Just like the two times before it, Overwatch is getting another change to it’s competitive play. In a forum post, principal designer Scott Mercer explained the vision that Blizzard has for the 3rd season of competitive play, he stressed that the biggest change is to do with the off-season, “The largest visible change to Competitive Play will be to the off-season…we’re going to shorten the off-season downtime to just one week“, Mercer then revealed a small addition to the game, “during the off-season, we’ll display an in-game countdown to when the next season begins” This is a nice little feature and I am sure it will be appreciated greatly. Mercer confirmed the for end of season 2 being the 24th of November and the start of season 2 being the 1st of December.
Mercer explains that they have new goal for matchmaking, but they are contradicting with each other, he says “we always want to provide the fairest matches that we can. Fair matches … 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 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“. So Mercer wants to provide players with the fairest matchmaking by matching players with others of similar Skill rating but, at the same time, he wants to make each season feel like a new beginning, a chance to start again, the way that they are going to do this is by using player’s previous season’s skill rating a starting point and then they can evaluate from there.
“Another area of Competitive Play we’re trying to improve for Season 2 is how we distribute everybody into their skill Tiers” Mercer stated, “we had WAY more players in Gold and Platinum than we initially intended, and way fewer in Bronze and Silver“. This just shows how this season’s skill rating were definitely not as fine tuned as they could have been, I have thought about it a lot as I often see myself matching with platinums with a season high of over 2600 but with a current SR in the 1800 or 1900’s, which either means that they have had incredibly bad luck and are on a monstrous losing streak or, the more likely reason, they were never meant to be ranked as platinum in the first place, it was just the result of a good team and a high win/lose ratio during their placements. Mercer confirms the latter to be true by saying, “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“.
They are going to avoid it from happening again by implementing a few changes in the way the skill rating works in the early stages, Mercer said “We’re also going to initially tune your SR to be slightly lower to start…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“.
I personally think that this is a good thing, people that were placed to high by accident last season will be placed lower, as Mercer said, some players will be in a lower rank than this season but that is only if you were just over the mark, for example, if you were placed in platinum this season at 2500-2600 then you will probably place in gold next season, but if you placed in platinum higher than that you are probably going to be placed back in platinum next season.
These changes are currently being tested in the PTR, along with all of the hero changes from the last PTR patch, Mercer stated “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” so stay tuned for any further announcements.