Overwatch’s Season 2 update brings some much needed changes

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After the past two months, players have been grinding blood, sweat, and tears into the first ever competitive season of Overwatch. If you’ve seen the tab, but been too scared to click it, competitive Overwatch places you in a somewhat more structured game with a different ruleset as opposed to Quick Play. Season 1 has been okay considering the ranked system is a numerical number from 1-100 with 60 and above representing the top 6% of players in the world. The Sudden Death coin-flip was also a terrible addition to Overwatch, which meant that if a round was tied (on maps other than King of The Hill) your fate would be decided on a coin flip either having you attack the first point, or defend, with 1:30 on the clock. Needless to say, season one was enjoyable, but it’s all changing, according to Jeff Kaplan’s developer update.

The most impressive feature in the above video is that Jeff Kaplan does these updates flawlessly in one take. However, if you don’t have the time to sit and watch (although I recommend you do) allow me to point out and explain some key features. On the official post on Reddit, user EroticDuckButter offered a nice point summary of the updates.

New Skill Rating System:

  • Ranging from 1-5000 which gets rid of the fractional increments
  • If you win or lose, you’ll be going up/down whole numbers.
  • For “Top 500 Players” there will be a requirement of having played at least 50 matches

The numerical system from 1-100 was an odd feature. As Jeff Kaplan explains, being within the top 6% would mean you’ve only received a B- in performance throughout your competitive season. There was also no clear indication (value) of how much you lost after a game, or won, and why it was that value. It’s clear that certain roles received less or more depending on a win or a loss, which was always an awkward experience once the ranking screen popped up. If you’re placed in the top tier of players and don’t play for a certain period of time, your rank will decay.

“If you’re within Diamond, Master and Grand Master your level will decrease by 50 every 24 hours if you don’t play Competitive for a week.”

Introducing Skill Rating Tiers:

  • Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master and Grand Master
  • Gold (Level 2000-2499)
  • For all tiers besides Master and Grand Master, you won’t be allowed to drop lower for the season. So if you reach Gold you won’t ever drop down to Silver even if you drop below the initial requirement for that tier
  • Season rewards will be based on what tier you reach

ranks
The current Starcraft II Ranking System

This is moving towards the more conventional Blizzard style ranking system, the same used in Starcraft and Heroes of the Storm. I personally like this ranking system as it gives a clear indication of skill, and not some value. The skill gap between players will be determined by points, meaning if you’re rank 2000, you will play with players ranging from 1500-2500.

Sudden death is going away completely:

  • Control Maps: There is no sudden death. Games still play best out of 5
  • Assault Maps: Will still play like the Season 1 time bank system
  • Changes to Assault: Bonus 30 seconds after the first initial cap. This is so that the game doesn’t instantly end if the attacking team captures the first point in overtime.
  • Changes to Payload and Hybrid Payload maps: There will be no Sudden Death. Instead, teams will play on a time bank system similar to Assault. If your team finishes the map with time to spare, you’ll later get a second round on Attack to see how far you can push the payload the second time.
  • Originally when you captured a point with 30 seconds left, it would bump up your timer to 2 minutes. That will be decreased to 1 minute.
  • There will be ties but it will be very rare
  • Ties only apply if: Both teams don’t push the payload at all & If both teams don’t cap Point A
  • If a tie happens, both teams will receive CP but it won’t be as much as a win

This is the best update in my opinion. Sudden Death was an absolute nightmare, especially since any competent team on attack should take the first point within in the first minute. This is a result of the current meta where the first point is only really used to charge up your ultimates and securing a longer hold on the second phase. This essentially meant that if you got defense on certain maps you were almost doomed to lose. I understood the logic, but really, one mistake and you lose (which is okay if you think about it)

.Sudden Death BabyRage

The new system is good, I think, but still would have preferred the stopwatch method which is applied to almost every major competitive, meaning you just have to win faster than your opponents. This is a better method, and actually one I can see some tournaments adopting, but for now, thank the Pope we no longer have Sudden Death.

Those are the three important major updates coming to Season 2, and it’s refreshing to see that Blizzard are actively trying to better the competitive experience for everyone. Next I hope they will learn to balance heroes properly, but one can only dream of that day. Season 1 was okay, for most, so let us know what rank you got this season?

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Last Updated: August 16, 2016

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Kyle Wolmarans

Critical Hit's esports guy. I talk about esports and drink whiskey. I also write and cast for elsewhere - but my work here is independent of that.

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