Role Queue is currently in testing on the PTR and is expected to roll out for Season 18 of Overwatch on Aug. 13 for two weeks before going live. The new matchmaker will have players queue up for Competitive games in specific roles, in order to facilitate the 2-2-2 Role Lock that Blizzard had implemented previously for Stage 4 of Overwatch League.
While it is agreed that Competitive matches should mirror the highest level of play for consistency's sake, the prospect that Role Queue will be coming to Quick Play is divisive among players to say the least.
The contention comes down to how people see Quick Play. Some players believe Quick Play should be a goofy do-whatever mode, while others believe that it should be a no-stakes version of Competitive to play a good game or get practice in.
When Overwatch launched, there was no Hero Limit. This proved a nightmare to balance in Competitive, so they made it so you couldn't have more than one of the same Hero on a team. Shortly after, this was implemented in Quick Play, to the dismay of many who enjoyed having six Soldier: 76s for the all-dad team.
The Role Limit is a solution to the same problem, as stacking all Tanks is proving to be just as balance breaking as stacking all of the same Hero.
In my experience, I think many invested gamers don't realize that a majority of any game's player base is made of casual players. "Casual" has a really nasty stigma in the gaming world, but in this case I mean people who just want to play well in game. Casual doesn't mean you want to actively lose.
There's real value to a no-stakes mode like Quick Play for the average player. Sometimes you don't want to deal with losing points or rank, but still want to play a good game with your friends to unwind.
The most important part of playing a good game then is communication of intent. The players who want to six stack supports to see what will happen won't have a good time with someone who just wants to play their best without any real pressure. Those are both valid ways to find value in the game, and the prerogative of the player is to play the game how they want.
Giving those players the game modes they want to play in is important to keep them happy. When the Hero Limit was implemented, Blizzard made the Arcade Mode No Limits to be what Overwatch was when it launched. This time, there will be a Quick Play Classic mode for those who want to play game as we know it right now, before the Role Limit but after the Hero Limit.
So what does a Role Queue in Quick Play mean? To me, Quick Play should always mirror Competitive, and the players who want to play the old way would have to be relegated to the Quick Play Classic in the arcade.
The consistency across all formats of play allow players to get real practice in Quick Play for Competitive, or to just play the game balanced as intended. That accessibility and consistency is important for the health of the game as a whole.
You can try out the new Role Queue right now on the PTR. Give it a shot, as I think this will revolutionize the game and give some new life to it.
Photo courtesy of Blizzard.