Blizzard “not a fan” of picks and bans for Overwatch

Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan isn't into picks and bans for heroes or maps.

Overwatch players are unlikely to ever see a pick and ban system in-game, according to Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan.

Hero banning is a staple of multiplayer online battle arena games like League of Legends and Dota 2, adding another layer of complexity to competitive play. Teams must then play around enemy choices and bans, which works particularly well in games that have static hero picks. Overwatch, however, centers on hero switching as a method of adaptation to enemy rosters.

“There’s two types of pick and ban systems, one that relates to maps and one that relates to heroes,” Kaplan told Gamespot. “I’m not a fan of either.” This echoes sentiments Kaplan expressed on the Blizzard forum in November 2016: Picks and bans aren’t ideal for Overwatch.

“I think the problem with Overwatch as it pertains to pick and ban systems is that the game was designed to have a certain level of fluidity to it,” Kaplan added. “I think that fluidity would go away [with a pick-and-ban system].”

Blizzard has discussed a system where players choose to queue as a particular role, like tank or support, and must stick with that choice throughout the entire match. Still, that’s not ideal. “But there are interesting times where you might start off a match with two support, two DPS, and two tanks, but by the end you have one tank, one support, and four DPS and it was absolutely the right call to make those decisions,” Kaplan said.

Removing the fluidity from Overwatch will fundamentally change the game, which is why Blizzard is hesitant to make any changes in that direction.