A campaign by Overwatch pro players to add role locking to the competitive scene could well change the game’s online landscape, with the rumour mill in overdrive pointing to a 2-2-2 role lock in the Overwatch League in the near future.
Back in March we touched on the prospect of a forced role queue being introduced to Overwatch‘s competitive play. While the consensus was pretty mixed — with an even spread across the yes-no votes for the move — Blizzard has been pretty emphatic in its dismissal of it. There was always the prospect for change, however, if the studio was to ever listen to the game’s vocal Overwatch League players.
The idea behind the hero preference system was put to Overwatch game director, Jeff Kaplan, recently over on the Battle.net forums. Always one to take on fan and community feedback, Kaplan detailed that the development team has thought of the system, its pros and cons, and how it might be implemented.
Ultimately, however, it would force to significant a compromise upon more balanced players, that it may not be a viable solution for any of the game’s queue woes.
“It’s actually one we’ve debated on the team,” Kaplan explained. “One concern we have is anytime we – the OW team – make assumptions about what you want to do without giving you some agency in the situation.
“Our concern is, we believe there are a number of players who want to or like to play different roles but because they are thinking of ‘the good of the team’, they flex to needed roles. A player like this, under your design suggestion, is going to end up always having to play tank or support.
“We really want to avoid design solutions that further reinforce players being forced to play roles they don’t intend to.”
Pro players weighed in back in April, with Dallas Fuel’s Timo ‘Taimou’ Kettunen tweeting out support for role queues.
“I think we might actually need the 2-2-2 force to balance the game.. I am a different man now,” Kettunen tweeted.
“Let’s do it,” responded André “iddqd” Dahlström.
It’s been a few months since we last heard about the prospect of role lock, be it in the Competitive scene or pro scene, but it’s once again ramping up, and recent murmurs look to have a 2-2-2 role lock coming to the Overwatch League.
Upcomer reports that multiple sources have claimed a 2-2-2 lock will be implemented for Stage 4 of this year’s Overwatch League season. This would mean that teams would be forced to lock to two Supports, two Tanks, and two DPS/Damage healers.
It’s sure to split the Overwatch community, although a role lock queue, or at least seperate from the traditional Competitive Play scene, could well reshape the Overwatch experience. While there’s no word on when — if at all — a similar change would be implemented for the public playing community, the Overwatch League often stands as somewhat of a testing ground for major changes, much like how the PTR acts as a testing phase for new nerfs, buffs and heroes.
What are your thoughts on the prospect of role lock in Overwatch? Tell us in the comments below.