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Blizzard nixing hero stacking in Overwatch competitive play

Blizzard nixing hero stacking in  Overwatch  competitive play
July 13, 2016 | By Chris Kerr

July 13, 2016 | By Chris Kerr
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More: Console/PC, Design

Blizzard is about to make a major change to Overwatch's fledgling competitive play mode with the introduction of a one-hero limit.

The change is part of Blizzard's efforts toward continual balance and development, making changes to Overwatch while trying to keep its massive audience happy. Blizzard wants to ensure the higher stakes competitive matches aren't open to exploitation of any kind.

As it stands, competitive play, just like quick play, lets teams stack heroes, meaning one team could feature multiple versions of the same character. 

While stacking was well within the rules of the game, it was a system that allowed organized players to tilt the odds in their favor from the get-go. 

Smart teams, for example, could use stacking on Assault and Hybrid maps to overtake the first point before the defense could muster a counter attack.

Certain character stacking combinations have also been used to frustrate opponents by causing indefinite delays in overtime.

"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," said Overwatch game director, Jeff Kaplan. 

"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. 

"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."

The change is being tested as part of the new Public Test Region patch, but if it works as Kaplan hopes, Blizzard will roll it out as part of the upcoming PC, PS4, and Xbox One patches.

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