Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer has confirmed that Overwatch League Stage 4 will not include the new Hanzo.
The news was originally leaked by Dallas Fuel’s Brandon ‘Seagull’ Larned and confirmed by Overwatch League analyst Josh ‘Sideshow’ Wilkinson, but this is the first official comment on the matter.
The Overwatch League is played on a tournament realm that is only updated between stages, to ensure that all matches within a stage are completed under the same conditions.
As the league moves into Stage 4 teams will be competing on a new patch, but not necessarily the same patch that is currently being played in the live game. In the past, major content additions such as new maps or heroes have been left out if released too close to the start of a new stage, so that players are given time to adapt to big changes before competing around them with the stakes of the league.
The new Hanzo is one such major change set to be left out. While not an entirely new hero, Hanzo recently received a large overhaul that significantly affects his place and capabilities in the game.
While the new Hanzo has had a slightly mixed reception in-game, with some believing him now to be too strong, many OWL viewers wished to see him included in Stage 4 to avoid watching an entire stage on a very noticeably outdated version of the game. There was even a petition for Blizzard to include the new version of Hanzo which received more than 9,000 signatures.
Many viewers had hoped the League’s silence on the matter might mean the decision wasn’t yet final, but in a statement to DotEsports Commissioner Nate Nanzer confirmed that the upcoming stage will be played on the patch before the Hanzo rework.
"The league and the developers share the goal of Overwatch League play being on the latest patch possible, with certain exceptions. One is if it would be unfair to introduce a new patch mid-stage, in the heat of competition. Another reason is if we feel a new hero, or a significantly reworked hero, hasn’t been available for our teams to practice long enough in advance of the start of the stage."
Nanzer also commented that there is a “potential bug in Patch 1.23 which inhibits the ability to accurately resume play on an escort map should a pause or disconnect occur”, which could be disastrous should such an error occur in a league match.
Stage 4 of the Overwatch League will begin on Wednesday May 16th, and conclude on Sunday June 17th.