Overwatch’s Competitive Mode Is About To Get An Overhaul

Overwatch’s Competitive Mode Is About To Get An Overhaul

Overwatch’s first competitive season is winding down in a couple of days, but season two is set to kick off in a few weeks. If you didn’t love season one, Blizzard’s really hoping season two will be more to your liking.

In a new video, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan broke down the upcoming changes to competitive mode.

Here are the biggies:

  • The skill rating system is getting turned on its head. Instead of a 1-100 ranking system, it will soon be 1-5000. That way, you’ll be moving up and down in whole numbers, hopefully leading to a less confusing progression.
  • Skill ratings will also be divided into tiers. There will be seven total. Some of the ones mentioned include gold, diamond, master and grandmaster. “We don’t want that number to be the thing you associate with you as a competitive player more than anything else,” Kaplan explained. “We want you to realise that the skill rating is naturally gonna go up or down as you play competitive matches… We want to focus you more on ‘I’m a gold player.’ Sometimes my skill rating goes up or down, but I think of myself as a gold player.”
  • Even if you fall below the numerical rating of the highest tier you’ve earned, you won’t fall out of that tier (unless you’re in the top two tiers). Kaplan explained that he doesn’t want competitive mode to be a disheartening slog, and if you slip, you should have some time to pick yourself back up again.
  • Sudden death is dead. So is its reviled sidekick, the coin toss. Ties will happen, but Kaplan believes they will be very rare. For instance, the only way a tie might be able to happen on a payload map is if nobody on either team pushes the payload at all. “That seems exceedingly rare,” said Kaplan.
  • Competitive points are being multiplied by 10. You’ll get 10 times more, weapons will cost 10 times more and anything you have right now will be given the times 10 treatment. Why? Kaplan didn’t really explain. Big fuckin’ numbers are cool, I guess.
  • The time bank system, currently present on assault maps, is coming to hybrid and payload maps. Say you push the payload all the way to the end and have three minutes left. You’ll then get another round to see how far you can push the payload.
  • Players will get a decent number of competitive points for a tie. Not as many as for a win, but it won’t feel like a loss, either.
  • Players with wildly different skill ratings will not longer be able to group up. If you want to be in the same competitive group, you’ll soon have to be within 500 skill rating points of each other, per the new system. Blizzard wants people to be able to play with their friends, but they don’t want to leave a loophole open for exploits.
  • The top three skill rating tiers (diamond, master and grandmaster) will be subject to skill rating decay. If you don’t play for seven days, you’ll start losing 50 skill rating points every 24 hours. Kaplan explained that this is because he wants top players to really earn their spots. However, he doesn’t want competitive mode to be overbearing. “We’re not asking you to play 20 hours a day,” he said. “We’re just making sure you’re checking in with the system.”
  • To break into the top 500, you’ll need to have played at least 50 competitive matches in a season. This is to ensure that people don’t place into/near the top 500, stop playing, and hold a spot so they can reap the competitive point rewards.

“We want season two to feel kind of like a new beginning,” Kaplan concluded, adding that the competitive overhaul will soon be on Overwatch’s public test servers. It’s certainly different, and while I still feel like something more deliberately teamplay-oriented would make more sense for Overwatch specifically, I can understand why Kaplan and co are hesitant to go for it.

In the meantime, it sounds like we’re getting a system inspired by Dota 2 and League of Legends. Not sure how I feel about some of the smaller things (I could see trying to play with friends quickly turning into a real mess), but we’ll see. What do you think?


    • Yep. Quickplay is bad enough when you get matched against 5/6man premades, let alone competitive.

      Even if they limited competitive to 2man groups or solo, that would be a way more accurate ranking system if they actually want it based on individual skill.

  • I wish they got rid of the deleveling process but at least this takes some sting out of losing when other idiots leave and you loose a level, at least now I still remain in the bracket I was placed.

  • The main issue I have with competitive is the number of leavers (and by extension the amount you lose when you get leavers). I know they fixed the issue of not getting enough points from winning against a team with leavers, but it’s still super frustrating when people decide to leave just because they lost the first round in an assault game… Which seems to happen almost every time I play. Maybe I just have bad luck but around 90% of the post- qualifying matches I’ve played have had someone leave (including here ones where my team is winning, and people leave on the other team). The stupid thing is, I’ve lost count of the number of times in quick play where the team I’m on have lost the first round only to them pull it together and stomp the other team in rounds two and three….

    Or leaving because the other team managed to push the payload to the end with seconds to spare… Again, we can still win..!

    Sorry, rant over. I just can’t fathom the attitude behind playing competitive and letting your team down by leaving. Stick to quick play if that’s your attitude.

    • As somebody who has played over 300 ranked games I can honestly say that disconnects have had next to no effect on my rank, and intentional quitters are not only dealt with harshly by the system, but only ever happen when victory is very unlikely.

      • You’ve been lucky then. As I stated my experience has been the opposite. As has that of many people, hence the threads all over the Internet about rage quitters. And the fact Blizzard had to make a bunch of changes to competitive due to the effect rage quitters where having on rankings (or maybe you missed that).

        • Well I came out of placements at around lvl 45, where I had quitters on my team in 3 of the 10 games I played, I didn’t feel very lucky at the time, and perhaps it is more common in lower ranks.

          But if you keep playing well, you will rank up. I mostly queue with one other friend, and can’t even remember the last time somebody quit or DC’d in the 55-60 bracket.

  • Yeah I think I’ll stick with quick play…Not sure any of these changes really fix the core problem with comp which is the delevelling issue. The fact that your team can cause you to delevel through no fault of your own is really silly. At least I guess they sort of fixed it with the “not falling out of the level bracket” thing, but still not sure why this is going to be better than season 1.

    • are you reading the article correctly?.. you dont de-level from your current bracket… rating is naturally meant to go up and down.

      • Yeah I did read the article correctly. The major problem with Competitive at the moment is that you can end up going down in ranks extremely quickly because your team is shit or everyone leaves. You could be the best player ever but because your team was garbage, or 4 people ragequit, you end up getting burned. Also they are saying in the top tiers, yes you can fall out of the bracket. The problem at the moment is people feel they are being de-ranked because of stuff they cant control, and that is what kills a lot of the fun of Competitive.

        I suppose in fairness they are trialling it in the PT servers so we can see first hand if the changes are going to be an improvement on the current system before they actually implement.

        • If one person+ on your team leaves, you wait till the timer in the red box goes down and then leave without penalty. No loss of rank. No penalty for leaving. Yes it sucks that the time you spent in that match was wasted. Is that not how it works currently?

          • i think this is incorrect… you still lose rank.. you just don’t get the leaving penalty.

            sucks i know..

          • Ive checked and my rank doesnt change. Maybe its different between console and PC? Wouldn’t think so.

          • yes but remember there is that stupid continuum they have at the moment. if you were just near say rank 50… (aka 49,.9) you leave, you lose rank to 49.5 but still technically be on rank 49..

            though its hard to check this… unless you remember where on that continuum you were on..

            To test you need.

            1. remember where you were at all times.
            2, when someone leaves, and the timer expires immediately leave
            3. join another game to complete until the end…
            4. check the rating.

            reason i mention this is i swear i remember when i left after that timer expires obviously after a team mate left… the match definitely gets recorded as a loss and my rank decreased as i was near the bottom end of the rank scale.

          • Ok willing to concede. I honestly remember by ranking bar being in the same spot from the last time I’d seen it, but willing to concede I got it wrong.

  • Amazing! They’re doing all the things that took ages for them to realise with HoTS in it’s ranked system into OW except in a timely manner.

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