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Competitive Open Queue Coming to Overwatch

Aaron Alford

The Overwatch developers released a developer update on Monday in which Jeff Kaplan announced that the Competitive Open Queue mode will soon return as an officially supported mode. The Competitive Open Queue option will be added alongside the standard Competitive Role Queue option. According to Kaplan’s initial timeline, the Competitive Open Queue arcade mode will soon be taken down. The arcade mode will then be renewed in mid June, and will finally return as an official mode at the start of Season 23 in early July.

Competitive Open Queue was actually the original Overwatch queue format. Open Queue allows players to select any hero, regardless of role. Competitive Role Queue replaced the Competitive Open Queue as the official developer supported mode in 2019, after the Overwatch developers failed repeatedly to nerf the infamous three tank/three support GOATs composition. GOATS dominated high SR games and the Overwatch League for nearly a year, before being made impossible through the institution of the two damage, two tank, two healer role lock.

Once the Open Queue is added to the game, players will be able to choose between the Open Queue and the Role Queue under the competitive card on Overwatch’s main menu. Although the Open Queue will be officially supported, Overwatch will be balanced solely around the 2-2-2 Role Queue version of the game.

“We understand players like different ways of queueing,” Kaplan explained. “Some people love the role queue, some people don’t, now you have a choice. One of our main goals for this year was fast balancing and lots of experimentation and iteration. We hope this shows that effort toward experimentation and iteration that you were hoping for.”

The addition will also help reduce the frustratingly long queue times for damage players. Ever since the addition of the role queue, DPS have faced disproportionately long queue times, often stretching past 10 minutes. This problem only gets worse as players rank up, since there are fewer available players with every promotion. This change should help reduce that issue.

“We actually see that queue times are better when an open queue exists,” Kaplan stated. “We think this will improve queue times, because there are a lot of people who want to play damage characters in 2-2-2 role queue. A lot of them are attracted to the open queue, which can take some of the pressure off the queue times.”

Jeff also announced that a new experimental card will be released on Tuesday or Wednesday. Although he did not provide too many details, here are the changes he did mention:

  • Mercy’s healing range will be extended by three feet
  • Zenyatta’s Discord Orb damage buff was adjusted from 25% by 35%
  • Bastion will receive an unspecified buff
  • Moira will receive unspecified changes
  • Junkrat will receive unspecified changes

Finally, Kaplan concluded the developer update by reiterating the changes coming to Hero Pools which he announced on the Overwatch forums last week. The two major changes are that Hero Pools were removed for players below 3500 SR and the selection of the Hero Pool will be based entirely on Overwatch League data when the Overwatch League is active.