What is Role Queuing in Overwatch?
Overwatch is arguably Blizzard’s opus magnum. It’s a stellar blend of a unique and vibrant world, characters that truly sing and come to life, and gameplay that puts the likes of Call of Duty to shame.
It is a competitive first-person shooter, and as with any and all competitive fps’, ranked gameplay is a high priority of the player base.
Overwatch is also a character-driven game, with players getting to choose from a variety of heroes who they want to take into battle.
Now combine these two aspects, and you’re in for a world of trouble. Since the dawn of time, players have screeched down their $20 dollar mics, bursting your eardrums, and telling you to play support, all because they don’t want to play support.
It’s a tired old tale and one that was all too prevalent in Overwatch. Both in casual and ranked. This was because players could choose whatever class they liked, and often players played what class they wanted, not what class was needed.
What often followed was a game of frustration, anger, and toxicity as the team would inevitably lose due to poor balance. Not being able to double up on heroes didn’t help this issue either.
Blizzard, seeing this problem, set out to develop a solution, and in 2019, develop a solution they did.
Role queing is an ingenious new way for players to search for matches. An approach that hopefully goes on to shape the standard in the industry and improve the quality of life for Overwatch players everywhere.
In a press release, Blizzard stated that the feature was created to “create an environment that fosters teamwork.” The idea is simple, you and your teammates select your role before finding a game, and the algorithm matches you with the appropriate players.
It works off of a three-queue system. When searching, players are presented with three options for which queue they wish to join: tank, damage, and support, one for each class.
The matchmaker then composes each team with two players from each queue, or role. If you play a more mainstream class, your wait times may end up being longer than those who focus more on support.
This is naturally expected given the system, but something to bear in mind for players all the same.
Blizzard has also added a separate ranking system to compliment this new change. Essentially, each queue gets their own individual rank, allowing players not just to be ranked on general skill alone, but on their ability to cater to a specific niche role.
When they introduced this change, Blizzard also rolled out a few character changes to allow all heroes to fit comfortably into one of these three roles. So, this wasn’t just some half-assed feature, this was a full-fledged overhaul.
To further evidence this overhaul, Blizzard applied the system to the OWL as well, forcing teams into a 2-2-2 team composition, and effectively killing the three tank three support meta in its tracks.
The general opinion is that Blizzard has done an excellent job with this change. Hopefully, more leagues adopt this structure, to spice up gameplay and prevent the games from getting monotonous.