After previously being rumored, Blizzard has confirmed that role locking is indeed coming to Overwatch. It was first rumored for the Overwatch world league, though it will officially be a part of the game itself.. A role queue has been confirmed for regular Overwatch play, therefore instilling the 2-2-2 role lock in the game proper. The change is currently only live on the PTR, but should be coming to all systems in the near future.
For competitive OWL matches role lock would be a 2-2-2 lock, meaning that each team would be restricted to two characters from each role. From the video that leaked earlier, here are the official rules of the role lock:
- All compositions are: two damage, two tanks, and two supports
- Players cannot be able to change roles during a map, but they can change heroes within their role
- Players can change roles between maps
- Facing stage, players will be seated: two damage, two tanks, two supports
- If players change roles between maps they will change seats
The role lock comes as Blizzard faces the question of how to properly balance Overwatch matches. For the OWL specifically, the move corresponds with the emergence of the GOATS metagame. This is comprised of players filling their squads with three supports and three tanks each. The composition had such a stronghold that the only way to even stand a chance was to utilize GOATS as well.
For regular competitive matches, the oft-rumored role queue has finally been implemented. When entering Quick Play or Competitive Play, players will choose which role they want to play as before they even join a match. From there, the matchmaking system will place two players of each role into a given match, where they can choose their characters. The process will repeat itself after every match. Each role will have it’s own queue, with players being given an estimate of how long they should expect their wait to be.
Skill ratings will be updated for this change, as well. Now, players will have three distinct SRs, one for each role. A player’s given SR within a certain role will help determine what match they are placed in. However, they will have to play in a certain role five times before being given a seasonal rating. While this solution can theoretically ease some persistent balancing issues in Overwatch, some may see it as a cop-out from Blizzard. We’ll just have to wait and see how it is executed in the game proper.
In other Overwatch news, the Summer Games are currently live. In addition, the newest hero is on the way, but players should expect him to be released later than usual.