Overwatch details competitive hero pools and experimental test modes


Your friend Jeff from the Overwatch team is here with a new video on the game’s development – the current game, not just the future Overwatch 2 – and it’s all about balance. Kaplan says that players believe the team is slow on the draw when it comes to balancing the meta, and that’s because patches that hit the PTR stay there a while as the testers push for minor changes. Blizzard agrees, and so now it’s promising a faster pace for balance – specifically, “pretty aggressive balance changes” that “deliberately target the meta” rather than focusing on stability over all else.

Eventually, Blizzard’s plan is to add temporary “experimental” modes that give live PC and console players, not just PTS denizens, a chance to break some of the tweaks the devs are working on, all while still leveling live accounts. In other words, they’re rewarding you for helping to test gameplay changes before they’re implemented. Of course, that also means that a lot of the changes you test won’t actually make it into the game, so it won’t be like the current PTS. Expect the first such mode in a few weeks.

Finally, Kaplan addresses competitive season 21, coming in March, saying that competitive mode (though not the other modes) will indeed be getting week-long hero pools, such that specific characters won’t be playable for that week, until the pool changes again. The studio is hoping that adds diversity to the meta, and yes, Kaplan says the studio will be watching and changing the way pools work based on how the players handle it. Esports fans, heads-up: The pools are coming to Overwatch League.

There a bit more to the video too, as it touches on anti-cheat and the career profile too.

Source: Twitter, press release

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I really like the idea of a rotating hero pool. The shield wars meta was so bad that it was the first time that i actually uninstalled the game out of sheer boredom.