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Overwatch 2 is trying to help you climb out of Bronze

An Overwatch 2 update on the competitive scene reveals that Blizzard has ended up with more players in Bronze than it would like, but also has more top rankers.

If your Overwatch 2 competitive career feels like it’s stuck in a bit of a Bronze rut, you may not be completely at fault. Blizzard says that changes it made to how Overwatch 2 rankings work has led to more players in the lower tiers of its multiplayer game than intended, although it’s also seen more than ever rise to the upper echelons of Overwatch 2 competitive.

Blizzard says in its latest blog that three major factors are the most important when determining adjustments to your MMR (matchmaking rating, an internal record of where the game thinks you should be). These are: your skill rating compared to that of your opponents’; how long you’ve been playing Overwatch; and how frequently you play the competitive mode you’re currently queuing for.

Ideally, the average MMR of both teams should be as close as possible, but the realities of matchmaking combined with a desire to keep queue times down means this range sometimes gets stretched – something the team has played around with a lot since the launch of Overwatch 2. New players obviously have less data on their abilities, which is why they’ll see their rating and rank division change more dramatically than experienced veterans.

The third of the factors is the one Blizzard brings up in particular, because Overwatch 2 will lower your MMR if you’re inactive, although it’ll also ramp up the uncertainty rating to give you a chance to more rapidly return to your previous rank if you come back and perform at similar skill levels to before. However, this also means if you’re quite rusty upon your return you’ll actually lose MMR at a more rapid rate than normal.

Overwatch 2 competitive ranks - a graph showing player distribution across competitive ranks on PC.

Blizzard says, “Going into season five, we’ve been seeing that there are more players in Grandmaster than in the past.” In part, it says, this is because the switch to free-to-play means “more players coming in to play competitive than ever before, and this is shifting the distribution of ranks.”

However, it’s also causing a similar problem at the other end of the spectrum, and “more players have ended up in Bronze 5 than we want,” which Blizzard says is “mostly an unintended side effect of adding MMR decay for inactive players.” As a result, the spectrum of skill within both Bronze and GM players is “very wide, and we want to make sure that skill is well-represented.”

As a result, Blizzard has “started making incremental adjustments in season five to enable more players to climb out of Bronze 5,” although it wants to ensure this is done “in a way that doesn’t upset the distribution of the curve.” Also coming is a new Overwatch 2 team queue, which will give you the option to queue exclusively with and against full-stack teams, regardless of the individual skill of each player.

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These improvements aren’t purely algorithmic, however. Hero Mastery missions are coming as part of the big season six overhaul that also introduces the new Overwatch 2 Flashpoint game mode. These should function as a great way to help teach players how to best use each hero’s toolkit, a very handy feature that Overwatch has always lacked. If you’re looking to climb the ranks, then, you’re in luck – now the rest is up to you.

It was also recently announced that subscribers to Microsoft’s PC Game Pass will get access to the Overwatch 2 new hero pass, giving you access to Kiriko, Junker Queen, Sojourn, Ramattra, and Lifeweaver, along with the sixth newcomer when they arrive.

Our Overwatch 2 tier list is a great place to start if you’re deciding who to pick up next, although remember that the best character for most players will be the one you’re most comfortable with. You’ll also want to check you’re using the best Overwatch 2 settings in 2023 to get the best performance possible.