The Overwatch League is about to get much more interesting. After game director Jeff Kaplan announced the addition of Hero Pools to Overwatch beginning March 5, the league has revealed it will also be implementing the feature. One support hero, one tank hero, and two damage heroes will be “disabled” each Overwatch League weekend beginning on March 7.
Hero Pools is a feature that will be added to Overwatch during season 21 of competitive play on March 5. Kaplan announced Hero Pools as part of a larger Developer Update. In competitive mode, a few heroes will be disabled every week based on a selection from the design team. Players will have to step out of their comfort zone when trying to climb the ranked ladder.
Beginning March 7, or week five of Overwatch League competition, the league will begin its version of Hero Pools. Based on play-rate data from the previous two weeks of competition, the league will disable one support hero, one tank hero, and two damage heroes from the lineup each weekend. “Only heroes that are being played regularly can be pulled from the next hero pool,” the league said.
Players will be given only a week’s notice of the changes. On the upside, there are restrictions to the usage of Hero Pools. The feature won’t be used during midseason tournaments, playoffs, play-ins, or the league’s grand finals. Heroes also can’t be disabled for more than one week in a row.
“A rotating Hero Pool for Overwatch League matches will foster a wider range of team strategies and showcase more heroes in competition as players adapt,” the league said. Hero Pools will begin during homestand weekends held in Washington D.C and Seoul, South Korea.
The league also provided an update on balance patches and how they’ll affect the competition. Previously, the Overwatch League added new patches and updates to the game between stages. Stages no longer exist in the 2020 season, however. After a patch is added to the live game, “the Overwatch League will begin playing on that patch two weekends later.” Any updates that happen between patches will be uploaded the following weekend.
The Overwatch League begins on Feb. 8 with games in Dallas and New York.