Weighted Hero Pools Are Coming To The Overwatch League To Balance The Hero Bans

Weighted Hero Pools Are Coming To The Overwatch League To Balance The Hero Bans
Credit: Overwatch League via YouTube

Blizzard has introduced a new mechanic to help consistently shake up the meta that changes from the previous plan that offered meta changes only when Blizzard could push a new hero, or buffs and nerfs to current heroes.  The mechanic in question is the Hero Bans, that sees Blizzard banning specific heroes based on their play time.

The new mechanic has been under fire from Overwatch professionals and analysts, as it does come with an important caveat: there are two seperate bans for Overwatch League and standard competitive play in Overwatch.  Thus, professional players can’t readily practice their upcoming matches by logging into Overwatch after they finish a day of scrimmage’s with their team.  Fans of the Overwatch League, similarly, are stuck only theorizing about what the League bans may invoke.  It’s not a perfect system, but at least it’s allowing some new strategies to finally come forth.

Yet there was another proverbial wrench thrown in; any hero with over 10% of playtime in the Overwatch League was liable to be banned the following week, for the Overwatch League only.  This meant that certain heroes that were arguable ‘must-picks’, such as Mei with her crowd-control abilities, had just as much of a chance to receive a ban as a mroe situational hero, such as Genji.

All of that is scheduled to finally change, for better or worse, and it thus far looks like this new system will arguably be for the better.

The new system introduces weighted mechanics based on the playtime of heroes in the Overwatch League, with four tiers of weighting being attributed based on the playtime.

  • Heroes with total playtime that ranges from 10% to 25% will receive one ticket in the hero ban raffle
  • Heroes with 25% to 50% will receive two tickets in the raffle
  • Heroes with 50% to 75% will receive three tickets in the raffle
  • Heroes with 75% to 100% will receive four tickets in the raffle

It’s an interesting system that Blizzard has devised, as it still allows generally ‘random’ bans, yet is weighted heavily against must-pick heroes that will ultimately encourage teams to develop bold new strategies within the span of a week.

Everyone is crossing their fingers the Mei takes a dive off the hero roster, however temporarily.  The new system is coming into play in the coming week, after the matches next weekend, meaning there will be a little bit more spice in regards to what hero gets put on the temporary chopping block.