Overwatch players have disliked the Priority Pass system since it was introduced alongside the 2020 Winter Wonderland update.
The Priority Pass feature was meant to shorten the queue time for DPS players. Players earned Priority Passes by queueing for the “flex” role instead, selecting tank or support heroes instead of DPS. The passes could then be used to speed up the DPS queue. But the Overwatch community quickly noticed that it actually made the wait time even longer, since so many people had Priority Passes.
The Priority Pass system also had DPS mains picking tank or support in order to have supposedly faster wait times for DPS later on. But this frustrated teams who noticed their tank or support players were clearly not familiar with those roles on the team. Many teams felt weighed down by players choosing heroes they were not very strong with.
But the biggest complaint has been the number of people abusing the Priority Pass system. The Priority Pass is rewarded to flex players whether the team wins or loses, meaning a lot of these players had no problem throwing games in an attempt to get the match over with faster and get their pass.
Blizzard developers quickly noticed the number of players sabotaging games in order to quickly stack Priority Passes. Community manager Josh Nash informed players on Blizzard’s Overwatch forum about new punishments for players who participated in abusing the Priority Pass system.
Players with “confirmed instances of gameplay sabotage” will now face consequences.
“It is clear that the development team is taking note and specifically targeting any attempts of throwing to earn a small number of Priority Passes. I would consider this a fair and honest warning to all of us to make note of this, and make sure that we all work to try our best in all of our games,” Nash said.
Nash encouraged the Overwatch community to review the intended purpose of the Priority Pass feature and only use it for this function. He explained that Priority Passes can only be sued when a particular role is “significantly impacted.” Players shouldn’t be “wasting” their passes by “skipping to the front of the line” when the wait is already short.
Blizzard developers also noted that players might be “grandfathered into ranks that may not be reflective of your current performance.” This is because players are choosing roles they haven’t attempted in a while. Over time, developers added, this will begin to balance out as a player’s SR adjusts.
For now, Blizzard hasn’t made any changes to the Priority Pass system itself. It’s still new and players are still figuring it out, as are developers. Instead, Blizzard is focused on punishing players who abuse the Priority Pass system.
Learn more about the Priority Pass here.