Would Hero Picks and Bans work in Overwatch?

2 min read

In competitive Overwatch, the pick and ban system is in place for maps only. The idea of banning and picking heroes, such as in games like League of Legends and Dota 2, is something both game director Jeff Kaplan and professional players do not want right now. In all honesty, it would be a rather tricky system since a lot of Overwatch’s mechanics work on being able to switch out heroes to meet your teams needs. While it may seem inconceivable for now, it is something Kaplan has considered. The other day, Kaplan responded to the Overwatch forum with his thoughts on the matter:

“If the meta settles down into static picks always, we have other solutions,” Kaplan wrote. “But picks and bans cause a lot of issues that we’d like to avoid.” Issues like adding a ton of extra time to each round, he said. “I’m not saying we’ll never do picks and bans, but what I am saying is that we would rather explore other options first.”

The fact of the matter is that Overwatch is an extremely unique game with dynamic play. Each map warrants certain picks for certain scenarios, and limiting teams with hero picks and bans would make the meta rather stale. A stale meta is something Overwatch is far from with every patch bringing new hope for less played heroes, while trumping those over popularized by professional teams.


A second factor worth considering is the small hero pool in Overwatch. With games like Dota 2 and League of legends where there are over 100 characters, Overwatch is currently at 23. This would severely limit play, and some professionals feel Overwatch could reach the pick-ban phase once the hero pool is increased to over 50. A brief example would be a hero like Reinhardt which is particularly popular in payload maps. Banning out Reinhardt would cripple most strategies, and also alter the playstyle of many teams. So,once again, we can conclude that more heroes in the pool could lead to pick and ban phase.

As it stands Overwatch is in an extremely healthy place and the competitive scene is still in its infancy. What the future holds for competitive Overwatch is up the players as much as it’s up to Blizzard, and we know Blizzard always listen to their fans, right? Jokes aside, a healthy scene is dictated by its popularity and assistance from development and so far Blizzard have done an incredible job in Overwatch making sure the game remains exciting and relevant – as opposed to Heroes of the Storm which might be making a small comeback.

Last Updated: November 17, 2016

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