Blizzard has just updated Overwatch and it’s a doozy, bringing a couple of massive shifts that will greatly affect how the competitive matchmaking will now work, along with the expected smattering of shifts for heroes having their unique abilities slightly nerfed or buffed.
What has everyone talking right now, however, is two primary aspects that this update is bringing to how matchmaking and competitive ranking will actually work.
First, Open Queue is back in Competitive Matchmaking, meaning that the Role Queue that came about as Blizzard struggled to balance their heroes in Overwatch eventually turned into, for many players, long queue times and a surprising revelation (for Blizzard) that everyone wants to play DPS characters.
There are concerns: this will split the remaining player base between Open Queue (where there is no limit to the number of specific heroes can be picked) and Role Queue, where only two of each class can exist on a team, and those roles need to be queued for.
Ostensibly, one of the two modes will be balanced for (likely Role Queue, as it’s the format that Overwatch League uses exclusively), and the other Queue will be left twisting in the wind which could make for some interesting matchups. Both Open Queue and Role Queue will have their own unique SRs, so you can’t bank on taking advantage of skewed traits in Open, and transfer over to Role.
OVERWATCH LIVE HERO PATCH NOTES – JUNE 30, 2020
⬆️BUFF: https://t.co/79G7JkFN62, Junkrat
⬇️NERF: Ashe, Brigitte
And beginning with Season 23, the maximum SR a player can attain when completing placements is 3900. pic.twitter.com/XrQk5K5PzR
— Naeri X 나에리 (@OverwatchNaeri) June 30, 2020
The second change will affect high-ranking players, and make GM placement far more impactful and meaningful than it has been in the past.
There is now a skill cap that caps players at 3900 SR after completing their placement matches, regardless of how well they fare. They can place lower if they stumble during the ever-vital placement matches, but they can not place beyond 3900 SR.
This means that, upon completing the placement matches, it will be a scramble for players to reach beyond Masters rank; players will need to compete to be placed in top 500, instead of what has become the standard of playing five placement matches and not playing for the rest of the season.
Blizzard notes that this new mechanic is aimed at curtailing the issue that SR Decay attempted to, although by rewarding players that are actively playing matches instead of punishing players that aren’t playing often enough.
This promises to be an interesting patch as Overwatch begins Season 23 of competitive play; streamers and professionals alike will need to beat the rest of the player base for bragging rights that the GM rank should offer. If Overwatch can weather the splitting of competitive queues, it might be one of the smartest changes to Competitive game modes yet.