Hero Pools have proven to be quite controversial since coming to Overwatch and the Overwatch League earlier this year. Because of this, Blizzard is once again making changes to how they work.
Say goodbye to Hero Pools below Master rank
Going forward, Blizzard has announced that they will only have Hero Pools in the Overwatch League and at the Master and Grandmaster ranks. Any game with an average Skill Rating (SR) of above 3,500 will have Hero Bans, regardless of what SR the player is. This also means that games below Master rank will be able to play any Hero they want regardless of bans, even if an individual player’s SR is higher than 3,500.
On the forum post revealing the changes, Scott Mercer states that Hero Pools aren’t necessary at lower ranks. The bans exist to help prevent the meta from growing stale, but these ranks already have enough Hero diversity. At lower ranks, players tend to play a wide range of Heroes anyways, so the bans don’t do much.
Overwatch League stats will determine Hero Bans
For the past several weeks, Blizzard has used data from both the Overwatch League and high-level competitive play to determine who was more likely to sit out of the rotation. Now, they will only use data from the Overwatch League.
In addition to this, Mercer states that they will redefine the Hero Pool algorithm. This should make it so more than just the same few Heroes get banned. As of right now, it seems like the same Heroes are getting banned because they are the ones that high-level players pick the most. This should help create more diversity in the high-level competitive meta.
Players will have to patch Overwatch to get the latest update. Be sure to stay tuned for more information on Hero Pools and other Overwatch-related news!