Role queue in doubt as Overwatch League reportedly vetoes role lock

Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Reports suggest that the Overwatch League isn’t going to move to a 2-2-2 role lock for the upcoming Stage 3 after all.

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It was initially reported by Rod ‘Slasher’ Breslau that Blizzard are planning major changes to the way the game works and that these changes would likely be debuted in the Overwatch League.

While Slasher wasn’t explicit about what those changes might be, the implication many took from it was that Blizzard were considering implementing role restrictions.

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Robert Paul for Blizzard EntertainmentThe Overwatch League won’t be implementing a role lock yet.
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Game director Jeff Kaplan has discussed the possibility of a role queue as being something that the developers are open to on multiple occasions in recent months, and debuting such a change in the OWL, where players can simply be told to follow role lock rules, would seemingly make sense ahead of implementing the change in-game, which Kaplan has said requires months of work.

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Unfortunately for fans hoping to see a role lock, according to a report by Overwatch journalist Arran ‘Halo’ Brown role restrictions will not be implemented for the next stage of the Overwatch League, which kicks off on June 6.

Despite all 20 of the league’s teams reportedly pushing for a role lock rule to be implemented, the Overwatch League itself has apparently vetoed the idea.

The report comes as disappointing news for both fans of the league and Overwatch players hoping to see a role queue soon, as Blizzard’s hesitation to implement a role lock rule in the OWL would seem to suggest that they’re not ready to make such a drastic change to the game, at least at this time.

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Blizzard EntertainmentA role queue would lock players into a particular role for the duration of a game.

Why have a role lock?

A role lock would see players restricted to playing heroes within a particular role for the duration of the match, forcing teams to maintain a certain balance of roles. If Blizzard were to ever introduce a role lock, it would almost certainly enforce a 2-2-2 composition, with an even split of Tank, Support, and Damage heroes.

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In matchmaking, this would mean that teams are forced to run at least a somewhat viable composition, negating the possibility for teams to end up stuck in line-ups without the tanks or supports necessary to realistically work. Players could also be given different ranks for separate roles, improving the chances of properly balanced matches.

Though role lock technically means fewer options, for pro players it would likely be a welcome break, as for many months now the highest level of play has been dominated by the triple-tank, triple support GOATS composition that has been criticized by players and viewers alike.

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From Blizzard’s perspective, it also makes balancing heroes somewhat easier, as there are fewer possible combinations in which they can be used and therefore fewer scenarios that the developers have to account for when determining how powerful a hero should be.

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