What’s Wrong With High-Level Overwatch Without A Hero Limit?

Overwatch is getting a tournament with a huge prize pool, the biggest yet at $100,000 up for grabs. Yet there have been some grumblings among the organisers, analysers of the scene and even the pro players themselves towards the recent changes caused by the upcoming ESL Atlantic Showdown. The tournament will forgo the standard tournament ruleset that has been used to run past tournaments, including the weekly Gosugamers and ESL tournaments. The changes include introducing no hero limits again.

So what’s the issue here? The pros, and to a certain extent the specatators and organisers, are not happy with the set of rules.

Despite it sound good on paper, having no hero limit does not create more versatile team compositions at the moment. Instead, as we have seen in last week’s Gosugamers Weekly (Week 14) where no hero limit and 2CP maps were played, it just led into cheese tactics. The amount of times King Of The Hill maps like Lijiang Tower were picked, double Tracers, double Winstons and double Lucios are everywhere, not to mention the stack of 5 Tracers overtime scumming seen in a lot of the games.

CaptainPlanet of Planet Overwatch’s meta analysis on last week’s matches produces some interesting graphs (look at how huge the Tracer jumps in use this week), and offer critiques of the current balance and system regarding the no hero limit. CaptainPlanet argues that currently, hero stacking- using the same hero for two or more players- is too strong. More powerful cross-hero synergies like Pharah-Mercy was suggested to help de-incentivised the use of hero stacking.

YouTuber and sometimes Overwatch tournament caster OneAmongstMany also has strong opinions at the state of the game for the pro scene with no hero limits. He argues that hero stacking doesn’t increase the heroes’ strength and weaknesses, it just makes them stronger outright. Plus, if a competitive FPS is primarily played and won with using heroes that doesn’t have a high skill ceiling, like Winston, can it be taken seriously as a competitive FPS? Also, pros won’t bother high-skill ceiling heroes like Genji when two Winstons can reliably secure a win.

Of course, for casual play Overwatch is fine as it is without any critical problems aside from some balancing issues. While the idea of no hero limit shouldn’t be an issue can be something agreeable in the future, currently the balancing does not favour an exciting performance to watch, cast, and even play. The overtime mechanic is seriously abused with 5 Tracers on King Of The Hill maps, for instance. It would be interesting to see how Blizzard will respond to how the pro meta has formed with no hero limit, and adjust the heroes’ balance accordingly or not.

At the moment, these are all fair points that no hero limit will not result in interesting plays by the pros. In the short term, it will be a rough ride for the scene as cheese tactics will be running rampart. Seeing 5 Tracers the first time around was fun, but if it is the norm instead of a rarity, it robs a lot of the fun from watching pro games.

What about you? Should hero limits be implemented for pro matches? Sound off in the comments below.

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