Communication wheel customization, priority queuing system headed to Overwatch

Communicating with your teammates just got a whole lot fancier.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

In a Developer Update today, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan broke down a long list of changes coming to Overwatch, including updates to the communication wheel and a new priority queuing system.

Blizzard Entertainment is adding new ways for players to communicate using Overwatch’s in-game communication wheel. The developer worked with Overwatch’s cast of voice actors to create spoken lines for each of the game’s 32 heroes. The callouts range from a simple “goodbye” or “sorry” to a numbered countdown for players to further collaborate their efforts in a match.

Players will be able to customize their communication wheel under the Controls settings in the options menu. Once the customization changes go live, players can add whichever commands they want to their wheel to be able to quickly use the lines in a match.

Since the introduction of role queue in August 2019, players have experienced long wait times when queuing for a game. If a person leaves a match, others in that lobby are often kicked to the end of the queue and forced to wait for another extended period of time before joining a second game.

Blizzard plans to fix this issue with a new priority queuing system, according to Kaplan. The system will review a folded Competitive match and will ensure that all 11 people who didn’t leave the match and didn’t cause the match to collapse will be placed back in the queue where they would’ve been as if that match had never happened.

“So it’s not going to guarantee that you’re instantly going to get into another match after that match gets shut down by a leaver, but you’re not going to have to wait the entire queue time,” Kaplan said.

The Overwatch game director didn’t provide fans with a date for when the priority queuing system will arrive on the live servers. But Kaplan said that if Blizzard chooses to not include messaging—a feature he said the team wants to add so players know the queuing system is working—then it may come to the game sooner than expected.

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Kaplan also said that patch notes will be included in the game starting with an upcoming patch, so players can access the list of changes from Overwatch’s homepage without having to close the game or visit a webpage. Similarly, more Workshop features, such as night modes for the game’s series of maps, will be added in an upcoming patch.