While the Summer Games event has only just kicked off in Overwatch, Blizzard has even more big news for fans of the game, as they've unveiled a new system called Role Queue, which game director Jeff Kaplan also discusses in the video below.
"The Overwatch community is always evolving alongside the game, becoming more in tune with the game's intricacies and discovering and sharing new high-level approaches to play. Today we're introducing a brand-new Role Queue system to help ensure Overwatch matches continue to be fair and fun well into the future, and create an environment that fosters teamwork and encourages players to bring their very best to every match," Blizzard writes.
At the moment you choose your role at the opening of a match, but with this new system that won't work in quite the same way. Right now Blizzard feels players have "tension, pressure, disappointment, or event hostility" as a team composition is assembled (we've all been there, when your team needs a healer and a Hanzo pops up), but the matchmaking and queuing systems in Competitive and Quick Play have been changed in an attempt to avoid this.
With Role Queue you select which role you want to play - tank, support, or damage - before any matches start, and the system will match two tanks, two supports, and two damages together, with players this selecting their heroes within the role once they're in the match, forcing a 222 setup. At the end of the match you'll return to the menu to select your role, and the process repeats.
Each of the three roles has its own queue with their own estimates for wait times, decided based on the number of players, and those who queue for roles in high demand may even get a reward as an incentive.
"We believe that Role Queue will improve match quality, give players more control over their gameplay experience, and provide more positive social experiences between teammates," Blizzard writes, before adding that balance is also being addressed here, since Role Queue affects balance for heroes like Brigitte who can play in multiple roles. She's being updated to provide more healing overall, also decreasing her survivability, pushing her more into the Support role (you can find out more details here).
Role Queue will let Blizzard decide matchmaking ratings based on each role in Quick Play, letting them matchmake games based on ratings for each role, which they hope will result in games that are fairer and better matched. This also means separate skill ratings for each role in Competitive Play, assigned to a number between 1 and 5,000, as well as a tier. Matchmaking is once again calculated using the SR of a chosen role, with five placement matches needed to get an initial rating.
Right now Role Queue is only available in the public test region on PC, but will be arriving on live servers on patch 1.39, with a beta season coming from August 13 to September 1. These results won't count towards permanent competitive season stats though.
As for esports, a 222 role lock will be in place for all Overwatch League matches in Stage 4 too, and you can find a separate blog on that right here.
What do you make of this change?