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Big Changes coming to Season 3 Competitive

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Competitive changes start PTR testing: shorter off-season, in-game countdown, skill rating and tier tweaks and more.

 

Overwatch competitive play is ever evolving and Blizzard are hard at work trying to make the experience as good as it can be and so they've started testing some major changes to how it works on the PTR. The big news is a shorter, only week-long off-season, an in-game countdown to when the new season starts and skill rating and tier tweaks.

Blizzard LogoScott Mercer

Right now on the PTR, we’re starting to test out changes for Season 3 of Competitive Play. While there’s one big change to Season 3, there are also some behind-the-scenes adjustments to how we’re calculating Skill Rating and Skill Tier placement that I wanted to discuss with everyone.

The largest visible change to Competitive Play will be to the off-season between Season 2 and Season 3. Based on community feedback, we’re going to shorten the off-season downtime to just one week, with Season 2 ending at 00:00 UTC on November 24, and Season 3 beginning on December 1. Additionally, during the off-season, we’ll display an in-game countdown to when the next season begins.

Before explaining the changes to Skill Rating and Skill Tiers, let me explain some of the goals for matchmaking in Competitive Play. First and foremost, we always want to provide the fairest matches that we can. Fair matches of skill between the teams provide the greatest chance for you to have fun in Overwatch. At the same time, we’d also like every new competitive season to feel like a fresh start. These two goals end up being somewhat contradictory. If we completely reset everyone’s Skill Rating (SR) at the start of a new season, then players of all skill levels would end up playing against each other and having poor quality matches until the system could reevaluate each player’s skill. Because of this, we don't fully reset your SR when a new season begins, and instead use your SR from the previous season as a starting point.

Another area of Competitive Play we’re trying to improve for Season 2 is how we distribute everybody into their Skill Tiers (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, etc.) based on their SR. When Season 2 started, we had WAY more players in Gold and Platinum than we initially intended, and way fewer in Bronze and Silver. This was the result of how we calculated your initial SR for Season 2. We tried to partially reset player SR at the start of Season 2, but the results were not as we expected. Instead, below-average players started Season 2 at a higher SR than they should have been given their performance in Season 1. This meant that as they played in Season 2, their SR would often drop to a lower value, which didn’t feel great. It also meant that there was a much wider variation of skill in the Gold and Platinum tiers than we wanted. This is something we want to avoid in Season 3.

As a result, we’re testing a different way of determining your starting SR for Season 3 on the PTR. We’re leaning more towards trying to keep things fair rather than giving everyone a fresh start. We’re also going to initially tune your SR to be slightly lower to start. In turn, fewer players should start the season having their Skill Rating drastically drop despite having close to even wins and losses.

This change will mean that some players will not start in the same tier for Season 3 that they were placed in for Season 2, and that your SR gains from winning will be a little higher at the beginning of the season. After you play enough matches, however, your SR gains and losses will go back to normal.

We’ll be looking closely at the results of players placement on PTR and see if our goals are being met, and might make further adjustments during this testing cycle that might require a reset of placement matches. If that’s the case, we’re try to provide advanced notice whenever possible.

In the meantime, we really appreciate your feedback, and thanks for everyone who is helping us test on PTR!

 

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A little funny story of my season 2 competitive play.

EU server, started around 2.1k SR, gold league after placements. went up to 2.2k and then started falling. went down to hell! I mean where people ask "what is 2-2-2?", around 1300 SR. Tried everything, made it worse.

Went to America's server, started winning games like hell! (Although I had +200 latency) you can't believe this but I went up to 2.1k again only playing in US server! then I told myself, I can go back to EU again this latency is hurting me, STUPID ME! now I'm at 1700. I'm going back to US server again to climb up!

This is how bad the matchmaking system is right now. I don't know how it only happens in EU.

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I felt so proud when I tested into platinum, I see now I may not actually be talented :(  Torb is totally relevant and competitive on every single map......right.......RIGHT!?!?!?!

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The grind out of plat and into diamond has been so difficult. I get to the low 2900's, I can almost taste it, and then 3 or 4 troll teams in a row drop me back down. I had always thought that the higher rank you get, the better your teammates must be because clearly they made it this far somehow. To be honest, I've seen no difference in the skill of players at 2900 and 1900, just who happened to get lucky enough to be carried to a higher rank.

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3 hours ago, Freshness said:

The grind out of plat and into diamond has been so difficult. I get to the low 2900's, I can almost taste it, and then 3 or 4 troll teams in a row drop me back down. I had always thought that the higher rank you get, the better your teammates must be because clearly they made it this far somehow. To be honest, I've seen no difference in the skill of players at 2900 and 1900, just who happened to get lucky enough to be carried to a higher rank.

The biggest difference for me between Gold/Plat and Diamond/Master is voice, honestly. People communicate constantly, even if just to say: "Genji above", "Move", "Go". 

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19 minutes ago, Blainie said:

The biggest difference for me between Gold/Plat and Diamond/Master is voice, honestly. People communicate constantly, even if just to say: "Genji above", "Move", "Go". 

Yeah, good voice communication always helps. But it always seems to be that 6th person who isn't in the voice channel who insists on playing attack Symetra that drags us down.

My worst story was a match on Dorado around 2900 where I got put with a 5man premade. As soon as the match started they all ran past the enemies and straight to the final objective point and just sat there. They spent 5 minutes spamming chat with "hey check out my twitch channel" and left me to sit alone in spawn looking out the door at 6 people. That experience soured the game for me for a few days.

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On 10/27/2016 at 9:02 PM, Freshness said:

Yeah, good voice communication always helps. But it always seems to be that 6th person who isn't in the voice channel who insists on playing attack Symetra that drags us down.

I've had my fair share, don't worry. It's one of those things that, unfortunately, you just can't avoid!

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