Overwatch is already heading into its second season of competitive gaming. Blizzard has kept to their promise of making the e-sports seasons a couple of months long with a break in between. Now that the new season is kicking into high gear, they revealed some details on what's new for Overwatch in season 2.
The news was posted up over on the official Overwatch website where they explain that the skill rating system has been completely retooled. Now, player skill ratings will go from 1 to 5000 instead of being graded on a scale of 1 through 100. If enough players stick with the competitive mode, I wonder if that 5000 will be increased to 10,000 at some point... and what would player's reactions be when they meet someone with a skill rating over 9000?
It may seem like a joke about the skill rating being high, but Blizzard is ensuring that that number means something significant within the world of Overwatch's competitive mode. How are they doing that? Well, they've added in skill rating decay. So the more absent you are from playing the game competitively, the more your skill rating drops. Every seven days of inactivity will result in a negative 50 point penalty. This encourages top-tier players to stay top-tier if they want to stay at the top, and it means that there's always going to be a competitive struggle from the lower tier to work hard and reach the top.
The skill rating decay will only affect players with a skill rating above 3000.
That means that only players of a Diamond status or higher will be affected. And this leads us into the next major change in Overwatch's competitive hierarchy: skill tiers. Blizzard has introduced tiers for players of different ratings, going from Bronze all the way up to Grandmaster. Various point ratings will determine what tier you fall into and what little icon you'll get by your name so everyone will know what skill rating you are.
So what do the tiers do? Well, think of them as matchmaking modifiers. Blizzard will have players in various tiers grouped up together during competitive play so that the playing field stays even. Players above a rating of 1000 can't group with players below 1000, where-as Masters and Grandmasters can't group up with players under a certain rating lest there will be issues with maintaining balanced matches.
Grouping helps keep various tiered players playing competitively amongst their skill groups, and also helps identify players for a new system in Overwatch called the "Top 500", which highlights the top 500 best performing players in the game.
Other changes in the season includes the removal of the sudden death feature and the implementation of the time bank system, along with an improved point system for unlocking golden weapons, and penalizing players who leave Overwatch matches during competitive play. There's now a 10-minute penalty for rage-quitters and team-leavers, ensuring that if you start a match... you better be prepared to finish it.
Overwatch's Season 2 is currently live for Xbox One, PS4 and PC gamers. You can join in on the fun if you already have a copy of the game.