Hero Pools & Experimental Mode, a Mixed Bag For Overwatch
The latest Developer Update video for Overwatch has announced two big additions to the game: Hero Pools and Experimental mode. Experimental mode promises to bring some exciting new ways to play to the game. The pools are not likely to be as well received.
Experimental mode is similar to the Public Test Region (PTR) in that it’s used to have players test possible changes to characters and gameplay before they are officially implemented. The biggest difference is that Experimental mode will be available to console players. The PTR was exclusively for PC players. Another difference between the two modes is that the Experimental mode will not be for bug testing. The mode will instead focus on balance updates, game modes and rules changes. Matches played in this mode will still let players gain exp and get loot boxes.
Blizzard is also introducing Hero Pools into competitive play, which is not nearly as fun as it might sound. Effective as of season 21, Hero pools will restrict players from choosing certain characters for competitive play. The banned heroes will change every week and will be hand selected by the design team. The goal of these temporary bans are to keep the meta changing frequently and to increase hero diversity.
Blizzard has assured players that if the system does not work as intended then they will not include it in future seasons. The temporary bans will only affective competitive mode. Arcade and Quick Play will continue to offer the full selection of heroes.
These two features are set to go live in early February as part of Overwatch patch 1.45. The patch will include improvements to the game’s anti-cheat system. Fans of the workshop will also notice some quality of life updates.
Source: Developer Update Video