The new batch of Overwatch Hero Pools were decided following the conclusion of OWL matches on April 12, and have caused controversy amongst fans.
While the previous format had two different pools: one for pro and another for ladder, the new unified pools are decided entirely off high-level ranked play.
Even though in theory it’s good that pools are the same on all levels, from Competitive play to Contenders to Overwatch League, the metas that form in organized play may differ from ladder.
Over on Reddit, user Xzinonn took issue with the fact that Mei wasn’t eligible to be banned despite having a high pick rate in pro play.
“This system is actually horrid, picks being influenced off of the ranked hero rates,” they wrote. “People play what they find FUN there, not always what is meta.”
When Hero Pools were first announced, Game Director Jeff Kaplan stressed that their goal was to shake up the meta, though it really only develops in organized environments.
Caster Josh ‘Sideshow’ Wilkinson made a similar observation during a Twitch stream. “You know what the worst part of this system is? People play in ranked what they think is fun, not just what they think is good.”
“So, the more fun a hero is, the more likely it is to be played in ranked, the more likely it is to be banned,” he laughed.
Another Reddit post, this time by rydarus, echoed the statements about Mei not being eligible. Titled “Hero Pools based off of ranked stats will only create unenjoyable metas. They have to go,” the user claimed it was “absolutely criminal” for Mei to not be eligible for a ban while Genji and Ashe were.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) April 13, 2020
One possible system that Blizzard could implement would be to have Overwatch League pick rates impact Hero Pools for Grand Master games while ranks below GM would have a different set of pools.
The system is still new and has some ironing out to do, so hopefully a good compromise is made before the season ends.
The next batch of Hero Pools go live April 13 and will see Reinhardt, Brigitte, Widowmaker, and McCree removed from rotation.