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Overwatch’s Hero Pools are being removed from competitive play

They’ll still show up in Overwatch League play

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Overwatch - McCree and Sigma face off in a one versus one battle. Sigma is absorbing a shot from McCree’s Peacekeeper. Image: Blizzard Entertainment
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Overwatch developer Blizzard Entertainment is removing restrictive Hero Pools from competitive play. Now players are free to use their favorite characters at any time. It’s also changing how Hero Pools work in the Overwatch League. The brief update was issued on Monday.

“We’ve been listening to your feedback and constantly iterating on the feature behind the scenes,” said community manager Molly Fender on the game’s official forums. “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.”

Hero Pools were first implemented in January. Fender added that there’s no date set for them to come back; they’ve being removed “indefinitely.”

Meanwhile, beginning Saturday, Hero Pools will make an appearance for the first two weeks of each Overwatch League (OWL) tournament cycle. Details on those changes are included in a lengthy post on the official league website.

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