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Sigma and Role Lock Hit Live Servers for ‘Overwatch’

  • Sigma was announced back in late July.
  • Role Queue and Sigma entered the PTR around the same time
  • Role Queue completely alters the competitive format of the game.

Big changes have come to Overwatch. Not only has the new hero, Sigma, arrived to shake up the battlefield, but Role Queue has arrived to shake up the team compositions of the game. We talked about Sigma here when he was initially released out into the world to play. The gravity-based hero has since received cosmetics, bug fixes, and some balance changes to put him in line with the rest of the roster going live.

The arguably larger change that arrived was, of course, Role Queue. The new feature forces competitive players into three queues: DPS, Support, and Tank, which creates the new “2-2-2” role lock. Each queue is separate, and comes with separate SRs. You might be a bronze DPS player, but you could be a Grandmaster Tank deep down.

Role lock was first put into place in the Overwatch League, Blizzard’s incredibly massive first-party eSports league. This current season hit its fourth stage with the new rule being implemented, and while fans enjoyed the initial shake-up it provided, that was short lived as the pros put meta teams together. The new meta that League players have put together primarily focuses around crowd-control heavy tanks, area of effect healers, and the usage of Mei and Reaper, who were once laughably underplayed in competitive settings. The plan is simple. Using tanks like Orisa and Roadhog, they would protect the team while crowd controlling the enemy, Orisa would attempt to use “Halt” to pull them in, making them easy for Road Hog to hook and kill. They would be paired with healers, like Moira and Lucio, who don’t need to focus on one character, and can heal in a wider area while also dealing decent damage to enemies. Lastly, Mei and Reaper would roll up as DPS. Reaper could teleport in with his tank-busting shotguns that deal ludicrous damage up close, and whoever he couldn’t kill, Mei would finish by quickly freezing them and popping an icicle into their skull.

Of course, fans didn’t like this quick stagnation into a meta which, to some, felt like the same as before. Role lock was created because it easily shut down the prominent “GOATS” meta. This meta used three healers and three tanks to basically make the whole team unkillable, slowly moving up and using ultimate abilities in a simple, formulaic fashion. This new 2-2-2 meta feels the same way, many believe. You use Orisa’s shield to slowly move forward, trying to pick off weak characters with Road Hog, Reaper, and Mei, and then when you can, you use your ultimate abilities in a simple, formulaic fashion, generally with Mei throwing out hers to freeze the team while Reaper or Road Hog walks in to finish off the icy opponents.

But, that was the Overwatch League’s reactions to the role lock. Maybe, just maybe, regular competitive players will find different, more exciting ways to defeat their opponents.