Overwatch to have unified weekly hero pool between OWL matches and in-game Competitive Play

The game will now reflect what the pros play.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

The Overwatch League and Competitive Play will no longer have separate hero pools, Blizzard announced today.

Previously, the in-game Competitive Play ladder and Overwatch League matches had completely different banned heroes on a week-to-week basis. Now, starting on April 13, both OWL and the in-game ladder will have the same hero pools.

“We’ve received a lot of helpful feedback since Hero Pools came to Competitive Play that the system was achieving our goal of shaking up the meta from week to week—but we’ve also heard that some aspects of the system are confusing or unclear, including why certain heroes or roles are rotated each week, or why the exact number of heroes available is inconsistent from week to week,” Blizzard said.

To determine each week’s hero pool, play rates from high-level Competitive Play will be compiled from the previous two weeks. Heroes with play rates above a certain threshold will be removed, meaning the higher their play rate, the better chance they have of being removed for the week. One tank, two DPS, and one support will be removed each week.

At the end of each Sunday’s OWL matches, the hero pool for that upcoming week in both OWL and Competitive Play will be announced. That pool will go into effect in the game on Monday morning and the cycle will repeat each week.

Another big change announced by Blizzard today is that map pools will be retired from Competitive Play, “to simplify the competitive experience.” Starting April 14, all of the game’s maps will be available in Competitive Play, aside from Paris and Horizon Lunar Colony, which will be taken out to receive some much-needed updates.

“We’re always listening to the community on how we can improve your Overwatch experience; please continue to reach out and let us know how you feel,” Blizzard said. “These changes are coming very soon to live play, and we’re excited to hear what you think.”