Overwatch Begins Season 2 of Competitive Play; New Patch Adds Eichenwalde Map and More
The fast-paced first-person shooter Overwatch has kept gamers busy since its release in May, with developer Blizzard Entertainment having released some new updates to the game this week, including a new map and the kickoff of its competitive mode’s new season.
In an update on Battle.net, Blizzard shared more details on Season 2 of its ranked Competitive Play mode, with the biggest changes being the introduction of a new skill tier system (from 1- 5000) that the team hopes will “better communicate players’ relative skill levels,” and the removal of Sudden Death, with tied matches now ending in a draw.
The new updates to Overwatch also provides the newly-revealed “Eichnwalde” map, which is now available for players, and also brings in some new skins for Reinhardt. Alongside the new content, the patch also provides numerous fixes and changes for the game, and many balance tweaks for characters such as Hanzo, Zenyatta, Mercy, and more.
Overwatch is available now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC – you can check out the full patch notes in the game’s latest update below:
Competitive Play Season 2
We’ve made some big changes to Competitive Play in Season 2. The most noticeable change is the introduction of skill tiers, which we hope will better communicate players’ relative skill levels. Competitive Play will put a greater emphasis on skill tiers over specific ratings, and as such, a player’s tier will be more prominently displayed throughout the game. We’ve also switched the skill rating system to a 1-5000 scale to give players more detailed information about how each match affects their specific rating.
Sudden Death is also going away in Season 2. Instead, matches that are tied when the clock runs out end in a draw—though, it should be a rare occurrence. Because of this, we’ve made some changes to our game modes in Competitive Play to help reduce the chance that a draw can happen.
We’ve also made a few minor adjustments to leaver penalties, the top 500 system, and the competitive point system. Read on below to learn more!
New Assault/Escort Map: Eichenwalde
The forest has slowly begun overtaking the abandoned village of Eichenwalde, but the scars will never completely fade. During the Omnic Crisis, Eichenwalde was the site of a key battle. General Balderich von Adler took a handful of crusaders to the village in an effort to outflank the omnic army. Balderich’s soldiers were able to break down the enemy forces, giving the German military an opportunity to push back, but the Crusaders didn’t make it out of the battle. General Balderich finally collapsed in the castle’s great hall.
- When activating the “Ultimate Status” communication, Symmetra now reports the number of charges left on her teleporter
- When activating the “Needs healing” communication while targeting a teammate, Ana, Lúcio, Mercy, and Zenyatta will now tell allies to group up to receive healing. A marker will also appear above the player’s head, allowing teammates to locate the healer more quickly
- Added Torbjörn as an AI-controlled hero in Practice vs. AI, Play vs. AI, and Custom Game modes
- Sit and laugh emotes are now unlockable for all heroes
- New Legendary skins have been added for Reinhardt
- Skill rating is now measured on a 1-5000 scale instead of the former 1-100 scale
- Skill Rating Tiers
- Players will now be assigned to a tier, depending on their skill rating
- Bronze – 1-1499
- Silver – 1500-1999
- Gold – 2000-2499
- Platinum – 2500-2999
- Diamond – 3000-3499
- Master – 3500-3999
- Grandmaster – 4000-5000
- In Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond tiers, a player will not drop out of their tier even if their skill rating falls below the cutoff
- In Master and Grandmaster tiers, a player whose skill rating falls below the tier’s minimum will be moved to a lower tier
- Players that have reached the Master and Grandmaster tiers must be within 500 Skill Rating of their groupmates
- Players that are Diamond-tier and below must be within 1000 Skill Rating of their groupmates
- Players will now be assigned to a tier, depending on their skill rating
- Skill Rating Decay
- Players in Diamond, Master, and Grandmaster tiers that haven’t participated in a competitive match for 7 days will lose skill rating
- Players with a skill rating above 3000 (Diamond tier or higher) will lose 50 rating points every 24 hours, but their rating will not fall below 3000
- Competing in a single match will halt skill rating decay
- Players that haven’t participated in a competitive match for 7 days will immediately drop out of the top 500
- Map Changes
- Several refinements have been made to the time bank system for Hanamura, Temple of Anubis, and Volskaya Industries
- The time bank system has been added to Dorado, Hollywood, King’s Row, Numbani, Route 66, and Watchpoint: Gibraltar
- Time granted for taking objectives on Dorado, Hanamura, Hollywood, King’s Row, Numbani, Route 66, Temple of Anubis, Volskaya Industries, and Watchpoint: Gibraltar has been reduced from 5 minutes to 4
- Competitive Points
- Existing competitive points saved from Season 1 will be multiplied by 10
- After winning a competitive match, players will now receive 10 competitive points (instead of 1)
- Players will now receive 3 competitive points for a draw
- The cost of golden weapons has also been multiplied by 10 – from 300 to 3000
- A soft cap is being placed on the number of competitive points that can be saved
- Players with more than 6000 points at the start of season 2 will no longer accrue points by playing competitive matches
- End-of-season rewards will still be granted to players at the soft cap
- Instead of going into Sudden Death, tied competitive matches will now result in a draw
- Players must now win at least 50 competitive matches to be eligible for a spot in the top 500
- Players must now complete more matches to clear their penalty status for leaving a competitive match early
HERO BALANCE UPDATES
- Ultimates that consume the ultimate meter when activated will now drain the meter more quickly (.25 second instead of 1 second)
- Reverted a recent change that reduced the size of heroes’ projectiles
- Most hero abilities will no longer interrupt quick melee attacks
- Ultimate abilities will now interrupt quick melee attacks
Developer Comments: Altering the size of projectiles in flight had too many unintended side effects to keep in the game, at least in its current form. We will continue watching this and make additional changes if necessary. We’re also making quick melee more consistent when interacting with enemy abilities.
