printer, both of which I don’t have,” he said. “I don’t have any previous experience of actually making stuff. I actually wanted to be an electrician and/or engineer sometime in the future. I’ve always found YouTube videos to be super interesting where people make and design their own stuff.”
The design he ended up with is perhaps crude, but it’s surprisingly elegant. The glove setup means that when he needs to change his normal control setup, he can simply turn off the engine and take the glove off.
“I’m super happy with the result, it’s very funny.”