Overwatch will see some significant matchmaking changes for the next season of competitive play, starting in January. These changes will affect how Skill Rating is both calculated and applied, with the aim of making better matches for everyone.
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Principal designer Scott Mercer explained the changes on the Blizzard forums. There will now be a limit on the maximum SR difference between the highest and lowest ranked players on a team. This change is designed to help players at both the high and low ends of SR, where there are generally fewer players available. The tech for this change went live in November, with the team quietly testing how teaks were affecting match quality and queue times. The final values will be implemented in time for season eight.
“Note that the matchmaker will still allow you to group with other players according to the current SR limits at their skill tier,” adds Mercer, “which is 1000 SR for Bronze through Diamond, 500 SR for Master, and 250 for Grandmaster. We recently restricted the SR grouping limit at Grandmaster with this new Season 8 change in mind.”
The other big change has been in the works for some time. Personal performance adjustments of SR for players at Diamond tier and above will now be turned off, to help high-tier players focus more on winning than on their own SR adjustments, which Mercer admits are “not at all transparent.”
Mercer says “we spent quite a lot of time examining data over multiple seasons, checking a lot of math, reading a LOT of community feedback, and then doing some deep soul searching about this.” This will also be part of the season eight update in January.
There’s plenty of shaking up going on with Overwatch. Blizzard aim to be more transparent about when your reports result in bans, Winter Wonderland just went live, Blizzard World is in testing, Overwatch League is about to kick off for real, and we’re even seeing hints about the next hero. It’s an exciting time for Blizzard’s big shooter.