Today is a day that marks a change to the core functionality of Overwatch that will be remembered by players everywhere for years to come. After months of speculation and rumors, role queue has officially come to Overwatch and is now live on the Public Test Realm (PTR) for PC players.
Choose your role.
Introducing Role Queue, Overwatch’s newly overhauled matchmaking and queuing system now live on PTR!
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) July 18, 2019
Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan announced the role queue today in the latest Overwatch developer update, which comes alongside significant hero changes — to Brigitte in particular.
Role queue implements a new system that requires players to select the role they would like to play before queuing for Quick play or Competitive Play — tank, support, or damage — which limits players to heroes within their role once the match has begun. The system is 2-2-2 with a limit of two players per each role, per team, and at the end of the match players will once again select their role before reentering the queue.
Each role will have its own queue, and players will see estimates for wait time for each role at the role-selection screen. Some roles may have longer queue times than others due to the number of players queuing for a particular role. Kaplan anticipates some roles having longer queue times than others, so to compensate for this, Blizzard will incentivize players to queue for other roles to help even out the distribution of queues.
“We believe that Role Queue will improve match quality, give players more control over their gameplay experience, and provide more positive social experiences between teammates,” Blizzard said.
Players will earn separate skill rating for each role in Competitive Play, giving them three distinct SRs. The ratings will be between 1 and 5000, with higher values indicating greater skill. As with current competitive play, players will be assigned to a tier based off of their SR, but where the new system differs is in that each role can have a different tier.
Another significant change is placement matches are being reduced from 10 to 5, per role. If players complete placement matches for all three roles, they will be eligible to receive more Competitive Points and other rewards.
Blizzard will be conducting a two-week Role Queue Beta season from August 13 to September 1. To accommodate this Competitive Season 17 will be cut short by two weeks. The Beta season will allow players to earn Competitive Points but the stats earned during the season will not count towards permanent Competitive Season stats.
Role Queue will be fully available for Quick Play and Competitive Play starting September 1 for the beginning of Competitive Season 18.