Overwatch Season 2 of competitive play is coming to an end but a recent announcement about the changes expected for Season 3 has players feeling eager, and a bit nervous, about what will happen to their skill rating as they slide into the new season.
Principal designer Scott Mercer took to the battle.net forums to let players know that not only will there be less downtime between seasons but there is going to be quite a shakeup for calculating players’ skill ratings (SR).
Players were told before by Principal Designer Geoff Goodman that the changes being tested in the current PTR patch were significant ones. Seems like Goodman tells no tale.
“When Season 2 started, we had WAY more players in Gold and Platinum than we initially intended, and way fewer in Bronze and Silver,” Mercer wrote on the Battle.net forum. “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.”
If you’re thinking the Overwatch team is just being a bunch of bullies who don’t want you to enjoy life in the gold and platinum ranks, think again.
This is all, quite honestly, for the benefit of the players.
By improving SR calculations for the new season, the Overwatch team is aiming to have players better paired up with people of their same skill level and prevent them from seeing sudden drops in their SR early in the season.
“We tried to partially reset player SR at the start of Season 2, but the results were not as expected,” Mercer wrote. “Instead, below-average players started Season 2 at a higher SR than they should have been given their performance in Season 1. This means that as they played in Season 2, their SR would often drop to a lower value, which didn’t feel great.”
Think about how many times you checked a gold player’s SR just to discover a numerical value that would have placed them in the silver range instead. Now, think of how frustrating it must be to be that player who received a gold ranking initially but quickly found themselves drowning in a pit of back-to-back defeats that ultimately snatched their once glorious rating away from them.
In layman’s terms, the current skill rating system simply isn’t as honest as it could be. It’s unintentionally trying to spare your feelings early on only to have competing teams rip off that gracious band aid and reveal a not-so-pretty truth.
“First and foremost, we always want to provide the fairest matches that we can,” Mercer explained. “Fair matches of skill between the teams provide the greatest chance for you to have fun in Overwatch.”
Of course, finding a way to correct the SR system, give players a fresh start and yet not make all the hard work they put in over the course of season 1 and 2 null and void is a difficult task.
Fortunately, it seems like a solution has already been ironed out.
Players will see their SR slightly reduced at the start of the new season.
While this could change your tier for the new season, you will be able to quickly climb back up in the ranks if your SR truly rests at a platinum tier instead of a gold.
It will be the exact opposite of what most players experienced in season 2. Ratings under the new system are expected to start low and shoot higher as opposed to starting players off with higher ratings and watching them dwindle over time.
Another big change for the competitive season is the reduced wait time between the seasons.
Rather than waiting two weeks, Mercer revealed that players will only have one week to prepare for the next season.
An in-game countdown will be provided to help players remember this change and anticipate starting the new season on December 1.