Blizzard has considered the possibility of a pick and ban system for Overwatch, should the character roster become too unwieldy.
Talking at a Q&A attended by GameSpot, lead hero designer Geoff Goodman said, “We talk a decent amount about [rotating heroes]–that, and what’s paired a lot with it is hero bans, hero picks, things like that because they’re both kind of related to roster size.”
Pick and ban systems are most commonly used by MOBAs such as League of Legends and Dota 2, but are applicable for any game sporting a selection of heroes with special abilities. Such a system allows opposing teams to ban certain characters from being picked at the start of a match, which is handy for denying a hard counter to a character your team plans to play. The system is typically only used for ranked/competitive matches. In the world of shooters, this system has most recently been adopted by Rainbow Six Siege.
If such a concept makes you worried, there’s no need to engage the fear switches immediately; this is all hypothetical. “We don’t have any plans about that right now,” Goodman explained. “Right now we don’t feel like we’re at the point where we have enough heroes where that seems to make sense. But if we reach a point that it just feels like too many then yeah, we might do something like that.”
With the addition of Baptiste this week, Overwatch currently boasts a roster of 30 playable characters. Blizzard has no plans to cease development of new characters, and the studio has already discussed that it has several new heroes in production.
While the current roster is perfectly manageable, it’s not hard to envision a time for Overwatch when it sports a MOBA-like number of characters. In that situation, it’s very arguable that a method to narrow hero selection is required. It’s promising to know that Blizzard is aware of the path Overwatch is travelling, and that it will hopefully be ready to deploy something akin to a pick and ban system when the time is right, rather than too late.
Matt Purslow is IGN UK’s News and Entertainment Writer, and as long as no one bans Brigitte he’s OK with all this. You can follow him on Twitter.
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