Rejoice! (Or doomsay, if you’re on the other side of the fence.) A special edition of the Overwatch League tie-in show Watchpoint just happened, and they’ve formally announced the worst-kept open secret in Overwatch: role queue is finally coming to our favorite Blizzard shooter.
Since the early days of Overwatch, players have been able to pick whatever character they want, and the game simply trusts all 6 to pick things that contribute to the team comp as a whole. If your team wants to go 6 supports, you could. No tank? No problem! However, this has led to some problems that have plagued multiplayer for months or even years. One idiot who instalocks Widowmaker can ruin the game for all 11 other people on the server. In addition, it sucks when you queue into a competitive match hoping to play DPS, only for your whole team to instalock DPS and force you onto tank, healer or both. With Role Queue, all teams are locked into 2 tanks, 2 healers and 2 DPS, and players will queue directly into one of those three options and not be allowed to switch mid-match.
Now, personally I can’t be more excited. I’m a support one-trick, I hardly ever want to play tank or DPS, and nothing’s worse than when the team’s full of support mains and I need to flex over to Soldier 76 or Zarya. Now I can play support without ever having to worry about needing to flex onto the other two roles. In addition, Blizzard should have a much easier time balancing heroes now that they only need to consider that hero’s strength in comparison to other heroes in that category (no need to worry about “Hog as a DPS” or “Brigitte as a tank”). and finally, I’m looking forward to those “additional rewards to incentivize playing tank or healer.” No complaints here if I get bonuses for doing what I already was going to do.
The main complaint against the 2-2-2 role lock is the reduction in “comp creativity”. A number of comps will no longer be possible, most infamously the 3-3 (aka GOATS) comp where three tanks and three healers take damage-dealing into their own hands. A problem many people see for the future is the prevalence of Bunker comp, a setup involving Mercy, Baptiste, and shield tanks protecting Baptiste. The arguments claim that without the natural bunker comp counter (comps involving 3 or more DPS), that meta will quickly grow just as stale as GOATS is now. Personally, I’m less nervous because I’ve never seen a bunker that can survive 3 or 4 combined offensives ults. I also think in the long run viewers, players and the developers will prefer seeing all three class comps showing up in every match.
Ultimately, Blizzard claims that they got permission from every single Overwatch League team before going ahead with preparing for Role Lock and that every team was in favor, so I think that pretty much ends the discussion on whether or not the pros support this change. I personally asked the Atlanta Reign at E3 whether they wanted Role Lock (40 minutes into the above video) and received 3 resounding yesses. Overall, I’m personally confident this will be a good thing for Overwatch going forward, and I can’t wait to start using the role queue to commit to being the support one-trick I’ve always been at heart.
According to Blizzard’s official announcement, the feature will be going live as a “beta season” in the Arcade from August 13 to September 1st, where we can still earn purple points and qualify for Top 500. Can’t wait!