Overwatch's Jeff Kaplan reveals potential hero pool rework - Dexerto
Overwatch

Overwatch’s Jeff Kaplan reveals potential hero pool rework

Published: 25/Mar/2020 16:33

by Michael Gwilliam

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Hero pools are entering their third week of Overwatch’s competitive ranked mode and while Game Director Jeff Kaplan views them as a success, there could still be some major changes in the works.

As it stands, every week, four heroes are out of rotation and cannot be picked by anyone on either team. Thus far, each week has been different and no two heroes have been banned two weeks in a row.

The end result is causing players needing to think outside the box with how they approach forming their team compositions. That said, the pools could have a negative effect on players who choose to one-trick only one character – something Kaplan discussed in an interview with PCGamesN.

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Hero pools can enable characters who are normally countered.

“We’re in total wait and see mode on hero pools. So far the early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive for Overwatch League – the fans love it,” the Vice President of Blizzard said.

“They’re seeing all this hero diversity they’ve never seen before so that’s been great. For players, they’re experiencing it for the first time right now so I don’t think any of us have lived with it long enough to know.”

In the Overwatch League, the bans are different, with the top played heroes each week having the chance to be placed into the pool based on a draw. Additionally, unlike in ladder play, the league always has two DPS heroes out of rotation and never more than one tank or support.

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Hero pools can radically change the gameplay experience.

Due to how the meta can stagnate, pools are designed to keep things fresh and prevent one super-powerful team composition from dominating week after week. But what about in ladder?

“So what we’re really talking about would be the Mercy main who only plays competitive Overwatch and is not willing to do anything else for a week,” he said. “It’s easy to blow that off and go, ‘you can’t go play mystery heroes? Or can you just play Moira or Baptiste for a week?’ It’s easy to dismiss it but I think that the feedback is valid and real.”

According to Jeff, the team is still going full-steam ahead with hero pools, but they’re considering several changes that would completely change how they function.

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With main tanks out of rotation, the game opens up.

“I’ll give you an example of some tweaks and changes we’ve explored. We’re not necessarily pulling the trigger on these, these are just like brainstorm ideas but if that Mercy main issue is real, and I think it is, maybe hero pools should be daily,” he revealed.

Daily hero pools would keep the meta in an even stranger position with players having only 24 hours to figure out what the best team is. That said, Kaplan admitted that such a radical change would have its own set of challenges.

“That causes other problems, it really makes it hard for any meta to solidify but is that Mercy main okay, that for a couple hours at night, they can’t play Mercy? Another idea is maybe hero pools only apply to a certain skill rating, like Masters and above, because the reality is, the meta only really, truly exists at around that level.”

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Hero pools could be a negative experience for one-tricks.

It would certainly be interesting if hero pools only started emerging in the higher ELOs of play, but as Jeff concluded, it’s still too early to say for sure about what direction the team should go.

Only time will tell what exactly the future holds for Overwatch’s newest core competitive element, but it’s clear developers will be working on it for some time to come.

Overwatch

Overwatch Oct 29 update buffs McCree, Mei, Brig and more: patch notes

Published: 29/Oct/2020 18:47 Updated: 29/Oct/2020 18:51

by Michael Gwilliam

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A new Overwatch patch has just gone live on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, bringing in several major buffs from the Experimental Card, but not Baptiste’s Amplification Matrix increase.

Notably, for fans of McCree, they’ll be pleased to know that his reload speed has been buffed along with his health, going from 200 to 225.

The change in health may seem minor, but in the heat of battle, it can be the difference between landing a fatal shot on an enemy or dying before firing that last bullet.

Mei has also received a massive buff with her ammo not being restored by 15 per second when she’s in Cryo-Freeze. This should make her a massive threat when she’s healing up as when she comes out, she’ll be locked and loaded.

Mei uses ice block
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Mei will now gain ammo when in her block.

Additionally, her Ice Wall sees its cooldown reduced, so that ability will be up more often.

Moving onto Brigitte, the shield maiden is getting a small health buff, which should help her get the Inspire passive online and improve her survivability.

Meanwhile, Baptiste is getting several changes by being able to shoot faster at the expense of losing one damage per shot and sees her healing buffed by 10.

McCree on Hanamura
Blizzard Entertainment
McCree just got a lot deadlier.

However, the big Amplification Matrix buff is not going through yet. Community Manager Josh Nash wrote that the dev team thinks, “the width increase from 5 to 9 meters is a positive change to Baptiste’s gameplay because it makes the ability more easily usable for his allies without gathering closely together. We’re planning to add this update to the live game in an upcoming patch after an art polish pass.”

Finally, Widowmaker is getting a small health nerf with her base HP dropping from 200 to 175. This should help keep her in check at the highest levels of play.

Full patch notes:

HERO UPDATES

Baptiste

Biotic Launcher

  • (Primary Fire) Recovery time reduced from 0.45 to 0.38 seconds
  • (Primary Fire) Damage reduced from 25 to 24
  • (Secondary Fire) Recovery increased from 0.8 to 0.9 seconds
  • (Secondary Fire) Healing increased from 50 to 60

Developer Comments: We’re making some adjustments to Baptiste’s Biotic Launcher firing cadence that will make dealing damage quicker and landing a healing grenade more impactful.

Brigitte

General

  • Base health increased from 150 to 175

McCree

General

  • Base health increased from 200 to 225

Peacekeeper

  • (General) Reload time reduced from 1.5 to 1.2 seconds

Mei

Cryo-Freeze

  • Now restores 15 ammo per second

Ice Wall

  • Cooldown lowered from 13 to 12 seconds

Developer Comments: Since we previously made Mei’s primary fire relatively more expensive, she spends more time out of ammo and this was particularly noticeable when unable to reload while in Cryo-Freeze. To help smooth out this gameplay she now regains some ammo during Cryo-Freeze.

Symmetra

General

  • Base shields increased from 100 to 125

Widowmaker

General

  • Base health reduced from 200 to 175

Developer Comments: We’re making some max health adjustments in 25 HP increments to allow for more fine tuning of heroes’ power. Until now this was done in 50 HP increments to help simplify the understanding how many hits an enemy hero could withstand.