Opinion: 2:2:2 role lock is the best decision Blizzard has ever made for Overwatch
GOATs. That phrase has been the talk of Overwatch League since Season 2 began in January of this year and everyone hated it. For those unfamiliar, GOATs is a term named after an Overwatch Contenders team of the same name. This composition consisted of 3 tanks and 3 supports. On the tank side there were two heroes that were always played, Zarya and D.va. The 3rd tank normally was switched out between Reinhardt or Winston depending on the map. On the support side, Brigitte and Lucio were the heroes that were always played with Zenyatta normally the 3rd but sometimes Ana would be played. The idea of GOATs was to play aggressive against the other team. When it was time to attack, the Lucio would speed boost the team into enemy territory and chaos would just ensue. Zarya’s energy power can quickly be charged due to everyone attacking, Reinhardt swings around his hammer dealing massive damage and D.va negating as much damage as she can with her defense matrix. Since Tanks have higher health than the rest of the hero roster they were already harder to kill. And having 3 supports made it even harder to take them down. The key player in a GOATs composition was Brigitte, and ever since she was introduced into the game, many players worried she would be a problem. With Brigitte, she can use her shield to bash into the enemy player causing them to be stunned for a second and render them useless. Partnered with her passive ability Inspire, which heals her teammates in the area whenever she deals damage, she was a force to be reckoned with.
The issue with GOATs is that it is just extremely boring to watch. During season 1, the DPS players shined with flashy plays, unbelievable kills and were just a blast to watch. In Season 2 of the Overwatch league, many fan favorites from each team were benched and rarely got a chance to play. This was extremely disappointing for many fans because they saw the same players play every single match, playing the same heroes the entire time. Sure sometimes we may get that rare hero pick but then it was back to GOATs. Another issue is that the casters had to explain in detail why such a play was exciting or how it worked and it just took the fun out of the game.
However, at the end of Stage 3 Blizzard announced that Role Lock was coming to Overwatch. What this meant is that every team is locked to a role and cannot change in the middle of a game. The three roles of Overwatch are Tank, Damage and Support. In a role lock it would be a 2:2:2 lock which means each team will have 2 Tanks, 2 Damage and 2 Supports. The reason why this is a great idea is not only does it kill GOATs- It brings Overwatch back to its roots of being a game where switching heroes to adapt to the other teams composition is necessary. The only downside, and it’s a small one, is that once you are in a role you cannot switch to another during the game. If you are damage you can only play damage until the match is done. Sometimes, in some matches you would see a support player switch to a damage hero like Mei or Bastion if they are about to lose in hope to get some last minute kills but with the Role lock this cannot happen. Having a Role Lock for the Overwatch League allows each team to play everyone in the roster and give them a chance to shine, it also should bring the energy that season 1 did when we had players like Pine and Linkzr going crazy on Widowmaker or bringing back Tracer god Saebyeolbe into the mix. Since the writing of this article, the first week of Stage 4 has concluded with the Role Lock in place and fans all around the world are already loving the change. It was an exciting week of matches and while some teams have to get back to form from using GOATs all the time, it should be a great conclusion to the season.
Now what does Role Lock mean for non Professional players of Overwatch? One of the biggest complaints players have when playing the game, whether in competitive or Quick Play, was that no one wanted to play support. It is frustrating when you are the only support or only Tank on the team because the other players want to play all damage heroes. With the role lock you can be relieved that you will have the support you need and the tanks you need to help you win the match and not have to worry about other players only caring about themselves. Blizzard did implement the “Looking for Group” feature last year where you can choose to have certain roles locked and while it was successful in its own way it still caused problems due to players just not choosing that group because it didn’t fit their play style. It also allows Blizzard to balance heroes much easier since it makes the combination of team compositions much smaller and allows the development team to closely watch how each hero counters another or could be countered in return
The Role Lock is the best decision Blizzard has made when it comes to Overwatch. Not only does it bring excitement back to it Professional scene, it allows the game to be more fair and kind to the more casual player base who play competitive at home. From here the game can only get better and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for the Overwatch universe.