Overwatch will be rolling out substantial updates to its Hero and Map Pool systems, after going through feedback from fans and the community.
Map Pools were introduced in late 2019, and Hero Pools were added in March 2020. Now, devs say they’ve gotten plenty of feedback from players and fans to make substantial changes to both.
Based on these community responses, devs will be implementing sweeping changes for Map Pools, some that were suggested before, and to make Hero Pools more consistent.
In a blog post on April 9, developers explained that they would be “unifying” the hero pools between the Overwatch League and the general game.
“Starting April 13, we intend to address this by having a single, unified Hero Pool,” devs said. “Allowing both the Overwatch League and Competitive Play to mirror each other as closely as possible and making a more consistent viewing and play experience.”
To determine the hero pool each week, Blizzard will look at the hero pick rates from “high-level Competitive Play matches from the preceding two weeks.”
Heroes that are picked above a “certain threshold” will be on the chopping block for the week; the more a hero is chosen, the more likely they are to be in the next Hero Pool.
Based on all of that, developers will remove one Tank, two DPS and one Support randomly from play each week. Heroes can’t be removed from play for two weeks in a row, so the bans will be for different characters each week.
We’ll find out which heroes are removed at the end of Overwatch League matches on Sunday. On weeks where OWL isn’t happening, we’ll find out on Monday morning. The new Hero Pools will still be applied on Monday in both cases.
Developers also admitted that Map Pools hasn’t worked out exactly the way they had intended and would be making all maps, except for Paris and Horizon Lunar Colony, available in Competitive Play.
This was actually an idea suggested by players as well, and devs hinted they would be working on both Paris and Horizon to “improve their play” in the future before adding them back to the rotation.
We don’t have any word on when we might see Paris or Horizon updated, but it’s good to see Blizzard is still willing to tweak the maps to make them enjoyable for players.
This update is really a win-win for the community since Hero Pools will have more consistency (we hope), and there will be 19 maps to play on, minus the two least-popular.