Blizzard is making a big change to Overwatch matchmaking, aimed at helping team balance and composition. The new “Role Queue” system will have you pick your favored team roles before even heading into a game, and then pick a character from within those roles. It’s now available in the public test realm (PTR) server on PC, and will roll out as a beta from August 13-September 1.
With Role Queue, you’ll pick from tank, support, or damage classes first in Competitive and Quick Play modes. Then the matchmaking system will find two tanks, two supports, and two damage players, and match them together to make a team. From there you’ll pick which specific character you want to use within your designated class preference. Once a match ends, you return to the main menu and select your role again.
“Currently in Quick Play and Competitive Play, a lot of important decision-making happens in the 40 seconds before a match even begins, as everyone selects their heroes and responds to others’ role choices,” Blizzard explained. “It’s not uncommon for players–who may all have different goals and play styles–to feel tension, pressure, disappointment, or even hostility as a team composition comes together. The Role Queue system is designed to help take the edge off this process, ultimately leading to matches that feel fairer and more fun, where players are in roles that they want to be in.”
Since the roles are being split into three avenues, each role will have its own queue and you can see the estimated wait time for each role. Queuing up for a role that’s currently in high demand may grant rewards, but what these rewards are hasn’t been confirmed. Blizzard notes that behind the scenes, the Role Queue will allow it to rate players’ proficiency on each role individually, which will ensure better matches of similar skill levels.
You’ll also get a your own separate Skill Rating (SR) for each role in Competitive Play, from 1-5000. These numbers correspond with tier ratings: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master, and Grandmaster. Completing a season will also give you a reward of Competitive Points (CP) as always, but the CP totals have been changed. It’s now less per tier for each individual role, but more total if you play all three roles. There will also be four separate Top 500 Leaderboards–one for each role, and one combined average.
You’ll have to complete five placement matches at the start of each competitive season to get your SR for each role–or 15 total, if you want a SR for all three. Completing your placement matches will get you a special spray and player icon per season.
Finally, Blizzard notes that the Role Queue system was paired with a balance pass on existing heroes. So far the only disclosed change is coming to Brigitte, who is being updated to make her a better healer but decreasing her overall survivability. Blizzard says Brigitte was most effective as a third Healer or Tank, so these changes are intended to make her a better Support character.