Blizzard Vice President Jeff Kaplan announced the return of open queue to competitive Overwatch as well as some other updates in his developer update released yesterday. Competitive open queue plans will be on arcade mode for a short, non-official competitive mode in “mid-June”, according to Kaplan.
From there, open queue will return alongside role queue for competitive season 23 in July. Role queue will still be the main competitive queue, and the game will still be “tuned and balanced around”. “One of our main goals for the year was fast-balancing and lots of experimentation and iteration,” Kaplan said.
One of the main issues players have had with the game recently is the long queue times. DPS players often wait twice or three times the amount as tank or support players. “In all of our studies and all the statistics that we have been tracking on the queuing, we actually see that queue times are better when the open queue exists,” Kaplan said.
2-2-2 locked queue began in a testing period last August before going live on Sept. 1, 2019. Both quick play and competitive play adopted the change, as did the Overwatch League.
Today, new updates and balance changes came to experimental mode. Nerfs in the mode include Ana’s healing being reduced from 75-70 and Moira’s biotic orb’s damage radius reduced from 5 to 4 meters. Zenyatta, Mercy, Bastion and Junkrat all saw some buffs.
Bastion received the heftiest bump, as his self-repair healing per second will go from 75 to 90. “Lot of balance changes targeted to make bastion more viable, and I know many of you are dying to see more Bastions in your matches,” Kaplan said. Not quite sure where he got that from, but Bastion will surely be more viable if this experiment goes smoothly.
Hero pools have made a big storm recently in the Overwatch community. Some wonder if banning specific heroes each week for everyone creates unnecessary strain on Overwatch League players and coaches. Some believe that a system of picks and bans would make things better.
Kaplan announced that hero pools will no longer apply to matches below 3500 skill rating per player. Master players and up will be the only ones who have to deal with hero pools. He also went on to say that hero pools are to be decided by the pick rate from Overwatch League players and matches instead of all competitive matches.
“We are going to pull that data from the Overwatch League and when Overwatch League is not in season, we will be pulling from top players in top 500 and grandmaster,” Kaplan said.