Content of the article: "Problems with the Tank role & an idea of a concept to possibly fix it"
Hello, I would like to throw out an idea to a quite interesting concept Ive came up with to fix the issues that we currently are facing with the tank role for the past 2 years.
Basically, tanks are absolutely not fun to play and havent been in a while, MT players were forced on orisa (which is pretty boring, lets face it) or on ball because they were just that good and got enabled heavily by sigma. Ever since sigma got introduced there was this problem that his kit overall is just very good and versatile and he would heavily enable double shield comps which were very niche and honestly bad prior to his release. Him being so strong if paired with another MT is something we could see for quite a while now, first with orisa and recently with ball. Sigma himself forced the dev team to nerf shields across the board, forced nerfs and changes on heroes like rein and orisa because together they were just utterly broken. Recently the same is happening with ball, which is another busted hero as of now, but i dont believe that to be a core issue. Regardless, ever since he got released a large portion of the tank roster got basically trivialized. With sigma and ball being so good they also forced buffs on the support role (which is also pretty busted as of now) to the point where playing rein, zarya, dva, and hog to an extend is just not really worth it. Up until the most recent patch you either played ball, sig or maaaaybe hog because hes at least self sufficient. Everything else just gets blasted into Narnia by busted backlines playing together with hitscan heroes. I dont want to go into any more detail on this right now, but the point is that the tank role is not fun for tank players anymore because most of the fan favorites from the early days are borderline unplayable due to new heroes and balance patches added to the game.
Tank role has a small player pool due to that which increases queue times by a mile for all other roles. Flex queue being added to the game doesnt really help, since now we just have MORE tank players that are uncomfortable on those heroes – and they get pulled up and down ridiculous amounts of SR into games they dont belong in. Its not fun for anyone to play with a tank line that consists of a gm ball player and a 3400 player on zarya who wants to get his priority tickets so that he gets bearable queue times on his main role. Its insanely unbalanced the way it is now and needs to be fixed. And what we NEED is not a BAND AID FIX but a fix to the CORE ISSUE.
And the core issue is tank players leaving the game because their role is not fun to play. Its not fun to play because after roleq a certain new tank hero enabled a new level of bullshittery comp that forced nerfs on all other tank heroes. tl;dr: Sigma is broken, forced nerfs for all other tanks, supports got buffed as a result as well.
1-3-2 role queue as a possible solution
Now my idea to get a grip on this problem is something that blizzard already came up with a while ago with the pure intent of fixing the queue times of DPS players. Which is the 1-3-2 role queue. At first i was very excited about it because i thought they intended it to work the way i imagined it myself. But what they tried had a certain key difference that made it so that 1-3-2 (or the solo tank queue) didnt make it out of the experimental phase. That was due to them trying to turn the offtanks into maintanks and giving them weird abilities and buffing them so that they can maybe substitute for an actual MT. However, it didnt quite work, was pretty messy and just poorly implemented in general. And im glad that those changes didnt make it any further.
My idea: pick up on this idea of a 1-3-2 queue but only add the actual MTs to the tank slot pool. That would make rein, monkey, orisa, ball and sigma. Take the remaining offtanks and add them to the "flex tank" category. Make it possible so that the DPS players are able to pick from those flex tanks as well – but only one flex tank at the time, so you dont end up with a goats comp all over again. Whoever happens to pick one of the flex tanks first gets to do so, the category will be greyed out for the other two DPS players. If the FT decides to go back to a DPS hero, one of the other two might switch to a FT now. That way we can either play triple DPS again, which was viable back in the day, and we can also play our traditional 2-2-2 comps.
I do think this is possible because offtanks like hog, zarya and dva are very similar in nature to DPS heroes – and most DPS and offtank players can flex to the other role rather naturally. At the very least, offtanks are closer to DPS than they are to MTs. It just makes sense for them to be in this category.
What does it do: First of all it decreases the queue times. Tank players are rare, DPS players are common. No one is forced to play tank if they dont want to. We only need two tank mains per match now instead of four. Flex queue is unnecessary, we dont have people offroling and soft throwing matches anymore so that they can get decent queue times afterwards. It should in theory increase match quality. On top of that you disable the possibility of sigma being paired with another MT. Those inherently broken combos are not a thing anymore and we dont need unnecessary tank nerfs across the board – mainly the overall nerf to shields that happened because of sigma – just to disable this tank combination. Instead now the dev team is able to properly balance tanks individually, make them fun for tank mains to play again and we dont need to remove sigma with his broken ass kit since its not that bad if hes on his own or with an offtank.
Now with the possibility to properly balance tanks we get to the next issue, which are supports. Some of them got buffs (or didnt receive nerfs they needed) because comps involving sigma, orisa and ball were so strong that they needed these strong kits to deal with them. E.g. brig, baptiste and even the zen discord buff. It should be possible to balance these heroes appropriately now that they dont have to face utterly busted and overpowered tank combos anymore.
Overall i think that tank mains will be happier if they get to play their favorite heroes again. And if they are not forced on boring or onesided heroes constantly because everything else just gets deleted instantly. I also believe that a lot of DPS players will be happy to play flex tanks if necessary – they already did that back in the day regularly. The main issue was being forced to play a MT like rein, but being able to play a DPS-like hero such as hog or zarya never was a big issue for most DPS players in my experience. Of course, some MTs would need to receive some buffs again to be able to be sustainable even if they ARE solo tanking. But that was not really an issue for MT heroes overall before they got nerfed to weaken the double shield compositions. I would like this idea to be considered and at least tried out on experimental. They dont have much to lose at this point, aside from their playerbase. And the way the game plays currently is honestly not great. Tank players hate playing tanks, DPS and support players hate playing tanks for queue tickets but they kind of have to and ALL OF US hate to play with people that are forced to play a role theyre not comfortable on or dont want to play. Its an issue that really needs to be addressed. But i believe the dev team to be able to do so. Theyve shown before that they can change the game for the better and are willing to improve their balancing.
Thats all i had to say, thank you all for listening.
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