In order to refresh the competitive scene of Overwatch, Blizzard decided to make some changes to how the game is being played week in and week out. The developers decided to implement a new feature that will eliminate 4 heroes from the competitive hero pool every week.
In an interesting attempt to shake up Overwatch’s metagame, Blizzard benched Hanzo, Mei, Orisa, and Baptiste for a limited time. Interestingly, all of these heroes are really popular in the current meta. After a week outside the competitive pool, these heroes will return to the hero pool and will be replaced by other 4 – 1 tank, 2 damage dealers, and 1 support.
This change will also feature in the Overwatch League, however, it will differ from the regular ranked games. For example, this week pros cannot play Reinhardt, McCree, Widowmaker, and Moira in the Overwatch League. It’s a weird decision, that will likely be abandoned in the future since Overwatch pros already shared their frustration about not being able to practice their heroes.
Scott Mercer, the principal game designer of the Overwatch has shared his thoughts about these changes in the official blog post saying that every week when players log in to Overwatch, it should feel fresh and different.
“We get feedback from our players about how the meta doesn’t change often enough. Especially at the highest ranks of the game, like Master and Grandmaster, we’ve seen the meta become more defined. The better you are at the game, the more you start to see the effects of what players deem are the strongest heroes.
Even after our decision to switch team compositions to 2-2-2, creating change in the meta is a hard thing to do. We started being more aggressive with hero balancing with the hope that it would affect the meta, but we still worried that it wouldn’t shift enough for players. Hero Pools are part of a solution to address players’ desire to have a constantly shifting meta.”
Blizzard is really keen on shaking things up for Overwatch as competitors are growing in power. Riot Games recently announced Valorant which might take some players off Overwatch. However, changes like team composition, rotating hero pools and anything the team might come up with in the future might make players think twice before swapping their games. We’ll just have to wait and see.