How Role Queue Will Completely Change Overwatch
Tue 6th Aug 2019 - 7:32pm
On the first week of September, Blizzard will officially debut the new Role Queue system that will affect both Competitive and Quick Play matches. According to the developers, this change is being made in order to foster a more “fair and fun” environment for players and eliminates the occasional pre-match chaos when teammates can’t decide on who gets which role. This change will, no doubt, be somewhat divisive, as it completely kills certain team compositions and just changes how the entire game is played in general. But how exactly does it work?
With the new Role Queue system, players now have the option to select whether they’d like to play as one of three roles: Tank, Damage, and Support. The three of them have their own estimated queue time and ranking system, with players having a separate skill rating for each role. In an attempt to evenly distribute people, those who queue up for roles that are currently in demand will also receive additional rewards.
This change completely eliminates the need for flexing, as everyone is locked to their selected role throughout the course of a match. Widely popular compositions such as GOATS (three tanks + three supports) or unorthodox cheese strats that make use of uneven numbers of DPS heroes will no longer be usable as well, since teams are now forced into balanced “2-2-2” compositions.
Top 500 will now also be split across four different leaderboards in every region, with the fourth being a combined average leaderboard that requires players to be eligible on all three roles.
While this change does put an end to the dreaded GOATS composition, which has dominated both the Overwatch League and the competitive ladder, it also diminishes the usefulness of certain heroes such as Brigitte, who is mostly treated as an off-tank instead of a straight up support. Of course, Blizzard aims to address these issues, but the community will definitely need some time to adjust regardless.
Going forward, heroes will now be balanced with the 2-2-2 composition in mind, and everyone will settle on the new meta eventually. Expect a lot of changes throughout the rest of the year, especially in the upcoming season, as this new system could lead to some heroes becoming way more dominant or obscure than before, which would likely result in buffs and nerfs being thrown around during this transition period as the devs try to make everyone in the roster as equally viable as possible.
The Future of Overwatch
Personally, I believe that this change will lead to a somewhat less hostile gameplay experience overall. It won’t eliminate toxicity completely, but eliminating the need to discuss who gets what at the beginning and throughout the game will help reduce players’ frustrations to some extent. Unfortunately for flex players, this also means that they won’t be able to switch off their chosen role to pull off unexpected comebacks or compensate for an underperforming player anymore.
The forced 2-2-2 meta will lead to less creative compositions, but this could also be a good thing in the long run, as it will reduce the likeliness of a single unorthodox strategy dominating all levels of play again, leading to potentially stale/slow matchups.
This could be the breath of fresh air that the community needs, as this is a feature that a lot of people have been requesting for quite some time now. It feels nice to be able to comfortably learn and experiment with different roles without crippling yourself due to your MMR. For example, a support player with a high skill rating can now learn how to DPS in a different tier without feeling like they’re burdening the rest of their team.
The Role Queue system will drastically change how the game is played across the board, and it may seem a bit restricting and unnecessary at first. While some good things can come out of it, we should also acknowledge some of its potential disadvantages, such as disproportionate queue times, as players may just continue to flock towards DPS regardless of the incentives added to in demand roles.
It could also look like Blizzard is enforcing a certain playstyle, which could turn off both potential players and veterans alike. One thing they could do to make it feel less restricting is to add some sort of system where players can vote to switch roles during a match. For now, though, we’ll just have to wait and see how the devs will handle these issues throughout the coming months, as a lot can still change during the two-week beta season.
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