In Wide Match role queue with new hero Venture in background (Overwatch 2)
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

The new Wide Match queue system for Overwatch 2 is a nightmare for playing with friends

Overwatch 2 and its predecessor Overwatch have gone through a lot of matchmaking changes over the years. Some will share my less than fond memories of 5-10 minute or longer ranked queues before role lock was a thing and everyone and their mother wanted to play DPS, and even after it was a thing but 6v6 meant you still had to wait for two tank players instead of one (and tank/support were less DPS-centric at the time, and therefore less players were interested in playing them).

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For years now, however, the developers over at Team 4 struck a nice balance between match quality and wait times, with most queues popping within a few minutes (at least around the middle ranks, where most players lie). As of Season 10, though, they've regressed and we're back to long queues (anywhere from seven to 10 minutes, in our experience so far).

Fixing what isn't broken

Overwatch 2 Wide Match queue changes explained
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

I've played Overwatch and Overwatch 2 with the same buddy for years now. We both live in North America, and our rank gap and roles have fluctuated a bit during that time, but we've always been within a full rank or two of each other, and mostly it's been him on Tank with me on DPS. Typically we never wait more than a few minutes to play and the matches are almost always high quality (meaning not a stomp either way, or at least not a well-earned one), but as of the Season 10 update and its 'Wide Match' feature, it's now 10 minutes or longer.

Presumably the goal here is to improve match quality at the expense of queue times, but when it's this extreme and affecting the ability of relatively closely ranked friends to play with each other, I have to believe changes are coming down the pipe. The key bullet point here seems to be 'Narrow Group role configurations will always be prioritized over Wide Group configurations'. As best I can figure, it's prioritizing them so heavily that anyone in a Wide Group should consider starting a book club.

Related: What carries over from Overwatch to Overwatch 2?

The change in approach to matchmaking and queues is surprising, as historically Team 4 has been fairly lenient with who you play with, to the complaint of virtually nobody. As such, it's difficult to see this as anything but fixing something that isn't broken.

(We've reached out to Blizzard for comment on the matter, and will update this article should we hear back.)

The test results are in

Overwatch 2 Wide Rank role select menu
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

My friend and I tested the queues with our usual Tank-DPS combo, with him Platinum 4 and me Gold 5, as well as Support-Tank, and with both of us flexing. None of it made a difference, so the message is clear: play with someone very close to your rank (that is to say, within five divisions e.g. Platinum 5 and Gold 5) or suffer very long queues.

I tested competitive role-locked queue times with a co-worker also, and ended up quitting after a staggering 15-minute queue. Though she's brand new to ranked so some added time could be expected, I've found myself in the same or similar scenarios in the past with relatively quick queues. You could argue against the match quality, but 15 or more minutes should be considered unacceptable regardless of how concerned you are with it. At some point, people just want to play.

The same co-worker tried solo queuing in competitive open queue and didn't find it much better (although some leniency should be given to open queue which is likely much less populated). After a seven minute queue, someone left the match, prompting a priority requeue which didn't help matters as she found herself in another queue for about the same length of time. The priority system not functioning (at least not in open queue) only exacerbates an already serious issue.

Higher ranks seem to have it even worse. GM player and redditor Bhu124 has reported 1 hour or longer queues (I wasn't kidding about that book club). Many similar reports for various ranks can be found across social media.

You might wonder if the issue is due to a flop of a season and a lack of players, but the Steam version of the game is doing quite well for itself with a 57,724 player 24 hour peak, as compared to its 75,608 launch number. (Keeping in mind, many play using the original Battle.net version.)

With any luck, Blizzard and Team 4 will recognize the issue and make some prompt adjustments. Until then, we'll see you in queue. (I'm enjoying Inazō Nitobe's 'Bushido' at the moment. What about you?)

Want more Overwatch 2 guides? Pro Game Guides has you covered with Best Crosshair Settings for all heroes in Overwatch 2!


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Author
Sean Ridgeley
Sean has been a gamer since he was old enough to hold a controller, and has a deep love of RPGs, shooters, and horror games. His favourites include Dragon Age: Origins, Overwatch 2, Path of Exile, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Silent Hill 3, and Darkest Dungeon 2. Professionally, he's been writing and editing for nearly two decades, mostly in the gaming space.

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The new Wide Match queue system for Overwatch 2 is a nightmare for playing with friends

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