Overwatch Adds Ranked Role Queue, Makes Major Competitive Changes
Overwatch fans have been asking for a significant shift to the way ranked matches work in the game, and Blizzard has finally obliged after months of deliberation and testing. This is a big departure for Big Blue, who has traditionally been very slow and reluctant to make any changes to their ranked ecosystem, and hopefully, a good sign of further experimentation and trying to engage the community.
Role Queue Finally Hits Overwatch
Blizzard has finally relented and listened to their biggest community members and implemented a full-on ranked role queue for Overwatch. This is in addition to an open queue with a separate ladder for people who want that traditional ladder experience – though it could be unlikely to gain traction now that the community has what it wants.
The Overwatch ranked role queue means that you’ll finally queue up as DPS, a Tank, or Support, and get the type of match you want to play every time. Previously the biggest issue with Overwatch is that you had to know how to play every role and hero to fit your team. That will no longer be the case.
New Caps on Skill Rating Out of Ranked Placements
Now when you finish your placements, you will be placed at a maximum of 3900 SR, meaning you’ll always have to grind at least a little bit to hit Masters and Grandmasters. This will give streamers and other players something to push for every season and give players a reason to play to maintain their ranks and rewards at the end of the season.
“This change is intended to address many of the issues that SR Decay tried to fix, but in a more positive manner that rewards staying active and playing more games instead of penalizing players for not playing enough,” Blizzard CM Josh Nash said. “Achieving a very high SR at the end of a season can no longer be achieved by completing a mere five placement matches. This does mean you may see larger SR differences between all the players in a very high SR match than in previous seasons, as two similar and highly skilled players might have different SRs based on how many games they’ve played during the season.”
A Community Heard at Last
Blizzard’s track record with listening to Overwatch fans has been less than stellar. They have stalled development on their game to focus on Overwatch 2 by and large, they’ve also been extremely reluctant to make sweeping changes to their game, even after fans have requested request. This is largely because of the leadership’s extreme devotion to their game design ideals and business interest from Activision Blizzard as a whole.
However, this change does seem to signal a shift that the development team realizes they are largely falling behind other game titles in terms of innovation. They need to make a change to keep the playerbase that they do have engaged with the Overwatch universe. This will be especially important as the launch of Overwatch 2 approaches and they look to encourage lapsed fans to come back for the sequel.
These changes also help the pro community, who have long been asking for a way to engage with their audience on the ladder (which the 3900 placement cap will do), as well as a specialized way for them to practice their specific roles (which role queue will finally do.)
There are also a few changes to the hero balance in the patch notes, including nerfing Ashe’s dynamite, Brigitte’s repair pack, a massive buff for D.Va, and a buff for Junkrat.
Overall, this is an excellent day for Overwatch fans, and hopefully, a sign of a brighter tomorrow for the game.