Will Overwatch's hero pools move to monthly ban rotations? - Dexerto

Will Overwatch’s hero pools move to monthly ban rotations?

Published: 14/May/2020 17:46 Updated: 14/May/2020 17:51

by Michael Gwilliam


Overwatch’s hero pools have proven to be a controversial addition to the game since being introduced. Despite many modifications to the bans to appease top players, retirements and burnout are at new highs. This has lead to speculation that another change could be coming soon.

Hero pools were introduced to keep the meta from stagnating with the most-played characters (two DPS, one support, and one tank) getting removed from rotation every week.

While the intention was good and makes for hero diversity in pro and organized play, with the meta changing so frequently, coaches and players have been forced to work long hours in order to crack the meta before their matches.

Blizzard Entertainment
Mei is a character frequently eligible for a ban.

Discussion surged on social media after Houston Outlaws assistant coach Chris ‘Dream’ Myrick took to Twitter to voice his frustration with how weekly pools have made coaches lives “hell.”

“I’ve never been more frustrated with the community and their separation from the competitive scene than when I read the Reddit thread about how hero pools are great,” he wrote. “Hero pools are the worst thing ever to happen to Overwatch.”

According to Dream, the system makes improvement extremely difficult. “You can’t watch film of yourself or your opponent because it’ll never be the same meta again,” he wrote.

He added that hero pools will lead to more retirements unless they fundamentally change.

One popular idea gaining momentum is an increase in hero rotation length to allow the meta to develop further.

“Without hero pools or a pick ban system we end up in a situation where we’re stuck in a meta for a year and teams are are still abysmal with no recourse,” streamer and commentator Connor ‘Avast’ Prince stated.

“I think Hero Pool durations need to be increased or we go to a pick ban.”

With OWL now moving towards a monthly tournament format with the weeks leading up to it serving as qualifying matches, this could be an ideal time to introduce extended bans that last the duration of the month.

Blizzard Entertainment
McCree is often one of the two DPS banned.

Currently, the Overwatch League pick rates dictate which heroes will be eligible for bans. Previously, bans varied from OWL to live with Blizzard themselves curating the bans for the live version of the game. This was later changed for only high ELO games determining bans for OWL and the rest of the playerbase.

Now, bans are only a factor in games where the average SR between both teams is 3,500 (Masters) and above with pick rates exclusively determining which heroes are removed from play. This will revert back to being high ELO games once the OWL season concludes.

It will be interesting to see how Blizzard further approaches hero pools now and if they decide extending the bans will be the right approach. The only question will be how the Masters-and-above crowd will take to not being able to play a certain hero for an entire month.


Blizzard changes Overwatch Priority Pass again to stop system abuse

Published: 16/Jan/2021 2:04

by Andrew Amos


Blizzard has implemented more changes to their Overwatch Priority Pass program to stop players from abusing the system to get their preferred role more often.

The Priority Pass system in Overwatch has been a successful addition so far. Giving players the option to jump the queue for high-traffic roles by sacrificing a few games has helped tackle the game’s long queue times.

However, it hasn’t been without its flaws. Game quality has been pulled into question, with people playing off-role for these passes. Also, people have been abusing the current system to just stack passes quickly by intentionally losing.

The Priority Pass system in Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Priority Passes have been a hit with Overwatch players, but it’s not perfect.

Blizzard are looking to crack down on the latter issue with their latest changes to Priority Pass on January 15.

“Our data indicates that the Priority Pass is functioning as intended, generally providing shorter queue times for those who use them. The goal of the Priority Pass is to improve player experience and get players into matches quicker,” community manager Josh Nash told players.

“In the same vein, we don’t want this feature to have a negative impact on the quality of matches for yourself or others. We want to do our part to discourage players from intentionally losing and ruining matches for the sake of earning priority passes.”

If you lose a match while playing for passes, you’ll only gain one pass instead of two. This will stop players from just inting their games for the ticket.

Blizzard are also refunding passes to players if they queued up for a role using Priority Pass, but then had to wait longer than the estimated time for it.

Oni Genji Overwatch skin
These changes mean you won’t burn through your passes as quickly.

These changes are active immediately, so you can make use of them straight away. Blizzard are continuing to tweak the system as time goes on, and are “ looking into how we can better communicate when you are rewarded passes after playing a match.”