In a post on the Overwatch Blog, Blizzard announced the beginning of Overwatch’s fourth season of Competitive Play. This season brings with it a number of changes to Competitive Play’s ladder system, and changes to some of the game’s mechanics.
The first change is a tweak to the game’s skill rating decay system, which was introduced in season two. The old system penalized players who were inactive for a span of a week; however, players could just play one game a week to maintain their ranking. The new system, which begins at skill rating 3000 instead of the the Diamond, Master, and Grandmaster tiers requires players to play seven matches a week; however, the change includes a new way to bank played games for the week, which means “…as long as you manage to play seven games over a one-week period, your skill rating will be safe.”
The next change involves tinkering with the high and low ends of the rating system, because players were “…deliberately throwing matches in an effort to reach the lowest attainable skill rating.” These changes were associated with the game’s matchmaking calibration system, which ranks players at the beginning of each season.
Season four also included a change to the top 500 ranking, having players receive the coveted season badge only if they achieved top 500 ranking at the end of the season. This is as opposed to any time within the season.
Finally, Blizzard tinkered with how respawning works during the defense of a point. The new mechanic is a “…respawn time delay that’s activated when the attackers outnumber the defenders on a contested point. If the point hasn’t been captured and the defense hasn’t regained the advantage after a specified time, the defender respawn timer will slowly begin to increase until it hits a maximum value. If the defense manages to gain the upper hand, the timer resets to zero.” This is designed to help mitigate point contentions that stall out when a team is losing, but is still able to return to the point and stall the game out.
Season four is live, so go out and play!