Overwatch

Kaplan reveals fate of separate Overwatch queues for main and off-tanks

by Andrew Amos
Blizzard Entertainment

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Jeff Kaplan has weighed in on some player-requested changes to Overwatch’s role queue, including dividing tank queues into main tank and off-tank, in an attempt to improve matchmaking as a whole.

Overwatch’s role queue has helped fix the game into a more stable 2-2-2 formation, giving the meta a few more constraints to grow in. While it’s taken away some of the more wacky combos, role queue has made ranked play a bit more bearable without having to fight for your position.

One exception to that is tanks. While there’s one uniform queue for the role, there’s two types of tanks ⁠— main and off-tanks. Players have long requested the queue be split into two to ensure every player is getting the role they want.

Overwatch Role Queue selection screen with Tank, Damage, and Support
Blizzard Entertainment
Overwatch players can choose between three roles to queue up for.

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However, separate queues for main and off-tanks will not be the answer, for now. Kaplan put speculation to rest on February 10, confirming split tank queues would not be coming to Overwatch in an attempt to speed up matchmaking.

“It’s an interesting suggestion,” he conceded, but added that "the more ‘buckets’ [the devs] add, the slower matchmaking will be. Overall, we want to reduce queue times, not impact them further.”

A big issue with Overwatch's role queue at the moment is the dividing up of players between three separate queues, so if a bunch of players only select one role, it can take a lot longer to find a balanced game with all roles filled.

D.Va on Volskaya Industries in Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Jeff Kaplan has shot down hopes of role queue being split into four for main and off-tanks.

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Dividing players into four queues will only thin out matchmaking even further, and increase queue times as a result. While main tanks and off-tanks have vastly different roles in Overwatch, they also fall under the same banner of ‘tank’ heroes.

To then split the queue into main tank and off-tank, Blizzard would then need to define what is a main tank and an off-tank, with the metas of both roles being in flux as of late.

While Orisa, Reinhardt, and Winston have long been dubbed main tanks, heroes like Wrecking Ball have filled both a main and off-tank role. Double main tank compositions revolving around Reinhardt and Orisa have also found a way into the meta, and splitting the queue will kill those.

Wrecking Ball on Junkertown in Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Heroes like Wrecking Ball would make defining main and off-tanks hard.

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There could be some changes down the line for role queue though that might give main and off-tanks some breathing room though. The Overwatch team is playing around with a few different variations, including a two-DPS, two-support, one-tank, and one-flex queue.

These new role queues are still in development and haven’t been launched on the Public Test Realm (PTR) yet, but Blizzard are looking at ways at ensuring everyone gets the best experience possible in the new queues.