Blizzard still investigating Overwatch’s “broken” support skill rating system

The problem isn't a "broad systemic issue," the developer said.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Some supports players are still noticing a skill rating issue when playing Overwatch’s competitive ladder, but Overwatch principal designer Scott Mercer said it’s not an overarching systemic issue.

In early April, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan posted to the game’s forum to confirm a bug had been fixed, but players kept reporting an issue. Mercer took to the forum this time to clear up some community misconception on the issue, noting that Blizzard is still investigating different scenarios.

When Blizzard added Orisa to Overwatch, it fixed a bug that was affecting the way assists were scored. “Players were getting full assist credit even if the player being assisted did very little to the target,” Mercer said. “This change, along with other more significant balance changes in the patch, meant that we needed to recalibrate the tuning for the system that calculate[s] a player’s contribution to the match.”

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This adjusted the system for all heroes, and has since been recalibrated yet again after the most recent Overwatch patch.

In turn, the adjustment impacted how often a player earns the “on fire” status during a match. A player’s “on fire” status, however, is not linked to the skill rating a player earns—”on fire” is a showing of a player’s individual performance, as well as relative to their teammates. Skill rating given after a match does not compare a player to their teammates; instead, it compares a player to similarly skilled players “across an enormous pool of competitive matches,” Mercer said.

“So, we compare your Genji play to the play of other Genjis, Ana versus Anas, etc.,” Mercer added. “Since we’re comparing ‘apples to apples,’ we shouldn’t see any kind of support specific bias in SR adjustments due to player performance.”

All this points to the issue not being a “broad systemic issue,” Mercer said. Instead, it could be a “more localized issue affecting a specific hero, or a certain type of play style or game situation.” Blizzard is conducting a full examination of the code that impacts skill rating adjustments.