Overwatch

Overwatch introduces huge update for Hero Pools

by Bill Cooney
Blizzard Entertainment

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Overwatch developers announced massive changes coming to the game's Hero Pool system that will drastically affect how the feature works for players.

The Hero Pool system was first introduced in January 2020 for Competitive play, and it's become a controversial topic among fans. Some don't mind it, but others hate the system and feel it puts unnecessary restrictions on how to play the game.

Now, Overwatch Developer Scott Mercer has announced a massive change coming soon that will limit Hero Pools to only Masters and Grandmasters players.

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Players below Masters level in Comp won't have to worry about Hero Pools once devs make the change.

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Mercer explained that developers were doing away with hero pools for all but the top two ranks, because lower tiers usually see a greater variety of heroes, anyway.

"Competitive Play at lower skill tiers already sees a tremendous amount of hero composition diversity in their matches," Mercer said. "And we don’t think they need a system like Hero Pools to encourage even more."

A full patch will be required to make these changes, but in the meantime, Mercer revealed that devs would just be temporarily disabling Hero Pools starting on Monday, May 4, until patch 1.48 arrives with the update.

Scott Mercer/Blizzard Entertainment

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While plenty of people are welcoming the changes, others are concerned that it could lead to an increase in surfing, or players intentionally tanking games to get down to a lower competitive rank.

Before, this was done just to be able to flex on players who you wouldn't normally be queued with based on skill level - but now, it would be a way for Masters and GM players to "escape" from hero pools.

Hero Pool eligibility will also be exclusively based on OWL pick rates starting this weekend, no longer taking high-level competitive play into consideration.

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Some in the Overwatch community have been asking for Hero Pool changes for awhile, and Blizzard seems to have delivered.

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After a tough week for Overwatch, with some of the most high profile players jumping ship, the changes to Hero Pools are good news for players who want to stick with the game.