The introduction of Role Queue in Overwatch stands to be one of if not the most significant change to the game since it launched back in early 2016. It’s been met with overwhelming positivity from the Overwatch community, ensuring that the competitive experience is a more balanced and accessible experience across the three core roles in Damage, Support and Tank.
However, with those role locks forcing a 2-2-2 team composition, wait times are dictated by role popularity, and so DPS (Damage) mains feel they’re being far too heavily impacted by the long wait times, especially at higher ranks.
As expected, both Support and Tank players are experiencing far lower wait times to find a match in Competitive than Damage players. Based on a 24-hour average, looking at wait times every 3 hours on Xbox One, Support and Tank roles in the high Gold, low Platinum range had an average wait time of 2.3 minutes, versus 5.2 minutes for Damage.
That may seem like not that much difference, but rarely did the wait times for Support and Tank actually reach the two minute mark, whereas the Damage queue wait times often exceeded 5.2 minutes.
This all came to light when streamer Brian ‘Kephri’ St. Pierre noted on Twitter that he waited more than an hour to find a match in the Damage slot.
Interestingly, he claims that there isn’t a “queue” persay, but rather a simple “wait time” with no priority, regardless of how long you’ve been waiting.
There are many other examples: pro Ana player TSM Gale says they feel “unmotivated” to play DPS because the wait times are too long at higher levels.
Twitter is littered with examples of players trying to get into a match in the Damage role, only to have to wait +10 minutes for a match. The wait times get even longer at higher tiers.
To be honest, the complaints feel misplaced to me, particularly when they come from players that are well respected and amplified within the Overwatch community.
For one, the 2-2-2 Role Queue implementation was to ensure that teams have a balanced composition across Tank, Damage and Support. While the GOATS meta was dominating the competitive circuit and higher ranks, the vast majority of players weren’t actually impacted by this meta. Instead, matches were often made up of Damage-heavy squads, sometimes with no Support, and often with no tank.
Damage-heavy squads can work well, but if you have a semi-functioning opposition that is communicating with one another, they can easily switch to counter and absolutely steamroll your team.
In my own experience, the rate at which at least one person in the team was begging others to switch off and either go as Support or Tank, was almost 9/10 matches. Only 1 in 10 matches did my team actually have a solid balance across the roles. I almost always flexed, often playing Support or Tank, but often I found myself as the lone warrior, either trying to heal flanking Genjis and Reapers, or solo-healing a Reinhardt or Orisa while our Genji, Widow and Ashe go off on their own (and spam “I need healing” in the process).
TSM’s complaints that he doesn’t feel “motivated” to play Damage feels especially misguided, given that’s precisely the point of the Role Queue system: to encourage players to fill other roles, and spread the team balance across Support and Tank. If the wait time for Damage is too long, it’s because the community is intent on filling a role that is in high supply.
And that’s ultimately what Role Queue is about: either you fill a role that is in supply (Damage), or you fill a role that is in demand (Support or Tank). If you want to play what everyone else is playing, you have to wait: if wait times are too high, it’s because the community, at that point, isn’t in need of players in that role. Thus, you fill in other roles. That’s the point.
You can’t support Role Queue, and then be critical of wait times. Wait times for a specific role are part and parcel of the Role Queue philosophy, and so higher tiered and pro players may not appreciate exactly why this was implemented, nor why they have to wait so long.
My advice? Either fill for what your community needs at the time, or be prepared to wait. If neither satisfy you, there’s always Quick Play. Role Queue hasn’t only ended the constant battle against poor team composition (although a poor team comp is still possible), it’s also helping address the nagging toxicity that plagued matches. It may be time for some DPS mains to come back down to earth and play on the community’s terms, because they aren’t entitled to low wait times.