Over a year and five competitive seasons later, Blizzard is still tweaking the Overwatch Competitive formula. In director Jeff Kaplan’s latest developer update, Kaplan detailed some of the new changes that will come to season six of Overwatch.
Most notably, this upcoming competitive season will be shortened from the usual three months to just two months. Kaplan’s rationale for this was that feedback and statistics showed how players were mostly engaged at the beginning of seasons, playing the game less frequently during the latter two months. Kaplan also mentions that while Competitive Mode was in beta, the length of one month was too short and fast for players; it appears as though two months will be the sweet spot for Blizzard. The developer believes that this change will make Competitive equally rewarding quantitatively, while remaining engaging throughout the entire season.
Blizzard is also making a big change to Control maps—rather than being a best-of-five set, matches on Control maps will be best-of-three. This rule modification is due to an “inordinate” number of matches going into overtime, resulting in overly long match times, especially compared to matches of other game types.
Additionally, Blizzard is working to improve matchmaking, with the hope that players will be matched up with opponents of a closer skill level. Because there are a smaller number of highly skilled players, the game will now take a slightly longer time matching those players up with other top-tier players. It’s a subtle change, but one that should theoretically benefit players of all skill levels; highly skilled players won’t have to waste time “stomping” lower-skilled players, only for a small reward, and likewise, those lower-skilled players won’t have to be demolished by those high-level players.
With these changes, Blizzard is continuing to evolve Competitive Overwatch into a leaner, faster and hopefully more accessible way to play the game, without compromising any sense of serious competition. Kaplan assures viewers that these changes will be closely monitored, and that potential changes for seasons seven and eight are already in early stages. Competitive season five of Overwatch ends on Aug. 28, with season six beginning shortly after. Check out the developer update video below.