Towards the end of June, Overwatch received its first major update that introduced Competitive play. Competitive play significantly changed the direction of the first person shooter to cater to those who want to have a more serious, more meaningful approach. However, the launch of Competitive play hasn’t exactly been the smoothest of launches. Blizzard is still trying to work out the kinks in their ranking system to figure out how to gauge player performance in relation to rankings.
Last Friday Lylirra, a community manager for Overwatch posted about one particular instance that is a reoccurring issue in competitive play. People are constantly deciding to leave matches before they are finished, resulting in an unbalanced 6 versus 5 match. You can look at the forum post here.
“Previously, if a player from either team left mid-match, the game would automatically recalculate each team’s probability of winning, taking a look at not only who left the match, but also when they left,” explains a post on the official Overwatch blog. “The assumption was that if a team was a person down, the odds of them winning would go down, too, and that the most accurate thing we could do was account for this when adjusting each player’s Skill Rating at the end of the match.
“Despite being more accurate, we received a lot of feedback that this recalculation just didn’t feel great and that it incentivized bad leaver behavior—which is last thing we want to do in Competitive Play. As a result, the game will no longer recalculate each team’s probability of winning whenever one or more people leave. This means that your Skill Rating will always be adjusted based on your team’s odds at the beginning of the match, even if there are leavers on your or the enemy’s team.”
Think everything is all good? Well, I wouldn’t really say that. Apparently a bug has stopped the fix from working, making even more players frustrated and causing Blizzard to follow up in a second blog post from the community manager, Lylirra.
“At this time, we can confirm that the change is live and has been working correctly since last Friday night. While leavers previously had an impact on how Skill Rating was adjusted, they don’t anymore (and haven’t for a few days).
In fact, a lot of the complaints in this thread seem to be a result of that confusion rather than any existing bugs in the system (we checked),” she says. “That’s a concern for us, because we not only want Skill Rating to be accurate, but also for it to make sense. The fact that it doesn’t is good feedback for us, and seeing how we can make Skill Rating feel better is definitely something we’ll be keeping in mind as we look at ways to improve Competitive Play for future seasons.” – Lylirra, Community Manager
The forums are littered with suggestions on the issue, yet the issues remain unchanged. Lylirra notes that “other factors”, beyond individual performance and team numbers impact skill rating. While competitive play has demonstrated that its a difficult problem to solve, if the current system continues to perceive discontentment among players I would suggest a removal of ranked and have a substantial overhaul on the system itself, yet again and take what the community suggests.