Experimental Card and hero balance updates have made Hero Pools redundant.
Hero Pools were a fairly big addition to Blizzard’s Overwatch but they haven’t been without controversy. Despite the hype surrounding them at release, the development team has removed them from Competitive Play altogether. There’s no date for their return either.
Community manager Molly Fender said in an official forum post that, “We initially implemented Hero Pools to address issues with stagnating metas and to keep match-ups exciting and fresh. However, we’ve found that the introduction of Experimental Card and increased hero balance updates has helped us work towards a healthy, changing meta in Competitive Play without needing to disable heroes.” So if you’ve ever been annoyed that your favorite hero is banned for a week, this will be good news.
Hero Pools aren’t gone from Overwatch League though. Starting on June 13th, the pool will operate on a two-week cycle for each tournament. Once the third week arrives and qualifier matches for the tournament are underway, they’ll be removed. The regular season will have a Hero Pool in its last two weeks but the playoffs won’t.
Whether Blizzard will offer more direct control to players in the future, like a pick and ban system akin to MOBAs, remains to be seen. Echo being the final hero added before Overwatch 2 launches does mean less wild cards for the balancing team to manage in the coming months. Stay tuned for more details in the meantime.