Overwatch hero bans may be on their way to the game, if leaker Metro's source can be trusted. Hero bans would represent a seismic shift in strategy for Overwatch teams and, all things considered, that would be a good thing.
Overwatch Hero Bans Would Bring Much-Needed Variety
The Overwatch development team has worked on hero bans for some time now, according to Metro, and it's possible the fruits of that work will arrive in-game in an upcoming major update.
"Take this with a grain of salt, it's a source different from the Blizzcon leaks," Metro wrote on Twitter. "I do know they are [working] on hero bans and a bigger udpate is coming soon though, would make sense if it is the same thing!"
Hero bans refer to teams choosing heroes in the game, prior to each match, that cannot be played by either team for the duration of the match. The system has been implemented in games like League of Legends to provide another layer of strategic depth and variation to competition.
Overwatch players at all skill levels have debated the merits of hero bans for years. Players fear the system will hurt viewership by forcing star players off their mains, that Overwatch heroes are irreplaceable in their key lineups, and that teams would simply default to the next best hero in all situations.
All of these fears are valid, but none of them outweighs hero bans' greatest advantage.
For much of its history, Overwatch has fallen victim to a single dominant strategy. Dive, GOATs — these strategies are so powerful that no other hero composition can challenge them. Teams field the same lineups over and over again, making for monotonous viewing and rote play.
Without bans, teams have no incentive to try anything different — any time spent experimenting is time lost practicing the dominant strategy. But with hero bans in place, teams would be forced out of their comfort zones and into unusual team compositions. Mirror compositions would likely still appear, but the monotony would be broken up. Banning Bastion might kill Pirate Ship, banning Orisa might disable pick compositions, and teams would have to shift their approaches on the fly to work within the new parameters of the match.
As much serious as some anti-ban reservations may be, none would hurt play or viewership as much this one change would improve it.
Whether or not Blizzard will implement it remains to be seen.