- Defense Matrix
- After being activated, Defense Matrix will begin regenerating following a 1-second delay (formerly .5 seconds)
Developer Comments: Defense Matrix was too efficient when tapped repeatedly, instead of being held. Now, the recovery delay matches the ability cooldown.
- Hanzo will now experience a 30% decrease in speed while aiming (formerly 40%)
- Maximum projectile speed has been increased by 30%
- Arrow size has been reduced by 33%
Developer Comments: Hanzo has the potential to deal a lot of damage, but he can feel really inconsistent, even at a medium distance. By increasing the projectile speed, we’re extending his reliable range, making it easier to land shots without having to perfectly predict enemy movement. To compensate for the increased projectile speed, we’ve decreased the size of his arrows, meaning his shots now require a bit more accuracy.
- Double jump no longer resets when wall climbing
- Swift Strike
- No longer deals damage to traps like Widowmaker’s Venom Mine or Junkrat’s Steel Trap
- No longer bypasses Junkrat’s Steel Trap
- No longer interrupts quick melee attacks
- Duration of Genji’s ultimate has been reduced from 8 seconds to 6 seconds
Developer Comments: Genji was a little too difficult to pin down, and these changes will balance his speed. Swift Strike no longer cancels the recovery time from a quick melee attack, so players will no longer be able to get a free melee attack before using Swift Strike. Lastly, Dragonblade’s duration was long enough that it often felt too difficult to reasonably counter.
- Amp It Up
- The boosting of movement speed has been decreased by 30% (from a 100% increase to a 70% increase)
Developer Comments: Thanks to Lúcio’s speed increase, he was almost a must pick in every lineup.
- Now drains over a .25-second period (instead of displaying a 50% reduction on the ultimate meter when activated and 0% when confirmed)
Developer Comments: If players managed to counter or avoid McCree’s ultimate, it would often regenerate very quickly since only half of the ultimate charge was spent. Now, this ultimate works like every other ultimate that has a duration.
- Projectile now pierces barriers
- Radius has been increased from 8 meters to 10 meters
Developer Comments: Mei has an interesting toolkit, but her ultimate often felt like it was too difficult to use effectively. Consequently, it felt weak compared to many other ultimate abilities. The freeze effect has been piercing barriers for some time now, but the projectile would still be blocked. Now, you can throw it down exactly where you want it, so it’s much easier to utilize the full radius effectively.
- Caduceus Staff
- Healing Beam
- Healing-per-second has been increased by 20%
- Resurrected allies will be able to maneuver after 2.25 seconds (reduced from 3 seconds)
Developer Comments: Resurrection now allows teammates to jump back into the fight more quickly, which should help Mercy survive after activating her ultimate. Mercy’s healing is also getting a boost to solidify her role as a strong, single-target healer.
- Chain Hook
- If the hooked target isn’t in Roadhog’s line of sight when retracting the hook, they will be moved back to the position where they were originally hooked
Developer Comments: This change means that hooked targets will be less likely to slide along walls, potentially ending up in an odd place after they’ve been reeled in.
- Heavy Pulse Rifle
- Bullet spread now happens more quickly when unloading fully-automatic pulse fire
- Significantly Increased bullet spread recovery time
Developer Comments: These changes will make burst-firing feel more reliable and increase his effectiveness at longer ranges.
