Overwatch Feb 4 PTR Patch notes – Hero Pools, new Workshop modes & maps

Overwatch heroesBlizzard

Patch 1.45 has just been released on Overwatch’s Public Test Region (PTR) and implements the recently revealed Hero Pools feature for competitive play, as well as a sprawling set of additions to the Workshop mode.

Announced by Jeff Kaplan on January 30, Hero Pools are the newest feature set to shake up Overwatch’s competitive playlists. The community didn’t have to wait long for the feature to arrive either, as it lands in the newest PTR update.

Alongside the Hero Pool changes, the latest patch significantly overhauls the Workshop suite, allowing for a simpler means of creation for savvy Overwatch players. Along with a wide array of bug fixes and quality of life improvements, Patch 1.45 appears to be the biggest update in quite some time.

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Overwatch hero TorbjornBlizzard
Workshop mode allows players to create totally unique experiences in Overwatch, and the design process has just been made simpler than ever.

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Publicized in a February 4 blog post, Hero Pools have been implemented on the PTR. Aiming to keep the meta from stagnating, the new feature will restrict certain heroes on a weekly basis, and create metas along the way.

“We think this feature will help keep Competitive Play interesting, as team compositions will change more frequently during a season.”

Throughout the first week with the feature in effect, Wrecking Ball has been disabled from the Tank lineup, while Genji and McCree have been pulled from DPS play, and Baptiste locked out of Support lineups.

Overwatch Hero PoolsBlizzard
A look at the new Hero Pools feature in effect on the PTR.

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Stuns are a major focal point of the latest update, with all stun effects being updated on the PTR. Rapid stuns will not have an impact on heroes that have already been hit by a longer stun for instance. 

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In the example provided, McCree’s Flashbang stun won’t take effect on a target that was just hit by Reinhardt’s Earthshatter.

Smaller quality of life changes have also been introduced. Mei’s Ice Wall will now display a unique visual appearance when under half health, and the time to assemble heroes at the beginning of a match has been reduced by five seconds, from 40 down to 35.

Also featured in the latest patch is a wide array of Workshop updates. Three new custom game maps have been added to allow creators more freedom than ever before. Aptly titled Workshop Chamber, Workshop Island, and Workshop Expanse, these areas will be exclusive to Workshop modes. 

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The full list of adjustments implemented with patch 1.45 are as follows:

New Feature: Hero Pools

  • We will be introducing Hero Pools starting in Season 21 of Competitive Play. Much like Map Pools, rather than having all heroes available for play at all times, a weekly changing list of heroes will be available. The list will include the vast majority of the hero roster, with only a few being excluded during any given week. We think this feature will help keep Competitive Play interesting, as team compositions will change more frequently during a season. It is important to note that Hero Pools is a new feature that may not last past this initial season. Throughout the season, we will be adjusting the types of Hero Pools available. In addition, it is possible we will also adjust the frequency with which they change.


  • The Game Mode selector in the Career Profile is now sorted more logically to make it easier to use.
  • A group leader may not use the Leave as Group option while a competitive game is currently in progress.
  • The initial Assemble Heroes timer for games using the Assault, Hybrid, Control, and Payload game modes has been reduced from 40 to 35 seconds.
  • Mei’s Ice Wall now has a visual damaged state when under half health
  • Updated the interactions between all stuns (Flashbang, Earthshatter, Freeze, Sleep, Accretion) to be more consistent.

Workshop Updates:

New Workshop features:

  • Custom Game Maps:
    • Workshop Chamber
    • Workshop Island
    • Workshop Expanse
  • Script Diagnostics Panel
  • Subroutines

New Workshop actions:

  • Start Healing Modification
  • Stop Healing Modification
  • Stop All Healing Modifications
  • Enable Inspector Recording
  • Disable Inspector Recording
  • If
  • Else If
  • Else
  • While
  • End
  • For Global Variable
  • For Player Variable
  • Call Subroutine
  • Start Rule

New Workshop values:

  • Event Was Health Pack
  • Last Healing Modification ID

Workshop Updates:

  • Action and Condition Comments
  • Melee and Reload Button Options
  • Added Sort Order Reevaluation Options for Create HUD Text
  • The Skip and Skip If actions now accept 0 for the number of actions to skip (so they just go on to the next action)
  • A Wait action is no longer required before a Loop
  • Straightened Beam Effects
  • Set Status/Clear Status behavior merged with gameplay stuns (e.g. Clear Status can now clear a freeze that was caused by gameplay, not just a freeze set via Workshop itself)
  • Custom Game settings now support Copy-Paste

Workshop Optimizations:

  • Set Global Variable
  • Set Player Variable
  • Modify Global Variable
  • Modify Player Variable
  • Set Global Variable At Index
  • Set Player Variable At Index
  • Modify Global Variable At Index
  • Modify Player Variable At Index
  • Loop
  • Loop If
  • Abort
  • Abort If
  • Skip
  • Skip If

Bug Fixes:


  • Killing B.O.B no longer grants score for FFA and Team Deathmatch
  • Competitive Seasons are now listed in the correct order in career profile
  • Replay list should no longer have invisible entries
  • Fixed a bug where avoided teammates did not appear in the avoided teammate list if they were not also in the recent player list
  • Fixed a bug where the Player Outline Strength gameplay option did not adjust the opacity of player outlines
  • Fixed GPU temperature query on newer AMD hardware and drivers


  • Fixed a bug that caused Reinhardt’s Earthshatter not to work correctly on Petra’s collapsible floor
  • The breakable floor is now targetable by Reaper’s Shadow Step, Symmetra’s Teleporter, or Doomfist’s Seismic Slam



  • Fixed a bug that could cause B.O.B’s charge to end early on stairs.


  • Fixed a bug where, occasionally, the explosion for Junkrat’s mine would appear near the top of his head instead of on the mine.


  • Fixed a bug that could cause Mercy to not get a skull/hit marker on assists.

Wrecking Ball

    • Fixed a bug that prevented Wrecking Ball’s voice lines from playing when opened in loot boxes.

Custom Game:

  • Fixed an issue preventing player invites when the custom game was imported via a share code
  • Fixed an issue where preset slots could be overridden when saving settings from another player’s custom game
  • Fixed an issue that allowed skirmishing friends to get into your custom game when the “Allow Skirmishers” option was disabled


  • Fixed an issue where Sigma’s Primary Fire was sometimes disabled when disabling Experimental Barrier via Custom Game Settings
  • Fixed an issue preventing Has Status from working correctly when querying the Unkillable status
  • Fixed an issue where scores in Deathmatch display incorrectly if the score is set to a high number via Workshop actions
  • Fixed an issue preventing setting scores or declaring victory in Team Deathmatch from working correctly via Workshop actions
  • Fixed an issue where Training Bots sometimes wouldn’t respawn in Practice Range
  • Fixed an issue preventing the Sleep status from being interrupted early via Workshop actions
  • Fixed an issue with the Death Spectate actions when Enable and Disable are alternated repeatedly
  • Fixed an issue causing the Buff Impact sound to play twice
  • Fixed an issue causing the pitch (vertical) angle to be reset when using the Teleport action
  • Fixed an issue preventing Disable Built-In Game Mode Completion from working in certain modes
  • Fixed an issue where effects sometimes were the wrong size and color