Published: Mon, February 03, 2020
Tech | By Anita Cain

Blizzard Announces Hero Pools, Experimental Card

Blizzard Announces Hero Pools, Experimental Card

This is a new Card on the Play screen that will allow Blizzard to test major changes before Blizzard devs decide (or not) to implement them in the standard game modes.

Many Overwatch players have been hoping for some time that Blizzard would bring in a hero ban system to keep the game from stagnating.

Hero Pools will be in place for the next competitive season, Season 21, which will start in March, and will either be a one-off or could become something more permanent, depending on feedback from players.

The newly revealed Hero Pool system will function like you'd expect a ban system to work, except players won't be the ones choosing the bans.

According to a developer update released, the new system will look at the champion play-rate data from the previous week of Overwatch and ban one tank, one support, and two damage heroes for the following week.

Lastly, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan explains in the new developer update video. "This Experimental Card will be some number of changes, they might be related to hero balance, they might be related to other things", Kaplan says. Kaplan also said that they are now more open to the idea of reverting the changes they've made once they are already live. The Experimental Card is different from the PTR and is not meant to test bugs. Instead of the Public Test Realm (PTR), this will be integrated into the full game, and the progress and experience that players gain from participating in the Experimental play will further their levels and progress on their account. Each week will see a new pool of heroes spotlighted and curated by the design team, in a bid to have the meta altered weekly and ensure a more diverse set of heroes during matches. Experimental Card will be in all main versions of the game, including console versions.

What do you think about the divisive decision, and how do you think this will affect competitive Overwatch going forward?

Rumors of a massive Overwatch update have been swirling for months, and we've finally got the details. He adds that Blizzard's philosophy is also changing; they used to balance with stability in mind, but now, going forwards, they're targeting meta and balancing, and they'll be addressing these more frequently and more aggressively. "By Week 3, Zen is available again but there has been a [quick] balance change and Zen's discord orb is a little less effective than it was and now maybe [he's] played half the time". The first Experimental Card is expected to be up in a few weeks. Anti-cheat measures are also being beefed up, alongside overall "quality of life" updates.

Like this: