Overwatch’s highly anticipated fourth competitive season came to life yesterday and with it a few surprising changes to how the game mode will work. In the interest of simplicity, we’ll try to break it down for you. But first, a revamp on how Overwatch competitive ranking works.
Players play ten placement matches to determine their starting SR for the season. After determining their initial SR, they can gain or lose SR depending on how well they do in matches. SR is a point-based measuring system for determining a player’s rank. From highest to lowest, with the ranks are Bronze (1-1499 SR), Silver (1500-1999 SR), Gold (2000-2499 SR), Platinum (2500-2999 SR), Diamond (3000-3499 SR), Master (3500-3999 SR), Grandmaster (4000+ SR) and Top 500, which is only attainable if you are ranked in the Top 500 of your region.
- The smallest one that’s been made is that players with SR under 500 will no longer have their rank displayed. This doesn’t affect much, except perhaps letting teammates know that they’re working with someone that may not be that good at the game.
- As a bit of a bigger deal, we have rank decay. Players with 3000+ SR must play seven matches a week in order to avoid an automated decrease in their rating. These matches can be done all in one day, several per day or simply once a day, but all seven must be completed by the end of the week. However, as previously mentioned this only applies to players in Diamond or above rank, so if you’re a casual player or just starting out, you shouldn’t worry about it too much.
- Quite possibly the biggest change in this season is in respawn time. When the attackers outnumber the defenders on a contested control point, defenders will get an increased respawn time (up to a max value) until the attackers capture the point or the defenders regain control. This will be a great help balancing things, especially on the second of two-point captures, which are usually right next to the defending team’s spawn room (Hanamura, Anubis, and Volskaya, I’m looking at you). This longer respawns time will allow attackers to gather their resources without being shot down by the defending team as soon as they respawn.
It remains to be seen how the player base will react to these changes. I for one am excited to see the new respawn times in action, and see if that’s the factor that can tip the scales in my matches this season.