Blizzard Revamps OWL Hero Pools To Diversify Selection
Hero Pools are a major part of the weekly tournaments in the Overwatch League (OWL). The character selection every week can make or break the strategy of the teams competing, so the process must be fair, balanced, and transparent at all times.
To improve the selection process of Hero Pools this year, Blizzard Entertainment announced the possible changes they’re planning to implement for this week. In an official blog post, the developer said that they’re making additional changes gathered from fans’ feedbacks:
“We’ve been continuing to read, listen, and watch feedback on Hero Pools from members all across the Overwatch community, and we’re going to make additional changes to the feature to address many of these concerns.”
Here’s the detailed list of changes for the new Hero Pools selection process:
Overwatch League Data
Patch 1.47’s balance updates heavily affected the Overwatch League Data and the overall perspective of Overwatch betting sites and how they calculate the odds. Blizzard now plans to use the new data to determine Hero Pools eligibility. The data shows hero usage rates from Overwatch League games, and it might help Blizzard to increase hero variance in matches. Despite the promising results of this new system, Blizzard will still switch back to using data from high-level competitive play matches until the next season of the tournament begins.
The Hero Pools’ algorithm will have some minor changes this week to avoid what Overwatch community calls ‘hero rotation ping-pong’. The rotation sees at least one player joining the pool every other week. While the data from heroes with higher usage-rate percentages will increase hero variance, it might also ban a number of heroes repeatedly. The new algorithm will balance the selection of banned and included heroes. Blizzard’s goal is to “create variance in the available heroes week to week”.
The most groundbreaking change is Blizzard’s plan to only implement the new system to competitive plays with an average rating of Master or Grandmaster skill level (>3500 SR). According to them, competitive plays at lower-skill tiers already see hero composition diversity with little to no effort. These matches might not need the new system to level the playing field. As this system is complex, Blizzard is reserving it for patch 1.48.