Overwatch announces sweeping changes to Competitive Map and Hero Pools - Dexerto

Overwatch announces sweeping changes to Competitive Map and Hero Pools

Published: 9/Apr/2020 19:11 Updated: 9/Apr/2020 19:18

by Bill Cooney


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.

Paris' incredible skyline with the Eifel tower in the background in Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Paris is one of Overwatch’s most controversial maps, but players in Competitive won’t have to worry about it much longer.

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.

Blizzard Entertainment
Popular heroes, such as Moira and Doomfist, could be first in line to sit on the sidelines.

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.

Blizzard Entertainment
Players won’t have to worry about Horizon coming up in Competitive going forward for a while.

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.


Overwatch reveals drop rates for loot box items and skins

Published: 27/Nov/2020 23:45

by Michael Gwilliam


Overwatch has finally revealed the official drop rates for loot box items such as skins and sprays within the in-game client.

Players logging in can now check out the exact rates for standard loot box items in a special page in the home screen menu. The page provides a lot of details for those trying to complete their cosmetic collections.

Some of the information is already pretty standard, with each loot box containing either four items or three items with credits. However, each loot box includes at least one item of rare or higher quality.

The description goes on to further state that, on average, an epic quality item will be found in one out of every 5.5 loot boxes and legendary items found in every 13.5.

Oni Genji Overwatch skin
Legendary Overwatch skins are the rarest.

Furthermore, they list common items as having a 99% drop rate, rare at 94%, epic with 18.5% and legendary a mere 7.5%.

These rates only apply for standard loot boxes, however, and not seasonal loot boxes such as the upcoming Winter Wonderland, Archive or Anniversary events.

Amusingly, the page also states that items obtained through loot boxes will not give any additional advantage while playing the game.

Overwatch loot box drop rates
Blizzard revealed the loot box drop rates.

While, for the most part this is true, some players have discovered some slight advantages of using, for example, barefoot D.Va or Pharah skins to mask their footsteps.

That said, aside from these rather niche instances, Overwatch has been good at completely avoiding pay-to-win components that have plagued other games.

Loot boxes have long been under fire from both politicians and players who view the practice as a form of gambling.

Sombra fires Machine Pistol
Many players and politicians took aim at loot boxes.

In 2017, China forced Blizzard to reveal the exact drop rates for games such as Overwatch and Hearthstone.

Elsewhere, in the United States, Republican Senator Josh Hawley proposed the “Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act” which took aim at loot boxes and other pay-to-win practices.

However, to combat this, several companies including Activision Blizzard agreed to disclose drop rates for their titles.

At least now Overwatch players can sleep easy knowing exactly what their odds are for unlocking certain skins.