Geoff Goodman on hero bans and D.Va’s place in the game

Geoff Goodman on hero bans and D.Va’s place in the game

Overwatch developer Geoff Goodman briefly explained the potential introduction of hero bans and the current state of D.Va during a stream at Blizzard HQ.

Jonathan “Reinforce” Larsson (former pro player - now Overwatch League broadcast analyst) talked with Geoff Goodman (Overwatch lead designer) during a stream that took place at Blizzard headquarters. They discussed about several topics, and among them the chance to introduce hero bans and the place of D.Va in the current meta.

 
 

Hero Bans require a bigger roster

As a spectator, you want to see a player using his best heroes, so hero bans can turn into a potential issue if they become player-targeted instead of being just composition or meta-targeted.

Hero bans bring many advantages, and the main argument is that the meta gets mixed up more, but this isn’t necessarily true for Overwatch because right now we have about 30 heroes. If you pick a meta composition and it has just one real counter, banning that specific counter will strengthen the meta even more.

Note: I believe Brigitte is an appropriate example to support his words.

Geoff concludes telling they had lots of discussions about hero bans and there is definitely the potential to introduce them, but we will have to wait a while more because they need a deeper hero pool first.

I follow the meta of several esports games, and hero bans are one of the most important statistics to find out if a hero is balanced or not. The pick rate is also crucial, and the win rate can be similarly influential depending on the sample considered, but when studying the bans you must think about two possibilities:

  • The hero was banned because it counters another hero or a particular strategy.

  • The hero was banned because eliminating it from the game is easier than countering it. This hero is so powerful that dealing with it would require too much time and resources.

In MOBA games such as Dota 2, Heroes of the Storm, and League of Legends, when a hero reaches a draft rate (ban + pick rate) above 90%, you know that it requires a nerf because is just too strong in the current meta.

I believe that hero bans are essential in any game and Overwatch would greatly improve with them, but I agree with Geoff: it is just too early for their introduction due to the limited hero pool. Probably, we need to duplicate the current number of heroes as right now there aren’t enough counters against particular compositions and strategies.

More: All the Overwatch team compositions in chronological order.

D.Va’s Defense Matrix is too strong

 
 

Geoff explains that D.Va is an interesting hero because she is not often complained about, but her win rate is really insane at pretty much all levels while retaining a solid win rate.

They do not have exact plans on how to address her state and if nerf her in some way. He believes that Defense Matrix is extremely strong, but they don’t want to limit the damage absorption to a certain amount, otherwise it would turn into another standard barrier.

They also hoped the new Symmetra would work against D.Va thanks to the damage of her primary fire. Generally, Symmetra and Mei are heroes with a lot of potential, but probably they aren’t popular due to the amount of practice needed to use them with certain strategies and on specific maps.

Finally, during the steam Geoff affirmed they are not planning any big rework, and if they did, they would probably work on Bastion.

One of the reasons behind the GOATS meta is that playing DPS heroes makes almost no sense nowadays because tank characters are able to deal almost as much damage as them. For example, D.Va can to dish out a huge amount of damage while also possessing mobility, utility, and a great survivability.

Instead, I consider Zarya a balanced hero. She has no mobility skills and isn’t very tanky while Particle Barrier is on cooldown: if you focus fire her, the bubble will expire quickly, and the hero has 0 armor to mitigate damage. The damage of Particle Cannon should not be underestimated, but you also need time to charge it.

We don’t know yet how Blizzard will deal with D.Va, but apparently they are brainstorming ideas to balance the hero.

In the Tier Lists, you can find out that D.Va has been one of the most picked heroes in the game by pro players during the past year. The Graph below shows her pick rate by map at Overwatch World Cup 2018 Qualifiers.

 DVa pick rate Overwatch World Cup 2018 September

Header image: Blizzard

Vincenzo is an esports writer with five years of experience. Former head editor for Natus Vincere, he has produced content for DreamHack, FACEIT, DOTAFire, 2P, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.