Overwatch’s Competitive Mode will be more skill-based instead of tier-based

By Stephany Nunneley, Tuesday, 7 June 2016 16:34 GMT

During the closed beta for Overwatch, Blizzard was testing a ranked-only mode called Competitive Play. It was cut from the open beta so the team could revamp it. With the mode set for release later in the month, the team-based shooter’s game director has detailed what players can expect.

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Speaking with Eurogamer, Jeff Kaplan said while Blizzard was pleased with the system present in the closed beta, it was also “frustrating because it was unfinished.”

According to Kaplan, players were focusing on “just about what was there” and tended to ignore what was coming.

“We got enough sentiment from the competitive community that we realized we needed to make some changes,” he said. “The system that we had implemented was what we like to call ‘progression-based’.

“We thought there was a lot of coolness to doing this kind of system and that’s why we had the one month reset, because it feels good to go through the progression more than one time.

“What was not implemented, was what we called our ‘heroic rank’, where it would show a stack ranking of top players who hit that rank. There was a misunderstanding among our playerbase that everyone was going to get to heroic rank, which is not true, just like it’s not true that everybody will get to legendary in Hearthstone.”

Kaplan said since the perception of the system was “off” a new system was developed to be more skill-based. The previous system had different tiers with Challenger, Advanced, Expert, Master and Heroic and players couldn’t drop from a tier.

This meant once a player reached expert for example, they would never drop a tier. They would always remain in that tier no matter how many matches were lost. This meant everyone would end up in the same place at some point. Now, with the new system, if players lose or win, they will go down or up a tier, respectively.

Along with the new system, Kaplan reiterated that seasons will be longer, each lasting around two and a half months with a week or two off, and will match the real-world seasons.

“There’s obviously way more details than that, but we’re not fully ready to unveil the system as a whole, but I think those were the things that people were most concerned about,” he said.

Competitive Play in Overwatch is on track for release at the end of this month, and Blizzard said it will continue to monitor feedback on both the mode and the matchmaking system.

Overwatch was released on May 24 and attracted over 7 million players during launch week across PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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