Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan unveiled the new Priority Pass system designed to cut queue times on November 16. Now, new details about the feature have been revealed as Blizzard looks to ship it live, first taking a detour past the Public Test Realm (PTR).
Blizzard have heeded players’ calls to fix queue time problems in Overwatch, implementing a new Priority Pass system.
The feature lets players jump the queue for popular roles at that time so they can get into game quicker. There is a pay-off for this privilege — you have to queue Flex originally, earning passes for wins and losses while doing so.
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“The goal of the system is to speed up queue times for everybody, and the way this is done is by highly encouraging the behavior that people queue for as many roles as possible, that’s the way to make the queue move as fast as possible,” Jeff Kaplan told players.
However, with the Priority Pass feature hitting the PTR on November 19, Blizzard have revealed more details about the system, and when we can potentially expect a release.
The Priority Pass system will work better the more players there are in queue. If you have a Priority Pass and start queuing for a role when there’s thousands of players looking for a game, you should notice a cut in queue times — especially for DPS mains.
The Priority Pass is expected to be a more long-term fix to compared to “band-aid” solutions in the past.
“The populations of the three roles are very different. Mathematically, it’s difficult to get around that, so Priority Pass is really about trying to equalize the populations queuing for games,” designer Scott Mercer said.
“The most important thing we’re looking out for is: at the end of the day, how can we make Overwatch more fun for our players?”
Principal game designer @GScottM dives into Overwatch's new Priority Pass feature, which is now testing on the PTR.
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) November 19, 2020
If you queue up in a team, not everyone will have to use a Priority Pass to be put in the fast-tracked queue. Only the players queueing up for “impacted roles” (mostly DPS players) will have to spend passes.
The game will also display exactly how much time you’ll be cutting off your queues by using a Priority Pass, so you can choose whether to use it or keep it in your pocket for a better time.
Blizzard, however, has warned players testing the feature that they shouldn’t expect drastic cuts in queue times on the PTR.
“The Priority Pass’ ability to reduce queue times is heavily dependent on the number of people actively in queue. This means that if you use a Priority Pass on PTR, your queue times may remain relatively unchanged compared to queueing without using a Priority Pass,” community manager Josh Nash said.
“Our goal on the PTR is to test the stability of the feature rather than its efficacy at reducing queue times. We will get a better idea of the efficacy of the reduction to queue times once the feature reaches a much wider audience in the live environment.”
The Overwatch Priority Pass feature is now live on the PTR. It will be added to live servers in the coming weeks.