Echo Joins Overwatch Next Week - Hero and Map Pool Changes

Blizzard tweets a launch date for Echo, saying the next Overwatch hero will enter the game on April 14th. This includes a six-second video, so for a real look at their plans you'll probably be better served by this introductory video from a few weeks ago. For more on plans for the competitive shooter, and update on Refining Hero Pools and Retiring Map Pools has word on other upcoming changes. As the name suggests, all maps will return to competitive play starting April 14th, and they are making the following changes to how Hero Pools will work:
We’ve received a lot of helpful feedback since Hero Pools came to Competitive Play that the system was achieving our goal of shaking up the meta from week to week—but we’ve also heard that some aspects of the system are confusing or unclear, including why certain heroes or roles are rotated each week, or why the exact number of heroes available is inconsistent from week to week. In addition, having separate Hero Pools for Competitive Play and the Overwatch League in the same week led to a confusing or disjointed experience for players who follow the League.

Starting April 13, we intend to address this by having a single, unified Hero Pool, allowing both the Overwatch League and Competitive Play to mirror each other as closely as possible and making a more consistent viewing and play experience. Here’s how this will work:

  • To determine a week’s Hero Pool, we'll compile hero play rates from high-level Competitive Play matches from the preceding two weeks. Heroes with play rates above a certain threshold will be eligible to be removed; the higher their play rate, the more likely they are to be removed. Based on that, one Tank, two Damage, and one Support will be randomly removed from play. (Note that heroes will not be removed two weeks in a row.)
  • At the end of each Sunday’s Overwatch League matches, we’ll announce the Hero Pool that will be used that upcoming week for both live Competitive Play and the Overwatch League. That pool will go into effect in the game Monday morning.
  • This process will occur every week of the Overwatch League regular season; during weeks that there are no Overwatch League matches, the same data will still be used to determine the Hero Pool and you will find out Monday morning.