Over the past couple weeks, multiple leaks have started to emerge stating that the Overwatch League is going to implement a 222 role lock system starting in stage 4 to get rid of the three tanks and three support composition known as GOATS. This would mean that teams would only be able to pick two heroes from each character type of tank, damage, and support.
If these leaks are accurate, it is also likely that the role lock system would make its way into Overwatch's competitive playlist as Blizzard has always tried to keep professional matches the same as the base game. With this in mind, we decided to look at 5 ways 222 could improve Overwatch competitive and 5 ways it could make it worse.
10 Better: You Get To Play What You Want
By far, the most significant benefit of a role lock system in Overwatch would be that players can always play the role that they want. In the current system, you can end up in games where too many players want to fill the same positions and you are left with unbalanced team compositions that put you at a disadvantage.
There may still be instances where you and another player want to play the same hero, but you will no longer be put in a situation where you feel like you need to flex to another role to win.
9 Worse: Wait Times For Matches
One problem that Blizzard has pointed out about a locked 222 matchmaking system is that the wait times to find matches could be very long. In particular, the developers have highlighted that selecting damage would put you in the longest queue as these heroes are the most popular in the game.
Some may find themselves switching to tank or healer to find games faster, but this is not an ideal solution since these players would prefer to be playing a different role.
8 Better: Ranks Will Matter More
Blizzard in the past has said that if they were to implement a role lock system, they would change the competitive ranking system to assign players a rank for each role. Doing this would make sure that matches are balanced more fairly based on SR because the game would no longer assume you can play every hero at your current rank.
Additionally, ranks would be a much more accurate representation of your skill as a player because you would now be able to play what you want and not have to flex to balance teams.
7 Worse: Playing With Friends
As great as role-specific ranks would be overall, they might also make it harder to play with friends in some situations. Currently, to keep matches balanced, Overwatch's competitive system will only let players play together if they are within 1000 SR of each other, assuming this would still be the case groups could be limited as to which roles they can play together.
For groups who play together regularly, this would likely be less of an issue, but most players play both by themselves and with premade teams.
6 Better: More Competitive Matches
If Overwatch does implement a 222 system, it would also theoretically create much more competitive and exciting matches. This is due to the fact that very one-sided games caused by unbalanced teams lacking certain roles would no longer happen.
There will still be situations where due to the meta at the time, some heroes will be more effective than others, but at most ranks, this is rarely the main deciding factor of a match.
5 Worse: You Are Still Not Guaranteed A Main Tank Or Main Healer
One potential problem with role lock that Blizzard has not addressed is whether or not it would allow players to specify if they want to play a main or off hero for the tank and healer roles. Not doing this would mean that in some games teams would be without the barrier or healing output you generally need to win matches.
This is not to say that you can't win without these two roles, but as you climb further up the ranks, organized teams will be more likely to capitalize on these deficiencies. In addition, the role lock system would also only help to make these situations more frustrating as it was meant to fix problems with team organization.
4 Better: Fewer Matches Will Be Lost In Spawn
There is a common saying among Overwatch players that matches can be "lost in spawn" in reference to when a team gets frustrated with each other before the game has even started. This is typically due to players being angry with an unbalanced team composition, and the 222 role lock system would fix this issue.
While there will still be players who get annoyed at certain hero picks they see as an automatic loss, this attitude has somewhat lessened as Blizzard has tried to rework characters to allow them to work more effectively and frustrate teammates less.
3 Worse: It Will Create Balance Issues
While Blizzard has generally done a good job balancing Overwatch to make most heroes acceptable to the majority of players, they would still have to make some balance changes to accommodate to a locked 222 team that they have been avoiding changing due to the current system.
Specifically, the developers have mentioned that they would need to increase the amount of healing Brigitte can output to allow her to remain viable at all levels of competitive play. Previously, Blizzard had been avoiding making this change because Brigitte is a crucial element of GOATS, and buffing her healing would only make this team composition stronger.
2 Better: You Can Specialize In Your Role
The final thing that would be very exciting about a competitive role lock is the fact that players could finally be rewarded for putting the time into specializing in a particular role. In the current state of Overwatch, many players feel the need to flex onto roles they don't play as much to help their team and are unable to take the time to improve with all heroes in their preferred type.
With this new system though, being able to know for sure that you can play your desired role means that you can take the time to improve with all the characters available to you and be a much more flexible and well-rounded player.
1 Worse: The Number Of Possible Team Compositions Will Be Lower
Even though many players are sick of GOATS being the most dominant team composition, arguably the biggest loss from making all players play 222 every time is the limitations it places on possible hero combinations. Even if GOATS is considered boring by many, that does not mean that there are not any other compositions with something like triple damage heroes that could be more exciting to play and watch.
Overall, though, adding role lock into Overwatch seems like the best possible decision as it has always been the most popular team composition, and Blizzard has even stated that 222 was how they originally envisioned the game being played.