Overwatch’s firsts Competitive Season is coming to and end and with all eyes are turning to what changes could be made for the second season. Today, Overwatch’s Game Director Jeff Kaplan took to Youtube in order to share some of the changes that are coming. It was already known that this second season was going to be adjusted, but it’s now clear how much Blizzard cares about making the Competitive Mode an enjoyable experience for all.
Here’s everything you need to know about Overwatch’s Second Competitive Season:
1. Skill Ratings Have Been Completely Rehauled in Favor of a New System
One of the biggest changes Kaplan notes right off the bat is that they will be completely overhauling the Skill Rating’s system for the next season. Instead of a system that’s on a scale of 100, they will be bumping it up to a scale of 5,000. This adjustment is due to the fact that the current system wasn’t clear about what a good Skill Rating actually was, as some numbers we normally associate with lower scores were the exact opposite. Kaplan notes that players in the Skill Rating of 60 were actually in the top 10%, but was perceived as a poor ranking due to our culture seeing that as a near failing number. This entire system has been adjusted to favor a tier system that will be the rating system for a player’s skill level.
Kaplan did not detail every tier, but we know that the top two are dubbed Master and Grand Master, with the others along the lines of Bronze, Silver, and Gold. We can assume this will be following roughly the same tier system set up in the StarCraft 2 online mode. It’s also important to note that you will never drop out of your tier, regardless of how many games you lose after obtaining it. This is to remove the demoralizing sense players get after they go on a hefty losing streak and plummet in the rankings.
2. Competitive Points Will Be Increased as Well as Golden Gun Skin Costs
Competitive Points are the in-game rewards for those who play the ranked game mode and they have always felt like an absolute chore to obtain. Thankfully, this is getting adjusted as well to combat that sense of slow progress by increasing the amount you earn by x10. Kaplan was mum on the actual details, stating that he will speak more about it at a later date. We do know that the golden skin prices will also be increased by 10, so it will be interesting to see the reasoning that the team at Blizzard has for this. The end of season rewards will be based upon what tier you end up reaching, not what tier you are currently in when the season ends. You can also receive Competitive Points for a stalemate, but the amount will not be the same amount you’d receive for a win.
3. Sudden Death and the Coin Flip Are Completely Gone
If there was one change I was happy to see it’s that the entire Sudden Death mechanic is being removed from Competitive Season 2. Kaplan notes at the beginning of this section that neither the community nor the development team liked the coin toss mechanic and are thus removing it from the game. This change will affect all game modes except for the Control Maps such as Illios which will still be just a best of 5 and is impossible to go into Sudden Death.
For Assault maps such as Hanamura, they will keep the time bank system with the addition of adding an additional 30 seconds after the first capture point if the first rounds end up in a draw. This is because some matches would end right after the first point was captured, leaving the attacking team with no chance of even making it to the second capture point. However, you will no longer receive a minimum of 2:00 minutes for the second rounds and will now only have a single minute as your minimum.
The time bank system will also be moving to the payload maps in order to curb the possibilities of ties. This will reward teams who are able to push the point to the very end as fast as possible, giving them a better shot at winning if the opposing team manages to do the same, but in a slower fashion. Kaplan notes that ties are going to be rare and that Sudden Death as a whole wasn’t a satisfying experience for players.
4. They Will be Cutting Down on Time in a Variety of Areas
One interesting point that Kaplan makes is that he wants Overwatch’s overall playtime to be sped up for those in Competitive Mode. While this is clearly echoed with the time bank system being put in place, they will also be trimming down other sections as well. The “Assemble Your Heroes” opening will be shaved down considerably, so you will need to know which heroes you want to pick going into the game. While this change isn’t huge, it will cut down on the match time for multiple round games such as Control Point maps. Another area is how they are balancing the time received for capturing different points in the tiebreaker rounds of matches, giving the overall gameplay a more aggressive feeling.
5. How You Play With Others and “Skill Rating Decay” Will Be Implemented
Another problem that is being adjusted will be playing with others that have a massive skill gap. What this means is, if I am level 70 I can no longer play with people who are level 30 or 40. Since this can seriously offset a teams average rating, thus skewing who you lay against in your competitive matches, Blizzard will be adding a cap to this. In Season 2 you are only allowed to play with others who are within 500 points of your Skill Rating, but Kaplan has noted this number will be subject to change. They will be trying a variety of numbers out during the public tests, so make sure to give them your feedback on this idea.
Finally, the concept of “Skill Rating Decay” will be implemented into Season 2, in order to stop people from reaching high tiers with minimal effort. In order to maintain any level above “Diamond” players will be required to play a certain amount of matches a week otherwise they will begin to lose points and thus have their tier ranking drop. Also, in order to even reach the Top 500, players will need to play a minimum of 50 matches before they can even be accepted. Kaplan explains that this is to remove the possibility of someone getting lucky during their placement matches and make it feel like a reward of skill.
As time progresses we will be receiving more information and the patch notes regarding Overwatch’s Second Competitive Season 2.