How role queue will affect competitive Overwatch

Players will now have three separate skill ratings and ranks as well as opportunities for more rewards.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment.

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Overwatch’s developers revealed today that role queue will finally be added to the game. With this feature, players will choose what role they’d like to fill before a game begins. While this brings a lot of changes to Overwatch as a whole, competitive mode will experience a full overhaul thanks to the role queue feature.

Competitive mode operates around a singular numerical skill rating (SR) that players achieve by playing 10 placement matches per season. This SR places them into a certain rank. A player’s SR is raised by winning games and lowered by losing games. At the end of the season, players are given rewards like icons, sprays, and competitive points that can be used to buy rare golden weapons.

The role queue feature allows players to choose whether they want to play a tank, support, or damage hero before they begin a match of Overwatch. Because of this, competitive mode has to be altered to reflect the possible difference in skill when players select a certain class.

Players will now be given three separate skill ratings, reflecting their play as a tank, support, or damage-dealer. Much like the previous competitive mode, a player’s SR will put them into a specific rank based on that number. This time, players will achieve a separate rank per role based on their performance. A player could now be a Diamond-ranked tank but a Platinum-ranked support, for example.

Screengrab via Blizzard Entertainment

Players will also have to do fewer placement matches per role. Only five placement matches will be required to find out a player’s base SR per season. Players can earn more competitive points by completing placement matches across all roles. Developers are “separating the total across three pools earned by completing placement matches in each role,” meaning there are bonus points available for completing all placements. The tier list is below.

Screengrab via Blizzard Entertainment

An important part of competitive Overwatch for highly-skilled players and professionals is the top 500 leaderboard, which shows the top 500 players in each region where the game is played. There will now be four top 500 leaderboards for each region: one for damage-dealers, one for tanks, one for supports, and one that will reflect a combined SR score across all roles. A player must qualify for all three role-based top 500 leaderboards to make it onto the combined one.

During an interview with former Overwatch League player Brandon “Seagull” Larned, game director Jeff Kaplan confirmed that skill rating decay will be removed. In the current competitive mode, players who were ranked Diamond and above had to play a certain amount of matches per week to maintain their SR. In role queue competitive, however, this will no longer be an issue for players.

Competitive mode hasn’t been changed on live servers yet and role queue is only available on the PTR right now. A Role Queue Beta Season will take place for the competitive mode from Aug. 13 to Sept. 1 where players can test this new process. Competitive points will be earned as usual.

Competitive season 17 will be shortened by two weeks to make room for Role Queue Beta Season. When competitive mode season 18 hits Overwatch on Sept. 1, it will include the new role queue feature and all of the new competitive changes.