Blizzard has announced that hero pools for all levels of competitive Overwatch will be the same. This includes Overwatch League, Contenders, Open Division, and the game’s competitive game mode.
Additionally, a new algorithm will determine banned heroes. Heroes that are played more often in high-level competitive games will be more likely to be removed. Just as before no hero will be banned two weeks in a row. This method is more reliable than the previous way, where the casters and analysts (and even their pets) drew lots to determine the pools.
The new approach to hero pools is the biggest change since the rule was introduced. This could have benefits both for the professional scene and for regular players.
Benefits for the Overwatch League
Professional players will now be able to practice their compositions during ranked games. This gives them another way, outside of scrims, to prepare for their matches. This changes competitive play from a recreational activity to important practice time for pro players.
With the new changes, the entire Overwatch player base can strategize for that week’s matches. OWL coaches would be wise to keep an eye on high level ranked players streams. These players could discover an effective composition or strategy that the professional teams have not figured out yet.
Benefits for competitive play for everyone
Ranked matches can now more closely match the compositions seen in Overwatch League. The League has a massive impact on the game’s meta for players across most ranks of competitive play. Now strategies that develop in professional play will be possible for all players at the same time.
Another improvement is that the number and type of heroes in the hero pool are standardized. Each week one tank, two damage, and one support will be removed. Extreme hero pools with six heroes (including four damage dealers) are now a thing of the past.
O_O Hero bans for this week! pic.twitter.com/lo3SKONmPx
— Swimmer (@SwimmerOW) March 26, 2020
Hopefully, Blizzard will stick to this approach to hero pools for the foreseeable future. The period since the introduction of hero pools has been very unpredictable, especially for competitive play. The new system will bring much-needed consistency and bring the amateur competitive scene in line with the professional.