Overwatch Season 8 Is Here With Big Changes & New Dev Update Discusses Content for 2018

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Happy New… Overwatch season to you! Season 8 has officially kicked off, giving competitive players the chance to improve on previous efforts.

Season 8 comes with some significant changes, as Blizzard attempts to “increase match quality.” Scroll down for everything you need to know!

Limiting the Skill Rating variance for Teams

The first change is limiting the maximum Skill Rating (SR) difference between the highest SR player on a team and the lowest SR player on the same team. This will especially help players at both the lower and higher limits of SR, where there are typically fewer players available. If a player has an SR of 4500, there are not that many other players who have a similarly high SR. The matchmaker has previously assigned players who are of a much lower SR to the same team as 4500 SR player, and hasn’t always created the best match experience possible.

Removing Personal Performance Skill Rating Adjustments for Diamond tier players and above

When you win a competitive match of Overwatch, you gain Skill Rating, and when you lose a match you also lose Skill Rating. The amount that you gain or lose is calculated based on many different factors, and here’s a quick list of some of the most important ones:

– If you have a higher than 50% chance to win a match, you gain less for a win and lose more for a defeat. Conversely, if you were an underdog in a match than you gain more SR when you win and lose less SR when defeated.

– New players experience both higher gains and higher losses than players who have completed a lot of matches.

– You gain less SR for a win than you lose for a defeat as you more closely approach the system’s mathematical upper limit 5000 SR. (So at very high SRs you do need a greater than 50% win rate to keep your SR stable.)

There is also another factor in determining the SR change after completing a match, and that’s a measurement of how well you personally performed during the match. If you perform well than you gain more SR when you win, and lose less SR when defeated. The reverse is also true, so if you perform very poorly you gain less SR for a win and lose additional SR when defeated. The personal performance adjustments have been controversial amongst the community for quite some time, especially since the calculations for these adjustments are not at all transparent.

The adjustment does create a lot of positive system wide effects including rewarding players who make the effort to play well, punishing inactive players, and more quickly providing fairer matches for new players or those who decide to play a new hero or role. So we spent quite a lot of time examining data over multiple seasons, checking a lot of math, reading a LOT of community feedback, and then doing some deep soul searching about this. Especially at the higher levels of online competition where every point of SR matters, we want players to not be distracted and worry about how to optimize around the personal performance adjustment. They should just be trying to WIN. So after we get back from the holidays on January 2nd we’re going to turn off the personal performance SR adjustments for players in the Diamond skill tier and above.

If you only recently picked up the game, note that you’ll need to be at least level 25 in order to compete. So get grinding, find out who your strongest characters are, and then battle to become the best!

In addition to this, Jeff Kaplan has appeared in a new developer update, in which he discusses what Blizzard has achieved over the last year, and what’s coming to the game in 2018.

Are you looking forward to another year of Overwatch? Let us know.

In other Overwatch news, Blizzard trolled the community  with a 10-hour livestream, and a fan made an incredible map which you have to check out.