The first season of competitive play for Overwatch is set to conclude August 18th. With its incredibly unpopular sudden death and a skill rating system that confused and irritated, many people have voiced their frustration with the game mode. In a new Developer Update released today, Jeff Kaplan goes into some details about how the competitive system will be changing for Season two.
Skill Rating Changes
The first thing that Jeff Kaplan talks about is the skill rating system, saying “Not every aspect of skill rating felt really good to most players”. In this section of the video, Kaplan explains that the 100 point system gave some players the perception that they were not a solid player and that going up or down only a fraction of a rating felt “off and weird”. To alleviate this frustration, the rating scale will now be from 1 – 5000. This should remove marginal gains or losses and give players a more accurate depiction of how they’re playing at any given time. They also want to remove the skill rating system as a way to define how good a player you are in general. To accomplish this, Kaplan and his team will be adding a tiered rating system.
New Tiered Rating System
While your skill rating will give you a better idea of how you are doing at any given time, Blizzard believes it shouldn’t be how players define themselves as a player overall. To change that mindset, Blizzard is adding a seven tier rating system over the new skill rating system. This should help players see where they stand when compared to other players. Once you’ve reached a tier, it’s locked in. This means that even if you lose enough skill rating to be considered a lower tier, you remain in the higher one, keeping all the rewards that the higher tier provided. This includes competitive points, which will be awarded based on this new tier system. Those who make it into the top 3 tiers will be subject to a new skill decay system. After seven days of inactivity, players will start to lose skill rating every 24 hours.
One of the most unpopular features of season one is the sudden death coin flip. Season two will see this feature removed. To try and keep ties down to the minimum, Kaplan and his team have made a few adjustments to the timer system.
In Assault mode, after the first capture of Point A, every time you capture Point A after that, the attacking team will receive an additional 30 seconds. This should help when capturing point A happens in overtime, giving the attacking team an small chance at the second point. Another change is the two-minute rule for capping point B. Originally, capturing point B with less than two minutes resulting in your team’s timer being reset to exactly two minutes. After reviewing that system, Blizzard has decided to lower that to one minute. That one minute will also be added to the time bank of the other team, regardless of how much time they have left on their clock.
For Payload and Hybrid maps. Blizzard has decided to add the time bank system for these maps. If the attacking team manages to get the payload to the final point, they will be given whatever time they have left to run the map again. From Kaplan’s description, it seems that once the timer runs out, that will be the point that the opposing team will have to get to. He does say that ties are possible under this new system in scenarios where no one pushes the cart from the first point or when the first point is not taken on hybrid maps.
Competitive Points system
The competitive points system will be redesigned in season two. Everything will be increased by a factor of 10. Your current amount of CP will be multiplied by 10, you will be awarded10 times the CP for a win, and golden guns will cost 10 times more than they do now. Seems like a pretty arbitrary change on the surface but this will allow for awarding less CP when the game ends in a tie on Hybrid or Payload maps. Competitive Points will still be awarded at the end of a season, but this will be based on the new tier system and not the skill rating system.
Playing competitive with your friends will also have its limits. In order to group up in competitive play, members of the group must be within a certain skill rating with each other. It will be set to 500 on the PTR and will be adjusted before launch. This should alleviate the problem of better players boosting their friends into levels that they don’t fit in, competitively.
Overall, the theme of the update was about listening to the players and their feedback. Jeff Kaplan would regularly talk about the community when describing what changes were being addressed. With the removal of sudden death, ties will be possible, but they should be rare and you will still be rewarded for your efforts. And a revamp of the underlying rating systems should help players better understand their current situation and where they fall in the bigger picture that is Competitive Overwatch.