Rebekah D. April 17, 2019
Stage 2 of the Overwatch League has now completed its second week, but the introduction of a new balance patch to the game has already shown a strong change to which heroes are most often picked.
The 1.31 Patch was intended by developers at Blizzard to help shift the game’s competitive meta and to reduce the strength of the popular three tank and three support composition known informally as GOATS.
At the end of the first week of Stage 2, the Overwatch League’s official Twitter account shared information on each hero’s pick rate and how often they were played in the league. The data is usually only shared for each stage rather than per week, as it’s rare to see much of a shift in hero picks after just a few matches played.
However, the introduction of Patch 1.34 made adjustments to nearly two thirds of the entire hero roster and was introduced to the League game client between stages. Many fans had been complaining that matches in Stage 1 felt stale due to the dominance of the GOATS meta. It was often the case that two teams would be playing the same three tanks and three healers in each game, with little variation between.
Stage 2 has already shown a big change to this based on pick rate alone. For example, In Stage 1, the top chosen hero was Lucio with a 94.1% pick rate. In Stage 2, his pick rate has dropped sharply to 62.4%.
Similarly, the top five heroes in Stage 1 had an average pick rate of 87.84%, with the lowest pick rate still being a high 83.7%. Such high pick rates between Lucio, D.Va, Ana, Zenyatta and Zarya show just how little variation there was in Stage 1.
Stage 2 has a much lower average rate of 57.08% between the top five, demonstrating a more fluid compositional trend.
It’s worth noting that for both Stages 1 and 2, the top picks are all still Tanks and Supports, the staples of the dominant GOATS meta. However, the lower pick rates for Stage 2 do confirm an immediate shift to include other heroes compositions. GOATS hasn’t completely disappeared and is in fact still quite common, but in just one week of play there was already more variation in hero selection. Fans will hope that this is a trend that will continue as the stage progresses and teams continue to adjust to the new changes.