Overwatch Players Want To Queue For Roles, Blizzard Says It's Complicated

Imagine, for a moment, a world in which Overwatch allowed you to select a role - tank, support, DPS, etc - and hop into a match expressly for the purpose of playing that role. No more squabbling over who does what. Peace. Quiet. Serenity.

People have asked, but Blizzard hasn't delivered. Here's why.

During an interview with Jeff Kaplan at Blizzard HQ earlier this week, I asked the Overwatch director why the game doesn't have role-based match queuing, even though it sure seems like it'd solve a lot of headaches.

Kaplan replied that his team's discussed it at length, but they don't think Overwatch is ready for something like that yet.

"There's two versions the community has proposed, and neither is fully satisfactory to me," said Kaplan. "One is the honour system version where I queue up as a tank, but actually I want to play McCree, and the game lets me do that since Overwatch is very much about fluidly responding to the enemy team's composition. The other version is that it locks you in. I think that also hurts the spirit of the game."

He added that he thinks those ideas are good "starting points," but they're flanked by minefields. He pointed to the pitfalls of a similar feature in World of Warcraft: the group finder, which lets people queue up for dungeons, raids, and PVP matches according to a number of factors that include players' roles.

"The issue I have with it right now, which we would run into if we're not careful, is that tanks and healers get matched just like that," Kaplan said.

"It takes a second and you're in a dungeon. But if you say you're DPS, it takes like 30 minutes. I don't think that's what people are expecting right now. So I want to be careful."

Kaplan stressed, however, that he thinks the complaints that have led people to ask for role-based queuing are valid. He just wants to solve some of the problems people think role-based queuing would address before trying to implement such a system.

That starts with grouping. Kaplan figures that if people grouped-up more, they'd find more people amenable to the idea of letting them play the roles and heroes they actually enjoy playing, rather than being disappointed by the hands that fate (and matchmaking) deal them.

The problem, he explained, is that Overwatch doesn't do a great job of helping players find people they'd actually want to group up with right now.

"I do think people know what role they want to play before they play, I do think people would have more fun playing in a premade group than just sort of randomly hoping the matchmaker finds them someone with the same values as them, and I do think people's reasons for not wanting to group are actually valid right now," he said.

"I think we need to address all those things at once before we can just get to a role queue."


Comments

    He’s completely right. Role lock-ins are a terrible, terrible idea that create far more problems than they solve.

    Worth noting that Heroes of the Storm suffers from a terrible, terrible QM matchmaking experience, largely because people pick a hero before queuing. It creates a constant conflict between matching players that are actually close in skill and matching players that will form a coherent team. Sure, it gives people the opportunity to pick the character they want more consistently, but it has SO many other issues that it’s not even funny.

      Only DPS mains support no role select, the rest of overwatchs player base have suffered through 4-5 dps main comps, time for them too have to deal with the issues

      I'd much rather be a be choose the hero I want to play and then have the matchmaker put me with others to form something resembling a 2 tank/2 healer/2 DPS situation than the crap shoot it currently is.

    The problem, he explained, is that Overwatch doesn't do a great job of helping players find people they'd actually want to group up with right now.

    You don't say?!

    He just wants to solve some of the problems people think role-based queuing would address before trying to implement such a system. This is how you know he's a great designer. A good one would only solve the problem people complain about.

    Don't think class queues are a good idea.
    If your team is all DPS it would be cool to get some XP bonus for volunteering to change or something along those lines. "your team is lacking a healer, who wants to heal for +10% XP?" first one to switch to healer gets this bonus and they're locked to healer class for remainder of the game.
    Overwatch is pretty damn good the way it is though.

    Last edited 06/04/18 3:44 pm

    All the time I hear about how players don't want developers to use systems that 'split up the community' and now I see them wanting features specifically for such a result.

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