Banned heroes will no longer be randomly picked among all heroes with over 10% pick rate. Instead, a weighted hero pool takes place, with higher ban chances for most played heroes.
Last month, Blizzard announced in a developer update a new feature called "Hero Pool", allowing to create a rotation of heroes every week for the Overwatch League and competitive games. Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch director, said the banned heroes will be randomly picked by Blizzard each week. This was in order to "prevent players from stagnating on any one meta too long." This applied to both the Overwatch League and competitive games, with different Hero Pools.
The rules of the Hero Pool Draw were as follows:
- All heroes with 10% playtime or more in the past two weeks of league play will be eligible for the draw;
- The heroes removed from the pool will be randomly selected;
- The heroes removed will return to play in the next week and will be immune from being removed in the next week’s draw;
However, this system had its flaws. Some heroes have high pickrates; like Mei. While others are very situational — like Soldier: 76, who saw is pick rate increase due to McCree and Widowmaker’s ban during Week 5. Even though Mei’s pick rate is more consistent that Soldier’s, both heroes faced the same chances of being banned; they both had a pickrate over 10% during Week 5. And as you already know, Soldier: 76 got banned while Mei didn’t.
Bringing some balance
As this system wasn’t fair, the Overwatch League announced some changes through its show Watchpoint. To better reflect the reality of pick rates, each hero will now have a number of tickets depending on their pick rate — the more tickets, the higher chance of getting selected for the hero ban.
The number of ticket depends on the hero’s pick rate;
- 10-25% Pick rate - 1 Ticket
- 25-50% Pick rate - 2 Tickets
- 50-75% Pick rate - 3 Tickets
- 75+% Pick rate - 4 Tickets
This new system should allow the Overwatch League to be more balanced; as the heroes we see more often have a higher chance of a ban.