Overwatch is cracking down on the tank meta by establishing some new boundaries. Coming to the PTR today is a beta test for Role Queues, a new way of queueing for Overwatch games that makes you declare your role before launching into matchmaking.
The heroes and villains of Overwatch can be generally defined by three categories: damage dealer, tank, and support. The gist of Role Queue is that before you get into matchmaking, you have to pick which category you want to queue up for, and the service will match you with others who can fill out a 2-2-2 balance of damage, tanking, and healing.
On the PTR, this will be implemented in both ranked Competitive Play and more casual Quick Play, and you'll have a ranking for each role you queue into for both modes. This will affect your matchmaking—basically, if you're a high-tier tank but a low-tier support, you'll get higher tier teammates queuing for tank and lower tier queueing for support.
This is likely a firm response to the GOATS meta that took over Overwatch, where a mixture of tanks and supports dominated the game. Though competitive teams have been bucking this trend, like recent victors of the Overwatch League Stage 3 finals the Shanghai Dragons, it's a simple way to implement a mandated composition. (The Overwatch League will also be abiding by the 2-2-2 role setup.)
It's nice to know that I won't have to begrudgingly play a role I'd rather not in Competitive anymore, and if I want a quick match I can just queue up for support rather than damage. But I'm curious to see how this pans out in the long run, when a move like this could stifle creativity for teams hoping to break the mold. If I want to run an all-healer offense for fun with friends, it seems like side modes are the last resort; in a developer update, lead designer Jeff Kaplan says there will be a "Quick Play Classic" mode for those who still want the freedom of flex picks.
As Blizzard is reportedly already looking ahead to an Overwatch 2, I'm worried that Overwatch 1 is going to be subject to the whims and artificial barriers of the competitive scene. Thankfully this is only on the Public Test Region for now, and things could change before it hits the main live server.