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Overwatch’s new experimental mode will shake up role queue

Jeff Kaplan wants to assure us: “Don’t panic.”

Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Blizzard is rolling out a new game mode for Overwatch that will allow the developer to tweak the game and test out big changes. Experimental mode — previously known as the Experimental card — will be an Arcade card that changes over time. The first big experiment is three damage, two support, one tank.

In a developer update, game director Jeff Kaplan stressed that these changes were not permanent and would not be rolling out in any standard game modes for the time being. In July 2019, Blizzard made a big meta change, enforcing a two-damage, two-support, and two-tank role queue system. This new queue was a way for the developers to counter the unpopular GOATS metagame, which used damage dealers very sparingly, if at all.

Depending on how Experimental Mode pans out, the new three-damage mode may become a standard ... or it may gracefully retire. As for the three-damage queue, Blizzard will be including drastic balance changes to “off-tank” heroes, like Roadhog and D.Va. These heroes will play differently to see how the game changes if a team has off-tanks in a heavy solo tank role.

Kaplan stresses multiple times during the video that players shouldn’t panic, and that this experiment could go nowhere. If successful, Overwatch could possibly see these changes begin to go live on the competitive stage. As for average players, damage players could see a much faster queue, thanks to their larger share of the lobby.

Experimental mode goes live tomorrow, and will remain live in the Arcade.

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