Following news of changes to Overwatch’s role and queue system, it looks like Skill Rating in Blizzard’s multiplayer FPS is about to see a big change. In a stream with a former Overwatch pro player, the game’s director Jeff Kaplan revealed that the studio will be removing one key feature from Skill Rating that could mean a big shake up for game’s rankings going forward – SR decay.
As reported by Dexerto, Kaplan sat down with Brandon “Seagull” Larned for a chat streamed on Twitch and talked about some new changes coming to the game. In it, Kaplan said “This is a big announcement for players like you. There is no more SR decay. We’re just getting rid of it for right now.” Larned seemed evidently surprised, likely reflecting the surprise a lot of players will probably be feeling about the change.
It looks like the Overwatch devs have already considered how this could impact the game’s rankings. Kaplan goes on to say “Now, it creates some problems not having that, and you’re going to have some top five hundred leaderboard issues with that, and we know that ahead of time. You know, you’re going to play 25 matches, you’ll have a really good streak, you’ll be high up, and then you can just not play again, and you’ll stay stuck on that leaderboard. But, for now, we’re removing SR decay”.
In talking briefly about possible reasons tied into this change, Kaplan said that the studio understands it “causes a lot of fatigue and stress” for players, and creates situations where top players (“Masters and Grand Master players”) decay down to Diamond level.
Kaplan also addresses any concerns players might have about how the change could potentially impact matchmaking. He says “To us at Blizzard, SR is never used for matchmaking. We never even look at it, it’s just this number that only gets displayed to players.”
Though it won’t appear to have a big effect on matchmaking, the removal of SR decay is sure to mix things up a bit in the game for players. Whether Blizzard will decide to make the change permanent, rather than just “for right now”, we’ll have to wait and see.