- Orb of Discord
- The amount of damage amplified by a target with Orb of Discord has been decreased from 50% to 30%
- Orb of Destruction
- Damage has been increased from 40 to 46
Developer Comments: Zenyatta is in a far better place since the last update, but the strength of Orb of Discord has turned him into an almost mandatory pick. These changes reduce Orb of Discord’s effectiveness, but his damage-dealing potential has been increased. The amount of damage that he delivers should feel largely unaffected by the change.
MAP BALANCE CHANGES
- Watchpoint: Gibraltar’s first checkpoint has been removed
Developer Comments: The balance changes that were implemented in previous patches have eliminated the need for Watchpoint: Gibraltar to have an extra checkpoint.
USER INTERFACE UPDATES
- A new “Allied Health Bars” option has been added (Options > Controls)
- Contextual menus have been added on the hero selection screen, giving players the ability to report or group up with other players
- Matchmaking UI is now purple in the Competitive Play queue
- Made several minor adjustments to typography in the Spectator UI
- Fixed a bug that allowed the kill participation metric to go above 100 percent
- Fixed a bug in the Custom Game settings preventing the Ability Cooldown modifier from affecting Ana
- Fixed a bug causing players to incorrectly see gains in experience points when completing Custom Games
- Fixed a bug that caused heroes to die when first spawned in a custom game if Health and Damage modifiers were used simultaneously
- Fixed a bug that could cause AI Bastion to become stuck, continuously healing himself in the spawn area
- Fixed a bug preventing Torbjörn from placing his turret in viable locations
- Appropriate sound effects now play when Ana shoots barriers, shields, and armor
- Ana’s scope now correctly displays all custom reticle options
- Ana’s attacks and abilities now activate the controller’s rumble function
- [XB1 Only] Fixed a bug preventing bullet shells from being rendered in Bastion’s “Bullet Rain” highlight intro
- D.Va no longer communicates her ultimate status for Self-Destruct while charging her Call Mech ultimate
- D.Va’s Boosters are no longer auto-cancelled if activated while her primary fire is active
- D.Va’s ultimate charge status is no longer reset to 0% if she falls to her death while piloting a mech
- Hanzo’s “Spirit Dragon” unlockable voice line now correctly plays when using his Okami and Lone Wolf skins
- Fixed various issues with Junkrat’s emote and highlight animations
- Fixed a bug that kept Junkrat’s ammo from being refilled when he was resurrected
- The alternate fire on McCree’s Peacekeeper ability now activates the controller’s rumble function for all six shots
- Fixed an issue causing Mei’s Ice Wall to push herself to the side when cast at her feet
- Fixed a bug preventing Mei’s Ice Wall from being destroyed by a moving payload
- Fixed a bug that prevented Mei’s Ice Wall from appearing at the target location when cast
- Fixed a bug allowing Reaper to reach unintended map locations using Shadow Step
- Fixed a bug causing Reinhardt’s shield to jitter when turning in third person
- Fixed an issue that prevented Roadhog’s chain from displaying correctly in some situations
- Fixed a bug causing Roadhog’s chain to become permanently extended if his target disconnected from the match
- Fixed several issues with Symmetra’s emotes and highlight intros
- The scarf on Tracer’s Slipstream skin is no longer stiff in the Hurdle highlight intro
- The names of Tracer’s Sprinter and Track and Field skins now display correctly
- Fixed a bug preventing overtime from being triggered while Zenyatta is using Transcendence
- Fixed an issue preventing Genji and Hanzo from reliably climbing a specific crate on Watchpoint: Gibraltar
- Fixed several issues that allowed Reaper to reach unintended locations on Watchpoint: Gibraltar
- Competitive play leaver messaging no longer overlaps with the PvP HUD at the top of the screen
- Fixed a bug causing the end of season banner to pop up while the player is in a match
- Fixed a bug preventing the hero list in Custom Game settings from being organized alphabetically
- The spectate option now becomes unavailable (the button will be greyed out) when all spectator slots have been filled in a Custom Game lobby
- [PC Only] Fixed an issue causing in-game statistics to run off the edge of the screen in 16:10 aspect ratio
- [XB1 Only] Fixed a bug preventing the Network Quality notifications from functioning
- [XB1 Only] Fixed a bug on the main menu that caused the Hollywood background to appear brighter than intended
- [XB1 Only] Fixed a bug in the Hero Details page that occasionally caused some information to be pushed partially off screen
- [XB1 Only] Fixed a bug preventing the Button Legend in the Options Menu from repositioning when display margins were altered