Malik Shelp

Malik Shelp

Malik specializes in esports photography, videography, video editing, and graphic design. He has also written Overwatch and DOTA articles for over 2 years for DBLTAP and other esports outlets. You can learn more about Malik on our About page.

Blizzard Finally Removes Hero Pools From Overwatch, But Not Completely

Blizzard Removes Hero Pools and Overwatch League Returns
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Blizzard has announced the removal of Hero Pools from competitive play while adjusting the feature for the Overwatch League returning June 13.


finding common ground

Overwatch has had an extremely difficult time solidifying the format of how the game is meant to be played. At first, the prevalence of GOATS led to players calling for better variety in compositions and balancing. The introduction of hero pools intended to solve this issue, yet the system only artificially brought variety to the title. Blizzard has attempted to balance all heroes in Overwatch across the board. Randomly choosing heroes to be removed from competitive play balances nothing but instead creates a semi-arcade game mode.

On the main client, hero pools limited the options that players had when choosing who to queue up as. At the Platinum level and lower, which heroes are meta matters less because most are playing what they are most comfortable with. Since the implementation of hero pools, numerous fans have opted to avoid competitive play and focus on enjoying Quick Play. Competitive Overwatch has struggled to find a happy medium for the past two years, but the game at its core is still enjoyable to play. Overwatch may not be a refined competitive experience, but the players in the League may enjoy this hero pool change.

competition continues

Previously players had to adapt week to week adjusting their playstyle to fit the current hero pool. Some teams thrived in the chaos where others failed to find footing. The ban system is leaving the main client and it is for the best. The changes made to the League regarding hero pools however are confusing but necessary. The Summer Showdown tournament will be held in the last three weeks of June and during the first week of July, finals will take place. The Summer Showdown has the same format as the May Melee with two For professional play, the first two weeks of the Summer Showdown will have the same hero pool where Echo, Sombra, D.VA, and Brigitte have been removed from play. Following the first two weeks, the last two weeks of play will have no hero restrictions.

Hero pools never stuck successfully with the general fanbase. Most casual players weren’t playing the same compositions of those in professional play. The ban system is aimed at keeping matches balanced while closing the gap between professional and casual play. The Overwatch League will be returning on June 13th for the Summer Showdown, the second Overwatch League tournament of the year.

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