Today, Blizzard Entertainment announced a major change to the way Hero Pools work in Overwatch. The publisher has removed Hero Pools from competitive play, effective immediately. Hero Pools will remain a part of Overwatch League, albeit in a much more limited capacity than before. Starting on June 13th, a single Hero Pool will be used for the first two weeks of each tournament cycle. In the week following, and during tournament bracket play, Hero Pools will not be used at all. Overall, it's a pretty big change to the game, and one that could have a big impact on Overwatch's competitive scene!
Blizzard added Hero Pools to the game earlier this year. Essentially, Hero Pools would rotate which characters were allowed for use in competitive play. The idea was meant to encourage players to lean on the same Heroes less and learn the strengths of the game's other playable characters, instead. Hero Pools built off the concept of Map Pools, which were added to the game in 2019. Interestingly enough, Map Pools were also dropped from the game back in April, so it seems that Blizzard is slowly moving away from the pool concept entirely.
Hero Pools have been a source of great controversy since Blizzard first began implementing them. While the intention was to make the game more competitive, it seemed to be a turn-off for many players, who would prefer to see Blizzard find other ways of improving the game's balance. When Map Pools were dropped, Blizzard pulled two maps from competitive play in order to balance them out. It seems highly unlikely that the publisher will do the same with Heroes that might need to be balanced out, so Blizzard will have to continue working behind-the-scenes to make sure things run smoothly.
It will be interesting to see how fans of Overwatch react to the most recent change. Fans celebrated the end of Map Pools, and it seems likely that the end of hero Pools will be equally embraced. Overwatch is currently available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the game right here.
Are you excited to see Hero Pools dropped from competitive play? Do you want to see Blizzard continue balancing out the game? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!