Experimental Card & Hero Pool Coming

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

As expected for any kind of test, Blizzard says that it may make changes to its Hero Pools over time - the week may be extended to longer periods of time, for example, or the Hero Pools could be created to change for every single match rather than on a weekly basis.

Overwatch League and competitive play online will have differing hero pools. Compared to other games like Heroes of the Storm and League of Legends that lock you into playing a single character for an entire match, the concept seemed unusual at the time (assuming you never played Team Fortress 2). Kaplan went on to confirm that Hero Pools will only feature in competitive play and is not now set in stone with Blizzard able to change the system based on how it's functioning.

But for now, I'm wondering why Blizzard won't put ban decisions in the hands of the players. Hero Pools will not be used for midseason tournaments, the play-in tournament, playoffs, or Grand Finals.

The team is looking to implement more frequent and impactful balance updates with the intention to deliberately change the meta. The game starts up, you notice the opposite player with the name of a hero like Reaper, and then, surprise surprise, they pick Reaper.

In a developer video, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan outlined Blizzard's meta-redefining plan.

A Hero Pool could limit the number of occurrences like this.

Additionally, with more impactful changes planned, the team is open to the idea of reverting changes when necessary. This player is a one-trick.

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The 2-2-2 role lock (two tanks, two damage, two support) solved one of those issues, but the meta became stagnant, which is the main reason Blizzard is implementing this pool ban. With Hero Pools, a few heroes will be disabled during Competitive Play for an entire week, and the pool will change weekly.

In addition to this, Blizzard are introducing new experimental cards, in an effort to get more players (particularly the console crowd) involved in testing. Does Blizzard not trust its Overwatch players? Teams will be challenged to be quick on their feet every homestand, with the best all-around roster, in theory, ultimately becoming the champions at the end of the year. By the time 2-2-2 was implemented, we'd seen the Vancouver Titans and San Francisco Shock master and flawless the triple tank, triple support meta that was "GOATS".

Aside from the Hero Pool rotation system, Overwatch will also be starting up an Experimental Card.

The Hero Pool could fix it, it could fix everything. We don't know either - this could be a one-season experiment never to be seen again. With hero pools, teams are forced out of their comfort zone.

An important note Spector brought up in his interview with ESPN was that teams were too zeroed in on certain compositions. The previous goal was to keep stability across the game for players, but now Overwatch's balance will be primarily focused on the meta.

With the meta so stale, I'm glad Blizzard is finally creating a ban system to fill in the problem gaps the role lock didn't.

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