Blizzard Entertainment recently released information on a new feature that is set to overhaul the current matchmaking system in place for Overwatch – Role Queue.
Previously, matchmaking let players have the liberty of choosing any character within its 40-second timeframe.
This led to problems with team composition and player satisfaction as sometimes it produced wildly unbalanced teams, with players refusing to compromise on their chosen pick or players having to concede and select a character that they were unfamiliar or uncomfortable with just for the sake of the team.
These problems also extend to the competitive scene, with team composition made up of three tanks and three support currently dominating as the game’s meta, coined as the GOATS meta. With few deviating away from this meta because of its effectiveness, repetitive and boring matches start becoming the norm.
All this will change with Role Queue, which is now available as part of Overwatch’s Public Test Realm. Now, players will have to make a selection between three roles – tank, support and damage – before being loaded into a match.
Each role will only be limited to two players per team, resulting in a streamlined 2-2-2 team formation. Though players cannot change out of the role they have chosen for the duration of the match, they still can switch between the many characters that encompass that role.
Speaking on why the decision was made to make such a drastic change to the game, Overwatch Game Director, Jeff Kaplan, cited the current match balance. He said in a YouTube video: “You might go into a match with the intention of playing Reinhardt, but there are already multiple tanks in your team, so you end up playing Widowmaker instead. In that case, you might actually perform much better or worse as a tank than you would as a damage player, and the match balance is constantly in flux because of this.”
Coming alongside the new matchmaking system will be an under-the-hood matchmaking rating for every single role. For competitive play, in particular, there will be three skill ratings, each one based on tank, support and damage.
“We found this internally to be a lot of fun, a lot of us are rediscovering things about ourselves that we didn’t even know,” said Jeff, who later elaborated that he thought that support was his second-best role but in actuality, it was his worst.
Because of how drastic the new system will be for matches, Blizzard Entertainment will be updating the balance of characters in order to fit their role better. Brigitte, in particular, will have her healing abilities upgraded but at the cost of having a lower heath pool.
Those who are already comfortable with the current matchmaking system won’t have to immediately readjust as arcade mode will have it saved under Quick Play Classic.
With this being one of the biggest changes to come to the game, Jeff also hopes to seek patience from players to improve and work out the kinks. “Please work with us on this, we’re doing this to make the game better, we believe that it will make the overall experience for all you better and that’s why we are making the change,” he said.
Role Queue is already running as part of the Public Test Realm on PC and is expected to be publicly available for consoles on 1 September 2019.
Watch the video here:
Visuals courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.