While Echo is back in hero pools, four popular heroes are currently banned in competitive Overwatch this week: McCree, Widowmaker, Wrecking Ball, and Mercy.
Those four heroes won’t be available in competitive Overwatch until May 4, bringing in an onslaught of criticism over Overwatch’s previously praised implementation of hero pools. Hero pools were first introduced by game director Jeff Kaplan to shake up the stale Overwatch meta and force one-trick players to pick up new heroes. This was commended as a smart move back in January, but now, not so much.
That’s because Widowmaker and McCree have both been banned together three times since hero bans started. McCree himself has been banned almost every week as his popularity grew in ranked play. While Mercy and Wrecking Ball being removed from play has few consequences, many fans have begun to express frustration over the two DPS heroes being targeted week after week.
Tracer, Orisa, and Moira will be rejoining competitive play along with Echo, bringing the possibility of double shield meta once again. Orisa, Sigma, Mei, and Hanzo are all in action. There could even be some dive comp with a D.Va and Winston duo.
But instead of embracing these possible metas, most players are mulling over McCree and Widowmaker being targeted again and again.
While fans are appreciative of oppressive metas not lasting more than six months as GOATS and dive once did, they also are concerned about team comps changing week after week. The reason? Part of the skill behind Overwatch, players noted, is mastering a meta and working on repeatable strategies. Instead, teams are fumbling to come up with new play styles each week, making it unclear who is truly the best team.
Then there’s the issue of balancing heroes when not every hero is consistently available. And another concern was Blizzard taking away players’ right to pick their favorite heroes.
Most Overwatch fans didn’t want hero pools eliminated outright; they just wanted them to be reworked. While this seems like a reasonable request and something that could happen in the future, that hasn’t stopped other Overwatch fans from taking their hatred of hero bans a little too far.
Streamer Connor “Avast” Prince called on ranked players to all play Reaper and Mei so they can finally get banned in hero pools. These are two popular heroes that make a huge impact in ranked Overwatch, yet are not played as much as hitscan heroes and Echo. Thus, McCree continues to be played consistently, leading to another ban the following week. Meanwhile, broadly reviled heroes like Mei remain active.
“McCree gets banned every other week because he gets banned one week and then he doesn’t get played and then he gets unbanned the next and everyone plays him,” Avast explained.
He then called on ranked players, who he called “stupid” just a few seconds earlier, to unite against hero pools.
“Ranked players, this is our cry for help. Please, this is us imploring you to play Mei so this stupid fucking dog shit hero pool system can ban Mei,” Avast said.