While awaiting the start of Stage 4, Overwatch League fans have been speculating whether or not the 2-2-2 role lock will actually be implemented.
The rumor was seemingly confirmed by Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek, who recently retired from the Seoul Dynasty. Then Twitch personality Felix “xQc” Lengyel chimed in with the same sentiment. Still, there was still no word from the Overwatch League on the possibility of a 2-2-2 role lock.
But then today’s Watchpoint episode was leaked yesterday. The episode included an interview with OWL senior product director Jonathan Spector, who told Milik Forte that the 2-2-2 role lock will be implemented in Stage 4.
The leaked episode starts out with host Chris Puckett announcing that OWL teams will be required to play two DPS, two support, and two tanks in the upcoming stage.
Then this slide popped up:
According to the leaked Watchpoint episode, players cannot change their roles during a map, but can change to a hero within their chosen role. Between maps, players can change roles. The teams will also have to swap seats on the Blizzard Arena stage to be seated two damage, two tanks, and two support.
Co-host Salome “Soe” Gschwind-Penski weighed in on the big announcement.
“That’s a pretty big change to come for us. I do think it will allow a lot of teams to unlock some of the players we haven’t seen for some time. GOATS comp left a lot of people on the bench. From that perspective, it’s very, very exciting. I also want to see if the top teams can stay dominant in this new meta,” she said.
The hosts went on to say that it’s the biggest change to come to the Overwatch League since developers implemented the one-player-per-hero update.
Despite the dramatic change going into Stage 4, Spector stated that the teams have been prepared for “a couple months.”
When asked why the major change was implemented before Stage 4, Spector explained that it was important to implement the role queue in the Overwatch League as quick as they could, to make it comparable to the role queue within the game itself. This way, the fans watching the OWL would view a similar experience to when they played the game at home.
“I’m super amped up about it myself. I think it’s going to be pretty awesome. I can’t wait to see what the teams do in the new 2-2-2 environment. I want to check out how the strategies have evolved. We should see things we haven’t really seen in the OWL,” he said.
While fans may be excited for the break from the repetitive GOATS meta, teams have had mixed feelings about the possibility of a 2-2-2 role lock.
But Spector discussed that they had “closely consulted” with all the teams about the major update. This included speaking with general managers from each team, and having the players all vote on the idea.
“Normally, when we patch the game it’s executive orders from the league. In this case, we wanted to really involve teams. And the overwhelming majority supported the approach we were taking,” Spector said.
When asked why the league is choosing to implement this change now, Spector replied: “It’s really important to us on the Overwatch League side of things that we look to keep the experience on stage that all the fans have a chance to watch as similar as we can to what you’re playing at home.”
The Watchpoint episode will be released later today. Stage 4 begins July 25, with the Houston Outlaws and Paris Eternal being the first teams to play with the 2-2-2 role lock.