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Using Data-Driven Analysis to Understand Competitive Overwatch

August 29, 2017

Overwatch Competitive Season 6 Guide


With Overwatch competitive Season 5 complete and in the books, Season 6 starts very soon with some pretty big changes.  The Overwatch team has detailed a number of the changes, which include basic changes to the season organization, changes to skill rating (SR), and hero changes coming from the PTR test server.  This page compiles all the changes that every competitive Overwatch player will want to know.  Read below for the scoop on what all is changing.

(Note: this page will be kept up to date as we learn more)

Resources:
Developer Update with Jeff Kaplan
Blue Post on Overwatch Forums
PTR Patch 1.14 Hero Changes
PTR Patch 1.15 Hero Changes

Overview of Biggest Season 6 changes
- Start and length of Season 6 -
Season 6 starts Thursday August 31st at 8pm EST / 5pm PDT USA time and will be two months long (changed from 3 months for prior seasons).  Overhead head Jeff Kaplan stated that he hopes the change to shorter seasons help keep players more engaged and matches more competitive.  With the change to two months seasons, end-of-season competitive point (CP) rewards are also being reduced, while CP per win is increased to 15CP from 10CP (ties are now 5CP).

- Season 6 Placement Games -
In season 4 and Season 5, a player's SR after completing placements was generally lower than the end of the prior season (by 200-300SR).  The player was then given a boost of SR gain for the early games of the season simulate a "ladder climb" to get them back to their correct SR.  In season 6, the prior system has been removed and players will be immediately placed where their skill rating should be.

- Control Map Matches shortened -
Control maps (aka King of the Hill) will now be best of 3, instead of best of 5 as in prior seasons.  In prior seasons, 5-round Control matches were far too common, leading to long matches compared with other map types.

Skill Rating and Match Making Changes
- Falling out of Skill Tiers -
In prior seasons, players could "fall out" of Master, Grandmaster, and Top500 tiers if their SR fell below the threshold - losing their tier icons in the process.  In Season 6, players in Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond can also fall out of their tiers and lose their tier icon.  Falling out of the tier doesn't happen immediately, but instead a player is given a 5 game "grace period" when they fall below the tier threshold to climb back. 

- Skill Rating Decay Changes -
In prior seasons Diamond, Master and Grandmaster players had to play at least 7 games per week to avoid having a 50SR per day skill rating decay.  In season 6, the decay policy still only applies to Diamond/Master/Grandmaster.  The big change is that the play requirement has been reduced to 5 games per week, with a 25SR per day penalty. 

- Performance-based SR -
The Overwatch team has changed the performance-based SR system and fixed many of the issues with giving more SR to heroes with low winrates.

- Matchmaking for High-Skill Players -
Blizzard has continued to improved competitive play match making, and have increased the wait times for players in Master an Grandmaster to increase the likelyhood that matches are more competitive.

Hero changes coming
We know of two big patches that are coming - Patch 1.14 and Patch 1.15.  Both patches have major changes and reworks to popular heroes in the game right now.  Patch 1.14 is expected to hit at the beginning of Season 6, with Patch 1.15 to come several weeks later (roughly halfway through Season 6).

Doomfist (Patch 1.14):  Rocket punch hitbox has been reduced (bug fix).

Junkrat (Patch 1.14):  Can store and use two concussion mines, Riptire speed greatly increased.

Orisa (Patch 1.14):  Increased weapon projectile speed and larger barrier shield.

Roadhog (Patch 1.14):  50% damage reduction while healing; can move while healing.

Widowmaker (Patch 1.14):  Grapple hook cooldown reduced from 12 seconds to 8 seconds, Victims poisoned by Venom Mine visible through walls.

D.Va (Patch 1.15):  Defense Matrix uptime cut in half, fly while firing primary weapons, new Micro Missiles ability.

Mercy (Patch 1.15):  Resurrect now single target ability on 30-second cooldown,  new ultimate Valkyrie.