Blizzard are still finding their feet with Overwatch‘s Competitive Play and the new PTR which includes the new hero Ana also brings a change to the game mode.
Jeff Kaplan took to the forums this evening to explain why they are setting a one hero limit per team for Competitive Play.
If you’ve already looked over the PTR patch notes, you probably noticed that we’re experimenting with hero limits in Competitive Play. That’s obviously a big change, and one that’s bound to spark a lot of conversation, so we wanted to take a moment to give you some background and explain why we’re considering it.
Why Add a Hero Limit?
We’ve been discussing the idea of hero limits for almost as long as Overwatch has been in development. It’s been somewhat of a controversial topic, but we’ve always liked giving players the freedom to select any hero, regardless of the team’s composition, because it opened up the possibility for tons of crazy strategies and match-ups.
In Quick Play, where things are intended to be more relaxed, this is fine. But in Competitive Play, we feel that hero stacking is becoming detrimental and leading to some not-so-great player experiences. For example, we’ve seen organized teams on Assault and Hybrid maps use hero stacking to overtake the first point before the defense has a chance to counter. We’ve also seen players use specific stacked compositions just to frustrate their opponents or cause indefinite delays in overtime (among other strategies). While this kind of thing is certainly possible in any mode, the higher stakes of Competitive Play means these kinds of tactics were popping up more often than anyone would like.
Ultimately, we found that we agreed with a lot of the community’s feedback and believe that hero stacking is making the game less fun for competitive players.
So, What Next?
Once we decide that a system isn’t working, we try to fix it as soon as possible. Luckily, this was a relatively simple change for us to make, so today’s PTR includes a mechanic that limits the number of each hero in a Competitive Play match to one per team. If the change addresses the problems like we’re hoping it does, we’ll roll it into the upcoming PC, PS4, and XB1 patches once our public testing is complete. If not, we’ll hold off and explore other possible solutions.
If you have a chance to check out the PTR and the new hero limit in Competitive Play, we hope you’ll discuss your experience with us. To find out how you can access the PTR and/or read the latest patch notes, click here. We’re looking forward to hearing what you think!
This change is probably a good move for Overwatch, it should encourage more team coordination and make teams think a little more outside the box when it comes to strategy. No doubt the change will bring a multitude of complaints from the community, changes always seem to have that effect.