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Overwatch League Consolidating Hero Pools With Contenders, Competitive Mode

April 9, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Overwatch League Hero Pool

The concept of Hero Pools are still fresh in Overwatch, and they’re already getting a bit of a tweak to sync things across pro and ranked play. The Overwatch League announced on Thursday that Hero Pools, which sees certain characters removed from the available roster each week, will now be shared across the OWL, Overwatch Contenders and the game’s Competitive Play mode.

Hero Pools were announced in January and introduced in early March with the current comeptitive season. The goal was to freshen up the game’s metaplay and allow for a wider range of strategies and viable heroes. Before Hero Pools, the game faced criticism that particular compositions dominated Competitive/Ranked Play for too long, whether the triple tank/triple support lineup known as “GOATS,” Double Shield comps or the highly mobile “Dive” meta. The intent was to make for weeks where dominant team composition would have holes that would allow for a greater availability of heroes.

However, with Hero Pools came some initial problems. Notably, the fact that OWL operated on its own Hero Pool rotation as opposed to Contenders and Competitive meant that Overwatch League pros couldn’t practice on their planned heroes in ranked play, which has been a common practice. The announcement acknowledged this as a reason for synching the hero pools acrosss modes, noting:

We are moving to a universal Hero Pool because it enables Overwatch League players to practice with available heroes in scrims and Competitive Play and allows the entire Overwatch community to get a consistent experience both playing and watching.

The first unified Hero Pool will be announced on Sunday and will take effect for Competitive Play on Monday, meaning that the Hero Pool rotation announced on Thursday with Zarya, Pharah, Symmetra, and Lucio removed will only be in play for a few days. The heroes to be removed each week will be chosen by an algorithm-focused system that will make certaini heroes above a certain playrate in Competitive Play threshold eligible to be removed and the higher the play rate, the more likely to be removed. However, the Hero Pool will still have an element of randomness to them. As with how it has been running to date, no hero will be removed from rotation two weeks in a row.

The Hero Pool for this weekend’s OWL matches will see D.Va removed from the tank pool, Sombra and Reaper out for damage heroes, and Ana for support.