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What Hero Pools and Experimental Mode Mean for Overwatch | Watch Gang

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Welcome to Watch Gang, The Koalition’s new imprint that covers all things Overwatch and Overwatch League. Expect news, Overwatch League analysis, opinions, strategies and streams. In this first edition of Watch Gang, I took some time to breakdown the latest developer update issued by Jeff Kaplan a couple days back. The two new systems coming into play with this update are Experimental mode and Hero Pools. Watch the following video to hear my rundown, or read below.

Here’s the original developer update announcement from Jeff Kaplan.

What does this developer update mean for Overwatch?

To avoid the meta becoming stale and stagnant in both the Overwatch game and the Overwatch League, Blizzard wants to play more of an active role in balancing the game. They plan to achieve this by adding Experimental mode and Hero Pools in Competitive.

Experimental Mode

Experimental will be a new section within the live game that players can choose to participate in. When a player enters an Experimental game they will be playing a version of the game with changes that the developers are currently testing; for instance, maybe there will be a 3-2-1 role lock instead of 2-2-2. Or many one of the Hero’s abilities will work differently to how it currently does in the official gameplay modes.

This will help Blizzard gather more data on these changes to see whether they want to carry them over to the official version of the game. Also, Experimental mode will also be available for console players; who have never been able to access the PTR before.

Hero Pools

Hero Pools is a Competitive only feature that allows Blizzard to lock a few heroes from being used for a week at a time. This is to prevent players from using the same team compositions and setups in every match. In reality, this feature is much more important for Overwatch League as it will improve the viewing experience. Last year, when the GOATS meta was popular, it felt like teams were always using the same heroes. Hero Pools will help to diversify the game and ensure that the full 31 hero roster gets some shine.

Jeff Kaplan said that this feature will kickoff in-game during the next Competitive season, but it should be in the Overwatch League right away. If one of your favorite heroes gets locked then don’t worry, you’ll still be able to play them in Quick Play and Arcade, and these lockouts only last for a week.

Got any thoughts on the Overwatch developer update? Drop your thoughts in the comments!

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