Hero Pools arrive in Overwatch PTR days away from OWL Season 3

Jessica S. February 6, 2020

With less than one week left the start of Overwatch League Season 3, Hero Pools have been added to the PTR. 

Hero Pools won’t be added into OWL mechanics until March 7, coinciding with the release of the feature for all Overwatch players. The hero rotation will affect all competitive ranked games in Overwatch, but it is still unclear whether the same pool of heroes will be blocked for the OWL.

In their first appearance, the unplayable characters are Wrecking Ball, Genji, McCree, and Baptiste. Each week, the Hero Pools will rotate. One tank, one support, and two DPS heroes will be unavailable for play. OWL teams will be given advance notice of which heroes will be banned the next week.

No hero will be banned for more than one week, and developers will be looking at pick rates to determine the next selection of unplayable heroes. These changes will not be in effect for mid-season tournaments, play-ins, playoffs, or the Grand Finals. 

The mechanic is Blizzard’s answer to fan complaints about a stale meta at both the casual and professional levels. There were rumors that hero bans were going to be implemented into the OWL, but that was put to rest quickly in a response from Blizzard exec Jeff Kaplan. 

In addition to Hero Pools, the development team will be working to more quickly implement patches into OWL play and will seek to keep the OWL as close to the live server patches as possible. Ideally, these changes will create a more dynamic metagame, which means teams will have to be more creative week to week instead of practicing the same meta in scrims. 

Overwatch League Season 3 kicks off on February 8. Fans will be able to attend matches in New York City and Dallas to watch players compete live on stage. Hero pools will first make an appearance during Week 5.