Overwatch 2 Promises Matchmaking + Comp Changes (and More!)
Overwatch 2 (OW2) has been out since October 2022, and within the four months of the game being F2P, the team has been hammered with negatives and an influx of new players that have changed the game. The Overwatch 2 team has accordingly changed gears and is hard at work with frequent patches and larger updates intended to make good with players old and new. Are you curious about what's on the horizon for the Blizzard hero shooter and don't have time to sift through the recent Overwatch Blog updates? Say less. I've provided the basic summary of four news updates into one handy docket. Here are the changes that are coming to Overwatch 2 in Season 3 and Season 4.
Heroes and Gameplay
Heroes are always being modified for performance, with buffs and nerfs that devastate and delight. The more recent nerfs to Sojourn and Roadhog to remove their one-shot kill capabilities (weakening their Concussive Shot and Hook abilities, respectively) was a sign of changes on the horizon, and the team has addressed that more changes will be coming to fix "one-shots and frustrating hero mechanics." Another major change will reduce the Ult refund, which will start at 25% when swapping heroes. (It was seemingly suggested that Ult costs and charges are being examined per Hero, but what that looks like in actual gameplay is yet to be seen.)
Ramattra was a major topic of interest, considering his debut this season and the wildly mixed reception he received. In short, his Ult is getting a much-needed update, which should kick off in Season 3. "We’ll be changing the timer on Annihilation [Rammatra's Ult] so that it will tick down slower if enemies are in it (previously paused the timer entirely) and adding a cap of 20 seconds. That should eliminate many of the extreme uses and enable more counterplay while keeping Annihilation a strong and impactful ability."
The team is also working on more quality-of-life updates that "celebrate players" across matches and new seasons. It sounds like they're exploring revamping the "on fire" system (I don't know why they ever removed it, honestly) and are looking into a hero-based progression system to "showcase the energy players put into playing each hero and mastering their different capabilities."
Matchmaking, Ranking, and Comp
This is a doozy to go through, as there were two blog updates dedicated to detailing the MMR and how matching in Competitive works. Comp has always been tricky, and as Aaron Keller (Overwatch 2 Game Director) put it: "The new Ranked mode suffered from poor comprehension." Many of the changes on the horizon are designed to clarify performance and skill ranking and generally make the matches more rewarding and fun.
TL/DR (From the second matchmaking blog)
- Your ranked games are formed based on your internal matchmaking rating (MMR), regardless of your displayed skill tier. MMR changes based on the result of each match, with the amount of MMR you gain or lose depending on several factors like how highly rated your opponents were or how recently you last played.
- Our team is aware of some community pain points with competitive and matchmaking. We have a set of improvements coming to matchmaking, and we’re also working on updates to the competitive system.
- For competitive play in Season 3, we’ll reduce the number of wins between competitive updates from 7 to 5 wins or 20 to 15 losses. For our matchmaker, we’re implementing role delta changes that will match similarly ranked players within each role.
- Season 4 will include additional information about your current wins and losses on the competitive update screens. Our team has begun work on longer-term features and updates for both the matchmaker and competitive game mode, and we look forward to sharing more on those plans in the future!
Going further in-depth with how role matching will work, the updates stated: "We’ll try to find pairs of similarly rated players in each role when making a match. For support and damage roles, which have two slots, each player will be paired with one player on the opposite team." An example given was that while teams overall could be balanced, the actual players role-to-role could be wildly unbalanced, with one tank being far more skilled than the enemy tank at the cost of having far better support on the other team. The matchmaking that analyzed team rank as a whole often led to one-sided matches or poor team composition, so hopefully, the change to role matching will address this and make games much tighter. (From my understanding, the examples used in the update blogs specifically addressed role queue comp and not open queue for competitive or unranked.)
Another major issue in Overwatch 2 is matching premade groups together with a wide skew of skill ranges, based on their current MMR system. Fixes are in place to address this and to attempt to pair similarly made premade teams together, more often. The team acknowledges that rank decay can artificially show a lower skill ranking than reality, and starting in Season 4, OW2 is planning to remove seasonal competitive rank resets and all current and past seasonal rank decay. The team is wanting to focus on more competitive updates in general (as they were infrequent at best at the tail-end of Overwatch's days), but what those updates entail has yet to unfold. Another major fix in the works helps out newbies, and new players will have specialized matchmaking to help address the severe loss ratio they've been experiencing since launch.
Sadly, neither matchmaking post seems to acknowledge the lack of support players affecting Comp matchups because, well, (for lack of better wording) playing support sucks in OW2. While some support characters like Ana and Moira have recently gotten buffs, they aren't enough to negate the many negatives surrounding support play, particularly for solo players. Many have also wanted to know what the metrics for rank evaluation look like, especially when examining the differences between all three classes. It wouldn't be fair, and it wouldn't make sense, to evaluate a Tank and a Support in the same way-- so how are they evaluated? We don't exactly know, but it looks like changes in Seasons 3 and 4 will help address some of these questions by making individual win/loss and performance information more visible to the player. (Hopefully, there are plans to incentivize support play to address the shortage.)
I highly recommend that folks wanting a deeper explanation go to the hyperlinked matchmaking blogs (scroll down to find them), as they have 1) visuals to show MMR and 2) an extensive FAQ section that answers more nitty-gritty asks. There were a lot of granular, technical details I omitted from the write-up in part because many of the proposed changes were left more open-ended and vague.
The basic summation I gathered is that Blizzard wants to focus on adding more new (and more interesting) rewards to the Seasonal Events and make some of them easier to achieve. Battle of Olympus, a game mode new to Overwatch 2, had a rocky (and bugged as hell) debut, followed by the more lackluster prizing of the following legacy events Wintry Wonderland and Lunar New Year. "In Season 3, one of our new events will offer players an all-new legendary skin. And starting in Season 4, our goal is to offer new items as rewards for most of our big events."
Currency, Skins, and Battlepass Rewards
Blizzard came under heavy fire for the way it priced items out in its shop, and it looks like the team is majorly revising that system not even six months after launching Overwatch 2.
Blizzard is bringing back Overwatch Credits (the original coin currency) and pricing (nearly) all their OW1 epic and legendary skins to 1500 Coins or less, with no time gate on grabbing seasonal items. (One could grab a Halloween-themed skin from OW1 in July, for example, instead of having to wait a few months longer.) It also looks like Blizzard is exploring more reward options for players to purchase with Credits. "Taken together, these changes mean all players can earn a legendary skin of their choice each season from the Hero Gallery skins just for playing normally and without needing to make any purchases."
Overwatch 2 News Blogs
If you want to read directly from the source, here are the latest updates:
- DEVELOPER UPDATE FROM AARON KELLER
- SEASON 2 RETROSPECTIVE: A LOOK BACK AND THE ROAD FORWARD
- OVERWATCH 2 DEVELOPER BLOG: MATCHMAKER AND COMPETITIVE DEEP DIVE, PART 1
- OVERWATCH 2 DEVELOPER BLOG: EXPLAINING MATCHMAKER GOALS AND PLANS, PART 2
Are you keeping up with Overwatch 2? Do you think these changes will make the community happy? Let me know your thoughts below!