Overwatch League’s IBM Watson team adds Hero Rankings

Fans and analysts will be able to compare players on hero-specific performances.

Photo via Blizzard Entertainment

If you’ve ever had an intense argument about which Overwatch League player has the best Widowmaker, the IBM Watson Power Rankings team has an update that may finally settle those debates. 

The Overwatch League has been using the analysis abilities of IBM Watson, an artificial intelligence (AI) software, to objectively rank teams and players using data acquired through matches. These Power Rankings update weekly and have been extensively used by both analysts and fans to track teams’ performances over the past few months. 

And today, the IBM Watson team announced a new Hero Rankings ability that will allow audiences to objectively see how players are performing on a hero-specific basis. If fans want to know who’s doing the most for their team as D.Va, for example, the system will provide that data and allow for player comparisons. 

The AI will make these comparisons by “correlating 360+ data points, assigning a weight to each, and determining how each factor tips the balance toward a loss or a win,” according to IBM’s Corey Shelton. In other words, the system is doing more than just analyzing data points like damage dealt or fewest deaths. This analysis goes beyond the number of gold medals someone racks up in a ranked match.

Image via Overwatch League

Fans will be able to check out the Hero Rankings in a new tab on the Power Rankings by IBM Watson page. All 32 Overwatch heroes will be represented. When a hero is selected, the system will show the current most successful player for that hero and then list the other top players in order. 

While the information will likely be used by coaches and analysts to improve individual play, Shelton also said desk analysts and fans will now be “able to power their trash talk with facts.” 

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