Blizzard responded to backlash over the controversial new ‘region lock’ feature in Overwatch, explaining it’s a result of regions no longer ‘existing’ at all and is an intended feature.
Before the crossplay update went live, players could choose which region’s servers they wanted to play on, no matter where they were. However, after the June 22 patch, Overwatch no longer allowed players to switch regions manually.
Doing so would result in putting players on their nearest server.
Naturally, it didn’t take long for players to notice this change, and many weren’t happy — especially because it was conveniently left out of the patch notes.
Now, Blizzard has released an official statement to address the “confusion” about region locking and confirmed its intended feature.
“[The] update has caused some confusion in the community about region locking and swapping, so let’s take a moment to provide some clarity about details that might not be immediately clear,” they said.
“The simple answer is, you are placed into the best match based on a variety of factors, including player skill and ping.
“Getting more technical, it’s because the regions no longer exist (at least not in the way players traditionally understand), so there is no region to swap to.”
However, they did confirm players can still play with friends from other regions.
They said: “In the case you’re in a party, our systems work to place you in games with the lowest ping and best skill level for you or your party.”
The change is supposed to help minimize queue times and keep the average ping as low as possible, which sounds good in theory.
But some players, like former Overwatch League pro Scott ‘Custa’ Kennedy, have been finding themselves mixed with opponents from different countries, including from Korean servers, which is basically like playing on “hardcore” difficulty.
Oh god please no
— Scott Kennedy (@Custa) June 22, 2021
Fortunately, Blizzard confirmed they have recently made a “configuration change” that should “greatly reduce” the odds of this happening. However, they promised to keep an eye on the issue and make adjustments as needed.
So, despite being intended, and not stopping players from playing with friends from other regions, it’s fair to say it hasn’t been a massive hit in the community.
Blizzard is keeping tabs on feedback, though, so every opinion counts.