On 18 July 2019 Jeff Kaplan, Vice President of Blizzard Entertainment and Game Director of Overwatch, announced a number of changes coming to the match-making system in Blizzard’s popular team-based first-person hero shooter game Overwatch. Kaplan addressed the Overwatch community in a Developer Update video uploaded to YouTube. This series of videos are regularly delivered to the Overwatch community to announce new heroes, maps and changes to the game.
The two main game modes available in Overwatch are Casual and Competitive. The Casual mode sees two teams of six players use unique heroes with their own weapons and abilities to complete objectives. Blizzard tries to balance the game in a way that makes each hero viable in a team. The Casual mode has no stakes or consequences for losing, and players will earn experience in order to level up their profile. The Competitive mode, from a gameplay perspective, is the same as the Casual mode. The big difference is that players play matches in order to rank up different competitive tiers: Bronze; Silver; Gold; Platinum; Diamond; Master; Grand Master. Season Ranking, or SR, is gained for every match won and lost for every defeat. Every win also comes with 10 Competitive Points, or CP, in order to purchase gold weapons.
The main change coming to matchmaking for both Casual and Competitive modes is Role Queue. Previously, players will enter a match and have to choose a character from a roster of heroes split between three categories: Damage, Tank and Support. Only one hero is allowed per team. With the Role Queue update players, before entering a match, will select which role they want to fill; Damage, Tank or Support. The system will then match the player with a team that will consist of 2 Damage players, 2 Tank players and 2 Support players. Whichever category a player signs up for will be the only category they can choose a hero from.
This change will also greatly impact the Competitive mode. The current Competitive mode is split into different seasons, with each new season being tweaked with feedback from the previous season. At the start of each season, players will have to play 10 “placement matches” in order for their skill to be evaluated and then to be placed into the appropriate competitive Tier. With the addition of Role
Queue, players will be required to play 5 placement matches per role; meaning 5 placement matches each for Damage, Tank and Support. This means that instead of 1 season ranking, there will now be 3, one for each role. The Top 500 leaderboards will now be split into 4 sections; 3 for each role and 1 for the overall rating. Players can choose to only play one specific role per season, but playing all 3 will earn them more rewards. Overwatch recently introduced a new hero in the form of Baptiste, a Support character, and a new map in the form of Havana.
Role Queue is currently available on the Public Test Server on PC test for players to try and give feedback. A two-week Role Queue Beta will run from 13 August to 1 September and will be available for all players on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Role Queue is currently planned to go live on 1 September 2019.
Edited by Kojo Essah
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