Blizzard have revealed that they’ve looked into the possibility of adding a role queue to Overwatch, and it might even be in the works right now.
Overwatch players have long requested some form of “role queue” that would not only allow players to guarantee their role of choice in a game, but also ensure that each team had a viable balance of roles.
As it stands, even in the ranked competitive playlist there’s nothing stopping every player on a team stubbornly locking in a DPS character, resulting in a composition that is very unlikely to succeed.
Most players agree that if a role queue were to be added, an enforced “2-2-2” split of tanks, healers, and DPS would produce a viable line-up far more often.
Blizzard originally insisted that such a restriction would go against one of the core philosophies of Overwatch, which is its line-up flexibility, but more recently they seem to have come around on the idea. In January 2019, game director Jeff Kaplan revealed that much the Blizzard Overwatch team liked the idea of a role queue.
At the time it was little more than a confirmation that Blizzard were at least considering the idea, but in a recent interview with Overwatch YouTuber Stylosa, Kaplan revealed that not only is role queue a possibility, but work on it might already have begun.
“If we wanted to pursue something like a role queue it is months and months of rewriting on the matchmaking system, and I know this from doing deep heavy research on it, I’m not just speculating. We actually have people doing work on this now.”
Discussion of role queue begins at 7:27 for mobile viewers.
While Kaplan gave no clue as to a timeline for such changes, it’s quite possible that the fruits of this work are already beginning to manifest. On the Public Test Realm, Quick Play and Competitive modes were disabled for some time after the most recent patch, and Kaplan revealed that this was because of changes being made to the matchmaking system.
"We’re testing some under the hood changes on the PTR that affect the matchmaker. These changes are only enabled in the Arcade. We needed to put load on Arcade modes to load the matchmaker.”
There are still issues with a role queue, however, such as the current disparity in role distribution. Though Kaplan believes the addition of a role queue would encourage a gradual shift in the balance, if it were added right now the immediate result would be queue times of 13 to 26 minutes longer for DPS players, the game’s most popular role.
Despite the difficulties a role queue presents, fans hoping to see the system implemented can hold out hope. “We are excited about role queue and a 2-2-2 meta, that is something we would like to pursue,” Kaplan said, further implying that this could be something in the works right now.