Principal Designer on Overwatch, Scott Mercer, recently published a blog post discussing some the changes the team plans to implement for the game’s Competitive Mode between seasons two and three. Further, the blog post also confirms that season two will end on November 24th, and that season will begin on December 1st.
In the post, Mercer starts off stating:
“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.”
He then goes on to say that too many players benefited from their season one performance at the start of season two, populating the gold and platinum tiers at the expense of silver and bronze. The issue was the overpopulated players in the higher tiers were “overrated,” and as a result got pummeled at the start of the season, something that “didn’t feel great,” said Mercer. The other result was that the skill range was far too wide for gold and platinum tiers, something Blizzard wanted to avoid.
So, what’s the solution? Well, Blizzard has decided to 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, however Blizzard has also decided to increase your SR gains from winning to help balance this. After you play enough matches and settle into a SR, SR gains and losses will go back to normal.
The general idea here is to have more even player distribution across bronze, silver, gold and platinum tiers after players complete their placement matches.
In the post Mercer also confirmed that Overwatch’s competitive season two will end at midnight UTC on November 24th, and that season three will begin on December 1st (no time was given). As you may have noticed, this is a much shorter break than the three week break between seasons one and two, the reason for this change was simply cited as the result of community feedback.