Overwatch’s Jeff Kaplan has released a developer update from his home during quarantine, giving us some insight into what’s coming for Overwatch over the next few months. Kaplan, who serves as the game’s director, has delved into what’s happening with Competitive Open Queue going forward, and it’s good news for anyone who likes the mode.
Competitive Open Queue, which lets you pick your character without being hemmed in by the 2-2-2 split of the traditional Role Queue mode, is being added as a permanent competitive fixture. Kaplan reveals that the mode, which is not so popular in the US, is the second-most played in Korea, which has influenced their decision.
The mode will soon disappear from the Arcade playlists for a while, and then will receive a shortened arcade season in June (probably mid-June, Kaplan says, although he cannot commit to a date). After a very short competitive season it’ll disappear again, and then when Season 23 starts up in July, it’ll be an official Competitive mode alongside Role Queue.
Kaplan addresses concerns about queue times, saying that Blizzard’s data suggests that this will improve wait times, not stretch them out. He also makes it clear that the game will continue to be balanced specifically for Role Queue, which will remain the primary competitive mode for Overwatch.
In other Overwatch news from this video, Kaplan says that the Experimental card is returning soon, introducing fun balance changes. He gives a few brief examples–Bastion will be made more viable, Ana’s healing will be tuned down, and Mercy is getting a buff. Zenyatta’s Discord Orb will be returning to its original form too, so its nerf is being undone. Changes for Moira and Junkrat are also mentioned, but not detailed.
There are changes coming to hero pools, too–they’ll no longer apply to matches for players with skill ratings below 3500. This means that the majority of players will not be subject to hero pools in competitive Season 23–only the top players. Hero pools will be determined by which heroes are used in the Overwatch League and other competitive events.