Overwatch players will see a change in how skill rating works in the next competitive season.
When season eight begins in January, Blizzard will implement matchmaking changes “to increase match quality,” the developer said in an Overwatch forum post. To create more fair matches in Overwatch, Blizzard is starting with the way teammates are matched up.
“The first change is limiting the maximum skill rating difference between the highest SR player on a team and the lowest SR player on the same team,” Overwatch principal designer Scott Mercer wrote. “This will especially help players at both the lower and higher limits of SR, where there are typically fewer players available.”
Basically, players should see less of a gap between teammate skill ratings in Overwatch matches. Players will still be able to queue up in a group with players according to Overwatch’s current tiered skill rating limits: You must be within 1,000 SR to play in a group from bronze to diamond, 500 SR for masters, and 250 for grandmaster. But overall, players will be matched more closely with those with a similar skill rating.
Mercer said the change will be implemented on Jan. 2 after Blizzard’s holiday break.
The next change only affects players ranked in diamond or above. Starting in season eight, Blizzard will remove personal performance skill rating adjustments for higher skilled players.
The skill rating system either gives or takes away skill rating depending on a win or loss; for players who performed well in a match, the amount awarded or lost is increased or decreased, respectively. Blizzard’s found the system does have positive effects on Overwatch, but not always in very high-level games—so they’re removing it.
“Especially at the higher levels of online competition where every point of SR matters, we want players to not be distracted and worry about how to optimize around the personal performance adjustment,” Mercer said. “They should just be trying to win. So after we get back from the holidays on Jan. 2 we’re going to turn off the personal performance SR adjustments for players in the diamond skill tier and above.”
The personal performance SR system has been controversial in the past, as Blizzard has not been transparent on how the adjustments are calculated for players.
“We look forward to everyone playing matches and giving us feedback about these changes in season eight,” Mercer added.