Overwatch just brought Echo into the live game


The hero is now playable on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch

Blizzard rolled out a few big things for Overwatch this week including Echo, who just joined the live-game hero roster today, and changes to Competitive Play, like the removal of Map Pools.

Echo is one of the more exciting heroes in recent memory thanks to her versatile kit. The “evolutionary” robot can fire off projectiles, sticky bombs, and a confirm-the-kill focusing beam, to say nothing of her ultimate ability, Duplicate, which lets her become a clone of an enemy hero for a limited time.

I’ve been on a longstanding Overwatch break, but Echo makes me want to log back in. She’s fab.

The developers are also hoping to streamline the Competitive hero and map roster going forward.

As of April 13, there’s now a “single, unified” Hero Pool approach across the professional Overwatch League and the game’s public Competitive Play mode. The idea: to match them “as closely as possible” for a more “consistent viewing and play experience.” Blizzard’s banned hero picks will be based on “hero play rates from high-level Competitive Play matches,” and each week, starting on Monday morning, one Tank, one Support, and two Damage heroes will be temporarily unavailable in Overwatch.

Popular characters are likely candidates. That said, “heroes will not be removed two weeks in a row.”

“What we’re trying to address is the feeling that the game isn’t changing rapidly enough,” said principal game designer Scott Mercer. “This is one part of – along with more aggressive balance changes – helping make Overwatch an ever-evolving game.” Player-selected bans didn’t feel like “the right fit.”

Another big change: as of April 14, Blizzard has ditched Map Pools. Now, Competitive includes every map except for Paris and Horizon Lunar Colony, both of which need updates to “improve their play.”

The designers are “taking a look at Paris first with an eye toward updating the map’s layout and making it more fun to play.” Once these maps are in a better place, they’ll return to Competitive Play.

Today’s Overwatch update also includes a new Competitive Open Queue mode in the Arcade. It’s using the same Hero Pools and rules as regular Competitive, except players won’t have to deal with role restrictions or role queues, and Blizzard says it’ll stick around for “roughly four weeks.”