Overwatch's fourth season features respawn and skill rating changes
Overwatch's fourth season of competitive play is now live after season three ended on Feb. 21, and Blizzard has plenty of changes in store.
There are three overall areas of change that Blizzard focused on heading into season four: rating decay, top 500 adjustments, and respawn changes. These alterations were considered in order to make high tier scores more meaningful.
"This season, players with a skill rating above 3000 will need to complete at least seven games per week—a change that will improve the accuracy of the player’s skill rating, make maintaining multiple high-level accounts more difficult, and make upper-tier placement more meaningful... That means as long as you manage to play seven games over a one-week period, your skill rating will be safe," Blizzard said. "You could play one match per day or complete all seven in a single session. It’s up to you."
These changes have been made for a multitude of players, to try to stop people from deliberately throwing matches during placements to force other players down to lower tiers. "So we're making it a little more difficult to hit the lowest and highest possible ratings: 0 and 5000," Blizzard added.
"Previously, any player who managed to break into the top 500 at any point throughout the season would receive a special spray and player icon at the end of the season," Blizzard said. "This meant that many players no longer had an incentive to maintain their status as the season progressed, which could result in less competitive matches toward the end of the season. Starting today, these rewards will only be granted if the player is in the top 500 leaderboards at the end of the season. This will make the end-of-season leaderboard rankings much more competitive as players fight to reach the top 500."
This change makes the top end of the spectrum much more competitively viable. We could see more changes implemented in the future to reward players in a similar fashion to League of Legends, though, the changes are still welcome news to keep players invested in being the best they can be.
"This season, we’ve implemented a respawn time delay that’s activated when the attackers outnumber the defenders on a contested point," Blizzard said. "If the point hasn’t been captured and the defence hasn’t regained the advantage after a specified time, the defender respawns timer will slowly begin to increase until it hits a maximum value. If the defence manages to gain the upper hand, the timer resets to zero."
Ties between defenders and attackers have been the bane of the game for some time now, and this effort to resolve a fight is encouraging, forcing defenders to protect the point instead of stalling for time at the very end. But, this solution isn't final and will most likely be a topic that is revisited once again come season five and beyond.
For more information, check out the official announcement for season four here.
Adam Newell is a journalist for @GAMURScom and can be contacted in ways displayed below. If you have any tips or want anything covered, be sure to let us know:
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