Blizzard Tweaks Competitive Matchmaker, Releases Small Balance Patch

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In two Overwatch forum posts posted yesterday, Blizzard announced changes to the current patch as well as changes to Competitive Mode’s matchmaker.

The balance patch reduced the effectiveness of Bastion and Zarya,  and changed the maximum percentage of damage reduction a hero can be buffed with. The changes to Bastion focused on the hero’s new Ironclad ability, which was introduced when Bastion was reworked last patch. Bastion now takes an increased 15% damage in his Configuration: Sentry or Tank forms. Community manager Josh Engen argued that “Bastion felt a little too difficult to deal with. This reduction maintains his survivability while he’s transformed, but he shouldn’t feel so overbearing to enemies.”

Blizzard’s change to the damage reduction mechanic might have been as a response to the incoming Orisa, whose Fortify ability reduces damage and her long range makes her an optimal target for Ana’s Nano Boost ultimate. The final change was a minor rework of Zarya’s shield ability,” reverting an attempted bug fix from a previous patch.”

In a blog post, following up on the release of Competitive Mode Season 4, Principal Designer Scott Mercer, wrote about Season 3, the new rating decay mechanic and some changes to the Competitive match finder. Mercer explained that less than 8% of the player base achieved a rating of above 3000, and that Blizzard’s rating skill decay was developed to affect about 10% of Competitive Play’s player base, making the decision to cap rating decay at 3000 rating or more. Mercer also explained that the decay does not affect the game’s internal MMR, meaning “[w]hen you do come back and actively play matches, you’ll also typically gain more SR from a win until your displayed skill rating and internal matchmaking rating have again reached ‘equilibrium.’”

Finally Mercer announced that the Overwatch match finder for Competitive Play was being reworked in favor of finding fair matches, as opposed to finding matches faster. Mercer announced that the new “matchmaker will no longer create a match above a certain win percentage threshold.” This change will affect players on the far edges of the rating spectrum, and because of this Mercer suggested that players who would be affected should “try to play during prime hours for your region.”

When the changes to the matchmaker are implemented, the win percentage threshold will “not be very aggressive” so that the Devs may “adjust [it] dynamically if needed.” Blizzard is currently working on a UI change to announce when a player may experience a long queue time when searching for a competitive game.

Content Writer - Overwatch
I am a longtime gamer, first playing Magic: The Gathering, then World of Warcraft, Team Fortress 2, Dota 2 and now Overwatch.

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