Overwatch‘s competitive season 23 is live and it’s bringing in some changes. In addition to the role-locked modes, players can try their hands at the Open Queue, a separate matchmaking experience that doesn’t enforce 2-2-2 compositions.
The addition of Open Queue stems from the success of a similar competitive mode in the Arcade and its possible positive impacts on the ranked ecosystem. Principal game designer Michael Heiberg said the unrestricted mode has a positive impact on queue times. It “attracts more damage players than tanks or supports,” he said, which helps distribute the roles in both environments.
The two ranked modes have different SR ratings, which allows players to venture into looser formats without fear of losing their progress. Unlike Role Queue, players don’t have to select a role before joining and can choose from heroes of all classes during a match, which provides an opportunity for other strategies.
Adding Open Queue is in line with Blizzard’s goals for Overwatch this year: “fast balancing, lots of experimentation, and rapid iteration,” the company said. The new mode could create windows for different compositions, for instance, with three DPS players. It can also threaten to revive the infamous triple-tank, triple support GOATS compositions, renowned for its sheer sturdiness.
Blizzard introduced the 2-2-2 role lock as a means to end GOATS comps, which dominated the majority of the Overwatch League’s second season. The predominance of GOATS stagnated the meta and offered little room for variation, in addition to its more defensive, sustain-oriented gameplay. The role lock, however, ended GOATS at the expense of room for experimenting with different compositions.
Overwatch‘s competitive season 23 runs until Sept. 4, which gives players over two months to grind their SR in both game modes. Open Queue could return in season 24 if it has a positive impact.