In the first developer update in 2020 for Overwatch, Game Director Jeff Kaplan announced two major changes that will be coming to the game in an effort to address criticism of balance and the meta going forward. Coming to the game is a new experimental mode that will be available on all platforms and hero pools which will only be available in the Competitive Mode of Overwatch.
In the update, Jeff Kaplan details that the development team behind Overwatch has been getting the same feedback from the community over the past few months. One of the topics is about balance or the lack of balance that the community relays to the team.
To address balance, there will be a new mode or card coming to Overwatch called the Experimental. The Experimental card will act similarly to the Public Test Server that is only available for PC. Every now and then, the Experimental card will show up in the game where the developers will have the opportunity to test new gameplay changes made to the game. The difference between the PTR and the upcoming Experimental card is that it is available for all platforms. Since Experimental will be part of the main game, players will be leveling up their Overwatch accounts and getting rewards like all the other game modes.
Jeff Kaplan also said that the Overwatch team will be changing their balance philosophy going forward “which is going to be balance more frequently, more aggressively and be less concerned with trying something out and pulling it back later.”
Hero Pools will be implemented into the game at the start of Season 21 of Competitive Overwatch. When it begins, some heroes will not be available to choose from on a weekly basis. Kaplan said, “it’s targeted at keeping the meta fluid or the meta from stagnating and getting more towards hero diversity.”
Jeff Kaplan also said that while hero pools will change from a week to week basis, the development team may change how hero pools differ in the future. Season 21 of Competitive Overwatch begins in March.