Mar 3 2017 - 3:55 pm

Blizzard defends Overwatch competitive season four changes

The developer also detailed more matchmaking tweaks.
Overwatch Staff Reporter
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Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Is seven games a week too many to keep your Overwatch competitive skill rating from decaying? The Overwatch community is split, but Blizzard is standing by its decision.

One game a week in Overwatch's competitive ladder—as it was in season three—just wasn't enough data to make a player's current SR accurate or meaningful, Blizzard said. Requiring seven games per week, spread across the week or played during one long session, is an attempt at fixing that.

For many players, however, it feels like too much, especially for those sitting right around 3,000—where the decay starts. But the truth is, less players than the community thinks will actually be affected by these changes. According to Blizzard, only eight percent of the Overwatch population was above 3,000 SR during season three "at any one time." Ten percent of players were able to hit 3,000 SR as their maximum ranking. With three percent of players hitting masters and less than one percent of players reaching grandmaster as their maximum SR, the majority of Overwatch players won't be affected by SR decay.

Decay only affects the current displayed SR, not the number Blizzard keeps internally and uses for matchmaking. Placement in matches, then, won't really be affected.

"When you do come back and actively play matches, you'll also typically gain more SR from a win until your displayed skill rating and internal matchmaking rating have again reached 'equilibrium,'" Overwatch principal designer Scott Mercer said in the game's forum.

Mercer also revealed other matchmaking change that will soon be implemented in Overwatch. The game's matchmaking system will no longer create matches above a certain win percentage. The system typically is "really good" about doing this, but compromises are sometimes made at very high and very low SRs, especially in lower population regions and at off-peak times. Add in players in a five or six stack, and it gets even more tricky.

For those folks, Blizzard isn't going to compromise as much, meaning there might be longer queue times for some Overwatch players—but a very small sector. "To find fair matches quickly, try to play during prime hours for your region," Mercer said. "It also easier to match you if you’re solo or in a smaller group."

This feature will be turned on very soon, Blizzard said, but didn't specify an exact time. And it's all part of Blizzard's continued work on improving the Overwatch matchmaking system.

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