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Overwatch’s competitive season 17 ends tomorrow, Aug. 13. But what’s coming after it is changing how players compete in Overwatch.
Overwatch competitive season 17 was the last one with a single matchmaking queue and rank for all players. Starting tomorrow, a beta season with role queue and composition lock will take over and shape new competitive matches and player rankings.
Related: When is role queue coming to Overwatch’s live servers?
Players will now have to choose between queuing up in a tank, damage, or support role. After that, the new matchmaking system will look for players to fill out that team composition so it has two tanks, two damage, and two support characters. All teams will have this composition and players can’t switch roles during the match or pick characters that belong to other roles, which makes this a hard lock. Queue times can be longer or shorter according to how many players are trying to find matches with each role.
That means players will also have separate ranks for each role. During season 17, everyone had a single Skill Rating for their ranked matches. But they’ll now have different SRs for tank, damage, and support roles. Placement matches are also unique to all ranks, so completing placements for damage means you still have to play those for support and tank if you wish to be ranked in those roles.
Blizzard says players’ Skill Ratings for each role shouldn’t differ greatly from their season 17 numbers. The company has been secretly tracking everyone’s performance with each role for a few months, so the new ranked system will just let players know these Skill Rating numbers.
The role queue and composition lock systems have been on the Overwatch Public Test Realm for the past few weeks, and Blizzard has yet to reveal if it’ll make changes to either system before bringing them to the live servers.
With the addition of this beta season, the end of Overwatch’s competitive season 17 won’t bring season 18. That’s still two weeks away. Season 18 starts on Sept. 1 when the beta season is over.