Overwatch competitive play details revealed

Game director Jeff Kaplan gives an overview on the changes from the beta.


Competitve play in Overwatch was delayed until later this month, but Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan took this post-E3 lull to go into some details on what will be coming in the update at the end of this month, most of it based on feedback from the beta.

Kaplan said that season length has been changed to about 2.5 months, with a slight break between seasons. In the beta, seasons were about one month in length. Seasons will be based on regular seasons in the Northern Hemisphere, so the first one at launch will be Summer. 

Another problem was the format of assault mode. Too often game would go into sudden death overtime (from 35%-50% of the time) and Blizzard wanted to cut down on that, even though they like the overtime concept in general.Sudden death will also happen on the map you were playing on. They will also change the format in assault to make maps last longer. More format changes will be detailed soon, Kaplan said.

Feedback also prompted a change in progression and how players stack up against their opponents. Kaplan said they are getting rid of competitive progression tiers, adding that the old system felt like a grind and players wanted to know where their skill was compared to others. Now, there will be a matchmaking rating correlated to a new skill rating from 1-100. Matches will end skill rating will be shown compared to others. All skill ratings and averages will be seen before matches as well. Poor teams will gain more and lose less against good teams with a higher rating. You will also see whether a team is a pre-made or not. The downside is that a player's skill rating will drop on occasion, but Blizzard is going to monitor it to make sure it works as intended and will continue to monitor feedback closely.

Finally, Kaplan detailed the reward system. He emphasized that there would be no power rewards, so cosmetic awards will be added for competitive participation, such as sprays and new player icons available only by playing each season, but there will be a customized "golden gun" cosmetic system, such as Reinhardt's golden hammer that can be unlocked quickly by higher skilled players. More cosmetics planned that only the highest skilled players can get.

He promised more details as the competitive mode gets closer to launch, and said the team is still working on new characters and new maps as well.

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