When it comes to the start of the new season, many are eager, at the starting lines, waiting for the countdown to finish. Some arrive later that week, others arrive weeks after, and there are those who even join beyond a month after the seasons began. Are there perks for starting right away, or does the season favor those who wait?
Let’s talk about day one, the launch of a new season. The previous season has already been set in stone, and those who’ve participated have a rank under their name. There are also those few who joined too late in the season to participate due to level locking, or who’ve joined after the season was over. Day one of the first season sets everyone at the same starting line: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, diamond, master, and grandmaster, all have been reset. While this makes it easy for those highly skilled to have a higher win-rate in their placement matches, it leaves those who are on the lower ranked side of the scale to suffer greatly.
Imagine this – a previously ranked silver player is solo queueing for competitive games, or even just queueing with a buddy or two. It’s the start of a new season, a fresh start, and then suddenly they get steamrolled by the enemy team. They’re holding the silver captive in their own spawn, and everything’s gone to shambles. Then they soon find out that the enemy team has a platinum player, diamond player, and maybe even someone from the top 500 of last season. Again, while this might be a perk for the higher ranked players, those in the lower ranks will suffer. If these weren’t the placement matches, the silver player could have avoided these top tier players. Heck, I’ve made it to platinum in season 2, and I don’t even want to go up against anyone in the master or grandmaster tier. Nope. Count me out.
There’s option 2, waiting and spreading your games throughout the first week of the start to the new season. Sometimes you’re unable to play all your matches in one day; whether you work, and/or go to university, or attend high school/secondary school. Sometimes those things can get in the way of you having enough time, patience, and energy to play all 10 placement matches in one sitting.
On the other hand, playing them throughout the week, means your pool of opponents can change. Those hardcore champions at the top of the ladder are probably already back up there, enjoying their nice view, so now you don’t have to worry about them anymore. There’s always the chance someone could be hiding, slacking on their placement games for the reasons already listed, or maybe they just weren’t feeling it that day.
Though most of your placement games will have people already with a skill ranking under their player portrait, but at least you’ll be able to estimate what kind of skill and knowledge that player may have.
Option 3 entails that you spread your games throughout the first two weeks of the season. For similar reason listed above, maybe you’re too busy and tired at the end of each day to grind out those games. Maybe it’s not a priority for you, and you just enjoy to play as you please. Maybe your buddies you play with aren’t always free and available at the same time. So then when you get to playing, you’ll run into people, again, who are already ranked, and can estimate how good they may be.
The last option is playing your placement matches after the first two weeks of the season have already gone by. Everyone’s crazy at the start of the season, calling people names, picking on others, “Don’t mess up my placement matches.” It’s just too hectic for anyone to properly play a good match in. So you wait. Gather up a friend or two, and hit the competitive matches after everyone’s settled down and the rush is gone.
My own opinion is mixed on this topic. The competitive player in me loves getting them done in one day, that way I can start climbing the ranks on the first day, or have some rest and prepare for the climb for the next day. Take for example this season, season 2. I played all my ten matches on day one, and landed in high gold. I didn’t do so well, and went 4W:6L. My previous season 1 ranking was 55. Those ranked around my skill rating, but who won a majority of their placements got into platinum. Could I have waited and spread my games out throughout the first week/first two weeks, and got into platinum instead? Sure, but it only took me the next day to get into platinum. Since fall semester has started, I haven’t played much sense, but you see my point I’m trying to make.
I can see the value in waiting, playing tactfully without rushing, or raging; but I can also see the value in just “ripping off the bandaid” and getting the games done and over with so the real grind can begin. Since I could come to a clear decision on this matter, I took to the polls!! The uh.. Twitter polls to be exact.
I posted this lovely tweet on october 2nd, and left it open for a whole week ;
With the help of not only just my active Overwatch gamers who follow me, but all of you who saw the pin on the OmnicCore discord, and those who saw the retweet featured on the OmnicCore twitter also voted! The results were completely different from what I was expecting. Initially, I was expecting the votes to be in a descending order: option one would have the most votes, option two would have the second most votes, and so on and so forth. But the poll took a whole different direction!!
– Placements –
1st – Within the First Week
2nd – After the First 2 Weeks
3rd – On the First Day
4th – Within the First 2 Weeks
I am honestly surprised with the results from this poll. Over 250 people participated, and 2nd place didn’t come in close at all. Although 2nd and 3rd places were very close in percentage. I was honestly expecting “On the First Day” to be the first place, with the whole ‘just rip off the bandaid’ mentality- get in there, get it done quickly, and grind the ladder.
I expanded my opinion pool and asked the community what there thoughts were behind their opinion, and a couple people responded, but two players interested me the most. To protect their anonymity we will be calling them Player 1 and Player 2 respectively.
Player 1 voted for “On the First Day”, stating that the sooner you get the placement matches over with, the sooner you can get to grinding out those skill rating points. They further expanded upon their stance by pointing out that by getting your matches done as soon as possible is a “double-edged sword”, and that “there will always be the possibility that you will run into good players, or players who shouldn’t even be playing in a competitive setting.” Player 1 goes onto say that having “high level enemies hurt, high level teammates help. Low level enemies help, low level teammates hurt.” While Player 1 points these things out, we both are in agreement on getting the matches over with a soon as possible.
Player 2 voted that it’s best to play the matches “After the First 2 Weeks”. They pointed out that everyone has access to the fresh season. This includes the leavers that were banned in the previous session, and “It’s most likely that those people will keep on leaving games that season until banned again.” Which I’ve witnessed myself! I actually had a few games with leavers for my placement matches for season 2, and I was playing them all on the first day. Player 2 had the same experience saying, “I found this out because my season 1 competitive experience was in the last week it was open, and I didn’t play with many quitters then. I played season 2 when it came out and I played in many matches with people that quitted mid-match. This greatly changed my win rate from a higher percentage to a much lower one.” So this is why they would rather wait, and let the game filter out the leavers so there’s less troublesome people to deal with.
With all that’s said and done this information is yours to process. Taking it at face value means that it’s best to spread your games across the first week of the seasons start. Or, you could take the other routes, based on your own experiences, or at the advice of others. Remember, there is no right or wrong, as long as you get them done. Good luck, and have fun.
Player 1, and Player 2 consented to being quoted, but wished to remain anonymous.