All of Competitive Overwatch is Feeling the Effect of Long DPS Queues

When Blizzard first announced the introduction of Role Queue to Overwatch in July, many competitive players rejoiced as the new feature would end the reign of the overwhelming GOATS Meta. But as should be expected from such a big change, Role Queue has introduced new problems that plague players. DPS players have suffered the brunt of the consequences, but their struggles have even greater implications to the whole Overwatch matchmaking system.

Role Queue has made one thing clear: there are way more DPS players than Tank and Support. Players looking to play their favorite DPS heroes might have to endure wait times of up to 20 minutes before being placed into a single match.

In a post from reddit user /u/CynicTheCritic, the long queue times have made it unfeasiable for a DPS player to climb the competitive ladder. With the current state of the role queue system, even if you win 65% of your matches (which is fairly reasonable if you are a capable DPS player) you will only average an abysmal 8-12 SR per hour. Basically, if you are a DPS player, you better be willing to throw away days of your time if you wish to climb the competitive ladder.

While it is most apparent that DPS players are suffering the most from disproportionate queue times, the issue has disrupted the entirety of competitive matchmaking in Overwatch.

The DPS role is responsible for a huge chunk of the damage output needed to contest the double barrier meta that dominates competitive. While you certainly need competent and well-versed Tank and Support players to have a well-functioning team, DPS heroes typically require greater aim and technical skill than those in other roles. That means it is typically better for a team to have more skilled DPS players than the other roles in the game.

Because of the poor state of DPS queues, the quality of DPS players has become mixed throughout the ranks, especially toward the lower parts of the ladder. The quality of your matches might be even more inconsistent than before.

To help understand this issue you can look at the lower to mid levels of Overwatch's matchmaking system, where it has become even more common to have a DPS player with the same SR as you dominate the match, while at the same time it has also become more apparent when a DPS player is not able to compete with their current SR level, as both players struggle to play enough games to be ranked appropriately.

The chaos in the matchmaking system is accented even greater with the different SR measurements between the three roles, as skills and mechanics are not calculated as a part of SR, only wins are. With the current state of queue times, the system will have difficulties in sorting out the discrepancies in player's skill levels based on the ever-changing definition of SR for the different roles. Overall, this means that players may find it harder to find "fair" matches over time.

Overwatch developer Scott Mercer has confirmed that they are monitoring the current state of queue times, and are currently working on matchmaking adjustments to hopefully alleviate the issue. One way they can tackle this situation would be to increase the incentives of playing the other roles. Currently, the only incentives given are 25 Credits or a periodic Loot Box, which has proven to do very little to convince DPS players to switch over.

While incentives offer a solution for the endless queue times for DPS players, that does not directly address the issues that SR currently faces. One controversial solution would be a a complete SR reset. Many players would be disappointed to see their hard-earned SR lost, but an SR reset is a faster solution than waiting to see if more balanced queue times will fix the apparent SR imbalances over time.

Photo Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment