Following the excitement of the Stage 3 Playoffs, Blizzard announced role queue for Overwatch as well as 2-2-2 role lock coming to Overwatch League Stage 4. Many speculate that this is in response to pressure from the community as well as players and coaches in the Overwatch League. Also, role lock will be coming to Competitive Play and Quick Play in beta form on Aug. 13, but it is currently available to test now on Overwatch PTR. Finally, several hero changes will be coming in response to balance with 2-2-2 compositions.
Role queue will be introduced to both Competitive and Quick Play matchmaking. Each role will display estimates for queue time, and roles in high demand will provide incentives. For Competitive Play, each role will have a separate SR rating for a total of three SR ratings. None of the ratings will influence each other to keep players comfortable at their skill level for each role.
As for seasonal rewards, players who complete role placements will receive a special spray and player icon, as well as Competitive Points to spend on golden guns. CP will be rewarded for all roles completed and for the highest tier received in each role. More total CP will be available for players who complete placements in all three roles. Top 500 leaderboards will now be separated into four different boards, one for each of the three roles and one for a combined average of each role’s SR. Players must complete 25 matches for each role to be considered for the top 500 combined leaderboard.
Role queue is currently available on the Overwatch PTR, which can be accessed on the Blizzard Downloader. Blizzard will be rolling out a role queue beta season for Competitive Play Aug. 13 through Sept. 1. Following that, role queue will be officially live for Quick Play and Competitive Play.
New stage, new rules
For the Overwatch League, it won’t simply just be about how many of each position. The 2-2-2 Role Lock will work as such:
- All compositions: 2 Damage Heroes, 2 Tanks, 2 Supports.
- Players will not change roles during a map.
- Players can change heroes within their given role.
- Facing stage, players will be seated: 2 Damage, 2 Tanks, 2 Supports.
- If players do change roles between maps, they must change seats according to the new role.
Many figures in the Overwatch League feel strongly that the introduction of role lock to both OWL and Competitive will provide much-needed structure to the gameplay. However, conversation in the Overwatch community on forums shows a more divided stance. Several players indicate that restricting creativity and freedom to discover new compositions will create stale and repetitive gameplay. In the first iterations of Overwatch, multiple players could play the same hero. Eventually, Blizzard decided to lock a hero for a single player. Community reactions were quite similar, but a more structured Overwatch created an environment for a healthy, more entertaining meta.
What to expect
Following the Atlanta Homestand, Andrej “babybay” Francis and Dustin “Dogman” Bowerman spoke with ESPN Esports. Both argued that the response to one hero per player was similar to the current response to role lock, but both changes are necessary for a healthy game. “But overall, there will be more exciting moments most likely,” Dogman explained, “and I think that it’ll be just a better spectator sport.” Babybay predicted that teams will need to adjust for the meta shift and predicted that many will focus on having both a hitscan and projectile specialist. Some teams have already started making moves and preparing for the huge meta shift.
As far as the hero changes go, overall ultimates have been reduced and big changes to 3-3 heroes such as Brigitte, Reinhardt, and Sombra. Reinhardt is being buffed to resist stun and knockback, while Brigette is being reshaped into a bigger healing role. These changes could change the 2-2-2 meta even more, reintroducing previously ineffective heroes back into the fray.
These balance patches are always subject to change, but be sure to check back here at Daily Esports for the latest updates. Let us know what you think about these massive changes!