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In order to improve matchmaking, Blizzard is planning a couple of changes for Season 8. The first change is limiting the maximum Skill Rating (SR) difference between the highest SR player on a team and the lowest SR player on the same team. The second change is the removal of performance-based matchmaking for Diamond tier players and above.
Don't forget that performance-based matchmaking is coming to Heroes of the Storm next week!
Limiting the Skill Rating variance for Teams
With the debut of the new competitive season 8 in January we’re going to be making a few matchmaking changes to increase match quality. The first change is limiting the maximum Skill Rating (SR) difference between the highest SR player on a team and the lowest SR player on the same team. This will especially help players at both the lower and higher limits of SR, where there are typically fewer players available. If a player has an SR of 4500, there are not that many other players who have a similarly high SR. The matchmaker has previously assigned players who are of a much lower SR to the same team as 4500 SR player, and hasn’t always created the best match experience possible.
We implemented the technology for this change in the 188.8.131.52 patch at the end of November, but did not aggressively tune the SR value of the limit. During the month of December we will be quietly testing the effect of more restrictive SR limits to both match quality and queue times. With the data and player feedback from testing, we’ll then come back from our holiday break on January 2 and apply a finalized set of values for Season 8.
Note that the matchmaker will still allow you to group with other players according to the current SR limits at their skill tier, which is 1000 SR for Bronze through Diamond, 500 SR for Master, and 250 for Grandmaster. We recently restricted the SR grouping limit at Grandmaster with this new Season 8 change in mind.
Removing Personal Performance Skill Rating Adjustments for Diamond tier players and above
Ok, this explanation is going to be pretty lengthy, so everyone grab some popcorn and buckle up.
When you win a competitive match of Overwatch, you gain Skill Rating, and when you lose a match you also lose Skill Rating. The amount that you gain or lose is calculated based on many different factors, and here’s a quick list of some of the most important ones:
• If you have a higher than 50% chance to win a match, you gain less for a win and lose more for a defeat. Conversely, if you were an underdog in a match than you gain more SR when you win and lose less SR when defeated.
• New players experience both higher gains and higher losses than players who have completed a lot of matches.
• You gain less SR for a win than you lose for a defeat as you more closely approach the system’s mathematical upper limit 5000 SR. (So at very high SRs you do need a greater than 50% win rate to keep your SR stable.)
There is also another factor in determining the SR change after completing a match, and that’s a measurement of how well you personally performed during the match. If you perform well than you gain more SR when you win, and lose less SR when defeated. The reverse is also true, so if you perform very poorly you gain less SR for a win and lose additional SR when defeated. The personal performance adjustments have been controversial amongst the community for quite some time, especially since the calculations for these adjustments are not at all transparent.
The adjustment does create a lot of positive system wide effects including rewarding players who make the effort to play well, punishing inactive players, and more quickly providing fairer matches for new players or those who decide to play a new hero or role. So we spent quite a lot of time examining data over multiple seasons, checking a lot of math, reading a LOT of community feedback, and then doing some deep soul searching about this. Especially at the higher levels of online competition where every point of SR matters, we want players to not be distracted and worry about how to optimize around the personal performance adjustment. They should just be trying to WIN. So after we get back from the holidays on January 2nd we’re going to turn off the personal performance SR adjustments for players in the Diamond skill tier and above.
We look forward to everyone playing matches and giving us feedback about these changes in Season 8!