Overwatch Developer Update: Ranked Play!

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The recent developer update covered the incoming competitive mode in Overwatch. We've got a full summary, as well as a few opinions on the planned changes. Check it out!

You can check out the full video yourself below or read through our summary just underneath:


Blizzard LogoDeveloper Update Summary


  • The season length was intended to be 1 month, as in Hearthstone, but people didn't like this. 
  • After seeing the threads of Reddit, they are changing to 3-month seasons.
  • The first season will be Summer, then Fall, aligning with real seasons.
  • There will be a small break between each season.

Sudden Death

  • 50% of games would go into overtime, which was "too much".
  • 35% of games would go into Sudden Death.
  • They want to minimise this in the future, so changes will be coming in the future.
  • When Sudden Death does happen, it will resolve on the same map, rather than going to a random control point map.

Assault Mode Maps

  • These maps were "flipping" too quickly, where one or two big fights would end the game.
  • They have made changes to increase the chances of "back and forth" between teams, meaning longer games.

MMR System and Ranks

  • The previous system was completely based upon grinding and progression, which they will be changing after critical feedback.
  • The tiers will be removed that were in beta.
  • They will be using MMR to create "skill rating", which will go between 1-100. 
  • You will be shown your skill rating, as well as other that of other players.
  • Team average skill ratings will be displayed to show how fair matches are.
  • Underdogs will gain more and lose less.
  • You can also now see if people are partied.


  • The rewards that come from competitive will not affect your player power.
  • You will receive golden editions of weapons, with the best players getting it first.
  • A golden hammer for Reinhardt was mentioned.
  • They will introduce exclusive rewards for top players as well.

So! Lots of changes to discuss.

I think the changes to season length are for the best. The seasons were simply too short, given how much you would need to play in such a short time frame. They can now also align the seasons with seasonal tournaments for the professional scene.

For Sudden Death, I agree and disagree with what Kaplan said. I loved the fact that Overtime was a common thing, because it brings a sense of urgency to the game. Those dying moments can make for some of the most entertaining gameplay Overwatch has to offer. I don't think the map change was needed, though. I liked that it moved to the different control map. I'll reserve complete judgement until it releases, but currently I'm not a fan.

On assault mode maps, I feel like it's simply the nature of games like Overwatch for there to be huge momentum swings. I feel like, by trying to actively stop it, you're disrupting the flow of the game. The "flips" are normally caused by calculated teamwork that combines numerous skills in order to achieve an objective push. If too much is changed, it might cause teamwork to decrease in value, instead favouring lone wolf pushes. Why group up to wipe the enemy team if it's just as effective as 6 1v1s? As before, this is all theory and will depend on how it's actually implemented. I pray that it doesn't involve changing rates of capture or spawn points.

The MMR system was definitely flawed in beta, so I'm completely in favour of this new route. I can't wait to try it out. I do have one problem with rankings in Overwatch, however. Personally, I play supports nearly 100% of the time. As some of you most likely know, it can be very difficult to queue up in ranked as a support. You can very rarely make those game-changing plays that can carry an under-performing team, so I pray that the skill rating system will not be a simple win/lose. The same goes for people playing a tank, in my opinion. A Reinhardt that gets a perfect ultimate, stunning the whole enemy team, is for nothing if you're damage dealers simply cannot capitalise on the opportunity. It's the same with, for example, a Lucio who uses his ultimate to shield his entire team, is telling people to move onto the point, but instead they hang back trying to snipe the enemy team.

This is all in the early stages and I'm sure Blizzard have thought this through, I just hope the implementation is good. They seem to be constantly looking through our feedback, so let's hope this all turns out great!


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