After a brutal Overwatch 2 mid-season balance patch, all I can think about is how desperately the game needs a ban hero button

Hammond/Wrecking Ball shocked face
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Around this time in an Overwatch 2 season, Blizzard will roll out a balance patch. This doesn't usually have to be very big, as it's just a way to change up each hero's abilities, especially if they seem to be overpowered or not strong enough in the meta. But this time Blizzard has come out swinging. 

The mid-season patch for season 11 released to a pretty mixed response. There are usually some disgruntled mumblings after a patch as someone's hero of choice has been weakened in one way or another, but this is usually a tiny portion of the playerbase. Blizzard has been pretty decent at balancing and correcting heroes as of late. 

An integral part of Overwatch 2 is countering: picking a hero that'll trump an enemy's choice, kind of like a big game of rock, paper, scissors. So this means changing one hero usually has a domino effect on the rest of the roster. For example, a small change in the recent patch sees Cassidy's damage over distances of 30 meters or more greatly decreased. This prevents the hero from dominating long-range fights, but it also indirectly strengthens heroes like Pharah and Echo, who make use of long-range aerial battles, as now there's one less character to effectively hit them out of the sky. So, with how complicated it is, I don't envy the devs who need to think up these patches. 

With that said, the recent changes are pretty polarising. The biggest change involves all the tanks on the roster, as every single one of them has been buffed to the extreme. Every tank now does more damage, has more health/shield, or both. Mauga can now heal 800hp in three seconds with his Cardiac Overdrive ability, Reinhardt's shield not only regens faster now but also has 200 more hp, and Ramattra technically has over 1000hp in his Nemesis form when you take into account his armour reduction. If you go through the patch notes, you can see that every tank has been made significantly stronger. 

After the move from 6v6 to 5v5, Blizzard made some changes to the tank roll, most of which strengthened it to compensate for the fact that there's only one per team now. This included giving Zarya two bubbles and adding more health to each tank. Since then, Blizzard has been trying to get the balance right between having tanks as the star of the show or just a glorified meatshield for support and DPS heroes to hide behind—this new patch definitely points towards the former. 

While tank players are having a grand old time with this patch, everyone else is reeling from the results. "So far, 12 hours in, gotta say, tank is MUCH more fun," Overwatch streamer and top 500 tank main Flats says on Twitter. "HOWEVER, other roles are suffering, and that can't stay. I do wish we could have both, though I don't think that's possible." 

Other Overwatch streamers have had a similar experience with the latest patch, as some have already started plotting ways to get it overturned: "I will brutally bully every support/DPS player until they inevitably nerf tank and I return to playing Lifeweaver," Bogur tweets

I played a couple of games last night, and as someone who mainly picks support heroes and is an Ana main, it was a rough few hours. Ana's a retired sniper, so I'm used to everyone else running and jumping around as I slowly walk to the objective. But I felt significantly more vulnerable last night as tanks like Wrecking Ball, who are stronger than ever, were able to make my life hell in the backline. Especially as Ana's sleep dart was nerfed, so tanks now stay asleep for a shorter period of time, giving me even less of a window to escape. The answer for the time being is for me to play more mobile support heroes like Kiriko or Moira, but the aftermath of this patch has made me want a ban hero button now more than ever. 

Someone's gotta go 

Every Overwatch player will have one or two heroes that they absolutely despise—for me, that has to be Mercy and Wrecking Ball. The latter just irks me as it'll chase me around the map, catapulting me into the sky and then running off at 10hp, only for the same thing to happen again and again. The former is just a frustrating hero to play against, thanks to her resurrection ability and the fact that Blizzard just hasn't been able to get the balance right with her moveset and skills. 

League of Legends gives players a chance to ban heroes before games begin. It's a good way to get rid of champions that are frustrating to play with and against while also being a way for players to voice discontent. After the recent $500 Ahri skin controversy, many players took to banning the champ to show that they weren't happy with the extortionate price of the skin.  

I understand that banning heroes in Overwatch wouldn't be easy to accomplish and may mess up team compositions or even your favourite hero pick. However, I still believe that it would be a useful tool to make games more enjoyable, especially after rough patches that may make some heroes ridiculously powerful. This feature wouldn't be needed in Quick Play as that's the casual option, but it would certainly make my life a hell of a lot easier and more enjoyable in competitive. 

Mauga overwatch

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Hero bans for Overwatch isn't a new idea—the community has discussed it pretty regularly over the last eight years or so. A year ago, Flats actually talked about the subject on stream, pointing out that it would give a chance for players at various skill levels to have a say on what heroes are troublesome to them and would probably give Blizzard some interesting data about which characters were universally disliked. However, he also noted a potential problem with this: 

Without a streamer mode in the game, you're not banning off of what makes the game fun.


"When you skew yourself up to the higher ranks where everyone kind of knows each other, what will happen is targeted bans, 'I see someone on the enemy team, they play this hero, ban that hero,'" Flats says. "Without a streamer mode in the game, you're not banning off of what makes the game fun. You're banning to make your chance of winning higher based on prior knowledge." Although, this is kind of the point for most players, so it wouldn't be as much of an issue in lobbies without streamers.

But with that said, this isn't as big of an issue anymore, as Blizzard introduced an improved Streamer Mode to Overwatch 2 a couple of months back for season 10. Instead of changing how your name appears on your screen, which is only useful for those streaming Overwatch, you can now change it for everyone, making it harder to identify well-known players when you're in games with them.

Maybe this is a feature that Blizzard is slowly working towards, or perhaps it's just a pipe dream. Either way, I'm still hoping for the addition of a ban hero button someday (hopefully soon) because, after the latest patch, I need at least one way to get away from Wrecking Ball.

Elie Gould
News Writer

Elie is a news writer with an unhealthy love of horror games—even though their greatest fear is being chased. When they're not screaming or hiding, there's a good chance you'll find them testing their metal in metroidvanias or just admiring their Pokemon TCG collection. Elie has previously worked at TechRadar Gaming as a staff writer and studied at JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs about Smash Bros. or any indie game that crossed their path.