Overwatch

Jeff Kaplan reveals the future of Overwatch role queue

by Michael Gwilliam
Blizzard Entertainment

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Overwatch’s role queue system has been both praised and criticized since its addition to the game in 2019 - but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere, according to Game Director Jeff Kaplan.

Role queue was one of Overwatch’s most-requested features and was finally added in September, 2019. The move saw Blizzard’s hero-based FPS change drastically, from being an anything-goes competitive free-for-all to limiting teams to two heroes per role.

However, by forcing teams to have more balanced compositions, players looking to play the popular DPS role saw their queue times increase heavily. That said, for Jeff Kaplan, it’s been worth it.

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DPS players have longer queues than tanks and supports.

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Speaking with IGN, Kaplan said the development team was pleased with the results of role queue. He noted there is less toxicity in games and players are happier, as a whole.

One of the big issues players had prior to role queue was how there were no restrictions on what you or your team could play. This meant that it was common to have teams made up of multiple DPS heroes who refused to play support.

The end result was players being forced to “fill” onto a role they may not have been comfortable with, leading to tilted teams and toxic behavior.

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Role queue will likely return for Overwatch 2.

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With 2-2-2 role queue, players know exactly what role they’re going to play even before they load into a game. This meant that if you wanted to play tank, you’re guaranteed to be able to do so, and you’d also have two healers on your team, as well.

According to Jeff, it’s very likely that role queue returns for Overwatch 2 - and it won’t be removed anytime soon.

He also touched on the idea of 3-2-1 - a concept of role queue that was tested in the Experimental Mode, where teams consisted of three DPS, two supports and one tank. While it wasn’t well-received, he believes he knows why.

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Winning in Overwatch is tough without a main tank.

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“If Overwatch would have released with a 3-2-1 system, everyone would probably be fine with it, but since we didn't, players got used to something and don't want to see it be changed,” Kaplan explained.

Could this be a hint that Overwatch 2 will release with the 3-2-1 system instead of 2-2-2? Only time will tell.