Overwatch

Seagull explains why Overwatch needs hero bans

by Connor Bennett

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Former Overwatch League player Brandon 'Seagull' Larned has explained why a pick and ban system would make sense for Overwatch - detailing how it would affect games on a wide range of skill levels. 

Plenty of competitive games have balancing systems in place to make matches more interesting and have them played on a somewhat even playing field. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has map bans, while MOBA’s like League of Legends and DOTA 2 have hero pick and bans.

The banning of certain heroes depending on the situation of the match-up is something that competitive Overwatch in general, not just the Overwatch League, has yet to pick up on, but Seagull has some interest in seeing it implemented.

Robert Paul / Blizzard Entertainment
Robert Paul / Blizzard Entertainment
Seagull swapped his role on the Dallas Fuel for a streaming lifestyle.

Speaking during his June 29 stream, the former Dallas Fuel star explained that the banning of heroes was tried in custom games in the past and brought out some level of diversity with team comps. 

Yet, he had his own reasons for wanting to see it tried out in other forms of Overwatch. Seagull added: “It makes the game much easier to balance. Imagine Brigette on release was totally busted, Bastion on release that one patch - completely busted. Everything gets kinda busted when it first comes out, except maybe Ashe, but people will just ban them if they’re totally overpowered.”

The former pro-turned streamer continued on, explaining why the system makes sense not only on a skill level basis but also situationally - banning different heroes for different maps and game modes.

“On Paris offense, I want to ban Orisa because bunker comp is a first point Paris defense and on a lot of two CP [Control Point] maps are way too annoying to deal with on ladder so I just instantly ban Orisa on that map,” he stated.

He also added that a pick/ban system would have a “surgical level of balance,” that would ultimately “make the game easier to balance” and everyone can be happy with what they want. 

The 2-2-2 role lock, which will almost certainly signal the death of the GOATS comp and encourage more creative picks, has all but been confirmed for the Overwatch League. While it’s certainly a big change, it isn’t as drastic as being able to completely get rid of a hero for a particular game. 

It remains to be seen if Blizzard follows Seagull’s hopes, and the path laid out by other esports, in implementing a banning system. It would certainly add another level of complexity to competitive play and help weed out those cheese line-ups that everybody hates playing against.