Lead Overwatch developer Jeff Kaplan has answered community concerns about quick play matchmaking, specifically about backfill, with Team 4 working on a fix to improve the experience for all.
The idea behind backfill is to create fair and balanced quick play games when people leave. Because people can drop in and out of the game mode when they like, teams can be left in 5v6 situations if someone leaves early.
However, getting put into a game on backfill can be infuriating at the best of times. You can often get dropped into completely unwinnable games, before being spat back out into the queue to wait for another 10 minutes before finding another game.
While some players want backfill matchmaking completely abolished, Kaplan stated that such an idea was off the table. However, the team is looking at making backfilling in a game even rarer, and when it does happen, it won’t lead to a negative experience.
“Unfortunately, it’s best for matchmaking to sometimes substitute you into a match as a backfill,” he said in a March 16 forum post. “With that said, we would like to make some improvements.
“Once you serve as a backfill, there is supposed to be a cooldown on subbing you in again. But currently if you switch modes a lot (i.e. from quick play to mystery heroes), you can be backfilled multiple times in a row. In an upcoming patch, this will be fixed.”
He also acknowledged that backfilling into games that are almost over is going to be a thing of a past, but the devs are still ironing out the kinks.
“Being backfilled into a defeat screen is not ideal, no matter how long you wait," he added. "We want to address these issues. With backfilling, we’ll never be able to entirely eliminate them because of how some of the game modes work. but certainly, it can be better than it is today.
Kaplan also mentioned there are fixes on the way for how backfilling works for roles with long queue times like DPS, but didn’t elaborate on how Blizzard plan on getting players into fairer games quicker without the use of the mechanic.
The backfill improvements are a part of a number of matchmaking changes touted for Overwatch as the devs look to make the game more balanced. The triple-damage experimental mode test looked to shorten DPS queue times and provide a more exciting meta.
On top of that, queue times for specific roles in the current 2-2-2 role lock have shrunk over time, while the rank disparity between teams in competitive has also been cut back.
While Kaplan didn’t elaborate when the backfill fixes would be coming, players should keep their eyes out when Patch 1.47 comes out.