On a special Overwatch developer update, game director Jeff Kaplan announces a new addition to the game’s matchmaking experience: the priority pass.
This is a way for the game to assemble balanced teams quicker than usual, as well as reward those willing to play less popular roles via giving them tickets for queue-jumping. Since people love being damage dealers and DPS in an Overwatch match, this will impact that particular group more. This change will hopefully make them diversify their roles a tad instead of sticking to a Reaper or Sombra 100% of the time.
To quote the man:
“Priority passes are earned by entering a flex queue. You are in essence queuing for every role available — tank, support, damage — and the game will put you in the role most needed to speed up queue times for everyone. If you win you’re gonna earn a lot [of passes], you can bank up to 40, this is a number we might change, we might tune this differently, but win or lose you’ll gain some passes.”
These passes can be handy if you want to enter a faster queue for a common role like DPS. The goal of the system is to speed up queue times for everyone as well as encourage the behaviour of people switching up roles every playthrough.
“When you’re using a priority pass it does not guarantee you get matched instantly, it’s impossible for the math to work out that way, but what we’re gonna do is our best to match you in a faster queue time, and we’re gonna show you what the estimated queue time would be if you’re queuing normally versus with the priority pass, and those estimates are our best guess, we do a lot of math, we do a lot of statistics behind those estimates, but they’re not perfectly accurate so we’re gonna do our best. We think this system will make queuing for everyone better, we think it’ll be very rewarding for flex players, you’ll be rewarded for your very generous behaviour which we very much appreciate.”
Other noteworthy changes from the update include tweaks to the replay viewer, like giving more control over the camera and different UI options. Oh and there’s a new short story on Overwatch’s Symmetra which you can read here.
The priority pass system will appear on PTR first because it still needs to be tested for bugs and whatnot. Just like most Blizzard games and updates, it’ll be ready when it’s ready.