Hey everyone! Now that the Priority Pass is live on the Retail environment, we wanted to make sure we were clear on the feature’s intended function, goals, and what constitutes misuse of the feature.
How It Works: Intended Function
The Priority Pass is intended to offer players a reward for queueing “Flex” on the role queue screen, thereby helping to fill games’ most needed roles and increase the rate at which matches begin. When you queue for “Flex,” you are essentially signing up for all three roles and will be assigned a role based on which have the lowest population at that time. Based on the final result of the match (win, draw, or lose), you will be awarded differing amounts of Priority Passes, i.e. if you’re looking to maximize your Priority Pass accrual rate, you’ll want to play to win! These Priority Passes can be used to “skip [part of] the line” when queuing for roles currently experiencing high volume (transparently, this is most often Damage).
Priority Passes may only be used when a particular role is significantly impacted – We don’t want players to waste their passes by skipping to the front of the line when the line is already relatively short. This means that you will only be able to use Priority Passes for select roles when there is a particularly high imbalance in populations queuing for each role. We also remove the ability to use Priority Passes in groups that are 5 or 6 players large because our system already tries to pair you with groups of similar large sizes. These groups already have a good balance of roles (given that a team is made up of 6 players), so it’s unlikely that using a pass would significantly reduce your time in queue.
Based on a number of factors like region, time, day of the week, and rank, there are times when queues for some roles are higher than normal. In an effort to improve the gameplay experience and maximize the amount of time spent actually in matches, we want to incentivize players to play underpopulated roles. Since the role queue system requires 2 players per team for 3 different roles, the Flex queue allows us to fill up games more rapidly by assigning players a role based on need.
Priority Passes are a reward for being a team player. Queuing Flex ultimately improves the gameplay experience for everyone by allowing games to happen quicker. Once you’ve banked some Priority Passes, you’ll then be able to jump in and queue for your favorite role without having to worry about extended waits between games.
Misuse of Queuing Flex and Priority Passes
We understand that playing Flex may require you to brush up on some skills you haven’t used in a while. Those who haven’t played a role in a really long time may be grandfathered into ranks that may not be reflective of your current performance. Over time, that will balance out as you play games and your SR adjusts accordingly. We don’t expect anyone to win every game they play, hence why passes are awarded upon a loss. Ultimately, the system will help to find a more accurate representation of one’s skills in different roles.
With that said, Overwatch embodies the spirit of teamwork. When you make the choice to queue Flex, you’re agreeing to put forth the same amount of effort, regardless of which role you end up with. It is considered a misuse of the Flex queue to get into matches and intentionally throw the results for the purpose of accruing Priority Passes. We will be making an active effort to identify this behavior, which can result in a penalty to your account. Play nice, play fair.
UPDATE (Dec 22)
We have issued a manual action wave against players with confirmed instances of gameplay sabotage. We encourage everyone to take this time to review the purpose of the Priority Pass feature and its intended function within Overwatch.