In the latest Overwatch Developer Update, game director Jeff Kaplan talks about the new Competitive Open Queue format, some slight balance changes, and how Blizzard uses the game data it collects to improve the game.
In another episode of the video series combining patch notes with insightful commentary, Kaplan sheds light on many new aspects of competitive Overwatch and how it affects both casual and competitive players.
Competitive Open Queue is becoming an official mode
Apparently, Competitive Open Queue is received differently around the globe, being much more popular in South Korea than it is in the USA. That means that changes must be implemented in a way that appeals to the most players and takes into consideration their various needs.
Blizzard likes the mode, as queue times are improved when Open Queue is on, and players are given more chances to play their favorite heroes.
The new Competitive Open Queue is planned to hit the Arcade in the near future. It will come down for a while and be introduced back around mid-June - no exact date is set yet.
The game mode will be official - we’ll find it next to the Role Queue for Season 23, sometime in early July. We’ll be able to select the Competitive card and pick from two options - Role Queue (which is still the game’s default way to played and balanced for 2-2-2 comps), and the Comp Queue.
Experimental Card introduces “fun” balance changes
In addition to the big game mode news, Jeff explained that some heroes are tweaked to increase the fun factor of the game. These Hero updates will be available in Overwatch Experimental card in the next day or two. The list goes as follows:
- Sleep Dart – Sleep duration has been lowered from 6 to 5 seconds
- Endothermic Blaster (Primary Fire) – Freeze stun duration has been lowered from 1.5 to 1.3 seconds
- Blizzard – Duration has been lowered from 5 to 4.25 seconds
- Flashbang – Stun duration has been lowered from 0.85 to 0.7 seconds
- Earthshatter – Knockdown duration has been lowered from 3 to 2.5 seconds
- Whole Hog – Knockback has been increased by 20%
- Knockdown duration has been fixed to 0.8 second instead of scaling with distance
- Cast time has been reduced from 0.75 to 0.65 seconds
Jeff stated that many players want to see Bastion made viable in their games, and Blizzard is working on it.
Pro players will determine the Hero Pools
Lastly, Hero Pools won’t apply to players under 3,500 SR, or as Jeff puts it - “most of us”. Once this threshold is passed, Hero Pools will kick in. These will be determined by the rotation that the game’s top-performing players use in their games.
Overwatch League data will determine Hero Pools while the tournament series is actively running. In the off-season period, the needed data will be pulled from the best players in Overwatch - your Grandmasters and Top 500’s. This, in essence, means pretty much the same players from the OWL, as season or not, they are the ones who play the game all day every day and determine the way the hero shooter is being played.
For more Overwatch news, keep reading EarlyGame!