Overwatch to introduce sweeping changes to matchmaking

Ruben Fields
July 19, 2019

So far there hasn't been any news on if this coming to regular competitive has been announced, but could mean that a role queue system is in the works. As Overwatch players are familiar with, heroes are categorized into three roles: Tank, Damage, and Support. Blizzard plans to enforce balance by introducing better incentives like free loot boxes and such for lesser-played roles.

Further, it should improve overall balancing and team composition: a player in Gold, for example, may select a hero in a role they're not familiar with, and so their play isn't a true reflection of where they now sit in the rank if they've made it to gold with a completely different role. When entering Quick Play or Competitive Play, players will choose which role they want to play as before they even join a match. Which damage specialist & hero combo are you looking forward to seeing back on stage? The matchmaking system will then match two tanks, two supoprts, and two damage dealers to create a team.

Do you think this will be a welcome change? Here's what role lock means for you, competitive play, and the Overwatch experience broadly. Competitive players will now earn separate skill ratings for each role, earning a number between 1 and 5,000 and a tier ranging from Bronze to Grandmaster. Players will be able to see estimated wait times for each queue, and in some cases the game will offer incentives for playing an in-demand role. Matchmaking will be determined by player SR, but competitive players will first be required to complete five placement matches for each selected role at the start of each Competitive Season.

Havana, Overwatch's newest map, was played in stage three and saw a wild variety of compositions. Well, there may soon be a way of avoiding all the chaos of hero selection and coordination. Role Queue will launch officially for all players on September 1.

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The change is no doubt controversial, but will hopefully be good for the long-term health of Overwatch. Also, it doesn't guarantee a balanced team; it's seemingly possible to break from those pre-chosen roles and select any hero. The need for a 2-2-2 lock is largely in response to the "GOATS" meta, a strategy that uses three tanks and three supports (typically Reinhardt, Zarya, and D.Va paired with Brigitte, Lúcio, and Zenyatta). This is another step in the right direction for Overwatch; a game that has been quite attentive to the wishes of the players. The way new heroes are categorized will have lots of meaning within this new paradigm. Role Queue, however, will wind up benefiting everyone who's ever cursed their team for leaving certain roles unfilled.

Skill ratings will be updated for this change, as well.

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