Hero Pools was a controversial addition to Overwatch at the beginning of season 21 in March. It’s a ban system where certain heroes are locked out of the game for a brief period of time, intended to bring variety to the meta. The Houston Outlaws’ assistant coach thinks Hero Pools is the “worst thing” to happen to Overwatch, however.
Dream thinks Hero Pools make professional players’ lives more difficult by ruining the team’s ability to improve. He said teams can’t film themselves or their opponents because “it will never be the same meta again.”
“Half the time the meta totally changes on Thursday and everyone is just bullshitting their matches,” Dream said.
He added that games become more stressful and less rewarding with less opportunity to improve and grow. Dream thinks this is a large reason why players are retiring from the Overwatch League and the game entirely.
Overwatch has seen a decline in pro players and streamers with the increase in VALORANT’s popularity. Last week, Washington Justice’s Corey became the most recent player to retire from Overwatch in favor of VALORANT. Sinatraa, who was the first major OWL player to retire at the end of April, claimed to have lost interest in Overwatch and switched to VALORANT.
Streamers, meanwhile, are also turning their attention away from Overwatch. There are a variety of reasons for this, but an underlying one is Blizzard’s lack of balance. Metas rarely change and there are some combinations that are simply better than others. GOATS was a powerful combo that resulted in a forced two-two-two (two healers, two tanks, and two DPS) meta due to its strength.
Dream’s opinion went beyond Hero Pools, though, and he took a shot at the two-two-two format. He called both Hero Pools and a forced two-two-two meta “crutches to fix the fact that Blizzard can’t balance the game.” And Dream might have a point. Both were implemented because certain hero combinations are strong. Instead of balancing where necessary, Blizzard chose to prevent players from picking that combination by forcing a certain type of gameplay or by looking at the popular heroes and banning them as a result.
Dream says that Hero Pools “have to fundamentally change” to bring players back to Overwatch. In the current system, the game bans what’s working instead of looking at why it works and making adjustments to it.
Dream ended his Twitter thread by using Mei as an example of Blizzard’s inability to balance the meta. Blizzard takes too long to implement any meaningful changes and the alterations that are made are small and lack impact. Dream called for more aggressive changes to Mei, in this instance, but the example speaks to the need for better balance adjustments in Overwatch.