Today Blizzard has kindly revealed what changes are coming to competitive Overwatch for Season 4, and there's plenty to take in for those of you considering being the best you can be online.
"Back in Season 2, we introduced a skill rating decay system, which required players in the Diamond, Master, and Grandmaster tiers to complete at least one competitive match every seven days in order to maintain their status," Blizzard said. "This season, players with a skill rating above 3000 will need to complete at least seven games per week—a change that will improve the accuracy of the player's skill rating, make maintaining multiple high-level accounts more difficult, and make upper-tier placement more meaningful."
This skill rating decay is pushed back by 24 hours after you complete a match, and so if you play seven games over a week, the skill rating will be secure. What this also means is that if you complete all seven in one session, that also keeps it safe for the week.
Blizzard also discussed the skill rating changes made last season, which they're happy with, but they also noticed some problems at either end of this system. "Some players, for instance, have been deliberately throwing matches in an effort to reach the lowest attainable skill rating," they explained. "We obviously don't want to incentivise this behavior—because Competitive Play works best when everybody is trying—so we're making it a little more difficult to hit the lowest and highest possible ratings: 0 and 5000. We're also no longer displaying skill rating values that are lower than 500. This change will have no effect for players who have a skill rating between 500 and 4500."
Changes are also happening to the Top 500 leaderboard, as previously players would receive a special spray and icon at the end of the season, meaning there was no reason to stay there throughout the season. Now, these will only be granted if they are in this ranking at the end of the season, in an attempt to encourage people to work to stay there till the end.
What's also being implemented is a respawn time delay, activated once the attackers outnumber defenders on a contested point, so if a point hasn't been captured and defence isn't gaining control back, the defender respawn time will slowly increase, but if they can get the upper hand again, it resets to zero. This is because "until now, stalling an attack by repeatedly throwing yourself at the point has been a common defensive strategy on Assault, Escort, and Assault/Escort maps—even when the attackers have a decisive advantage. Typically, this tactic doesn't change the outcome of battle; it simply delays the attackers' progress." Blizzard therefore hopes attackers can now group up and use tactics to retake an objective, rather than just throwing bodies in.
Are these changes the best for the competitive scene? What else could be changed?