Our Season 7 guide for Overwatch contains details of placement matches, rewards, ratings and season length for the next round of competitive play.
Season 7 of Overwatch will begin in just under a week from on now, with the action kicking off at 5:00pm PDT on Wednesday 31st October 2017.
No drastic changes have been announced for the uppcoming season of competitive play, and so we're basing the first edition of our Season 7 guide on how Season 6 played out.
If you've not played any of the current season, it's worth brushing up. Quite a few things from season length to rewards structure have been changed in recent months, but our guide contains all of the detail you need.
Expect more information to be added to this article in the run up to the Season 7 launch. Until then, here's everything you need to know.
Starting with Season 6, Competitive Play seasons were reduced in length to two months instead of three. During the game's original beta the team had tested one month seasons, but it didn't feel right, and players never felt they managed to reach the rank they felt they should be at.
Three months has felt pretty good for a while, but a lot of the feedback and statistical insight the team had received showed that engagement with the game was much higher at the start of the season. There's a perception that games are more competitive at the start of each season, and so are more interesting to play as a result.
There's no guarantee that seasons will always be two months from now on, but the team wants to trial it starting in Season 6 and just see how it feels for the playerbase. At the time of publishing this article, we've every reason to believe that the system will continue into Season 7.
A few changes have been made to the competitive points rewards system to reflect the fact that seasons are now a third shorter than they have been in the past. That means that the total rewards at the end of each season will be a little bit less than you currently receive, but it'll even out across the year because you are playing two more seasons per annum.
Additionally, we began receiving more Competitive Points per win in Competitive Play, starting with Season 6. All things combined and considered, the team is confident that the rewards system will feel pretty good going forwards.
Here's the breakdown of rewards for reaching certain ranks in Season 6, and we've no reason to believe anything will change for Season 7. We'll adjust the data in this table once we have more information from Blizzard.
|Season 6 Rank||Points||Rewards (CP)|
Skill Tier Updates
Players in Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond will now be moved into lower skill tiers if they cannot consistently maintain the minimum skill rating for that tier.
After each loss, the game will check to see how a player’s current tier and skill rating match-up. If their skill rating has not exceeded the minimum for their current tier for the past five games, they will be demoted. Do note that players will never be demoted on a win.
Don’t fear though, Competitive Points awarded at the end of each season will still be based on the highest tier you’ve reached. So, if you reached Platinum during Season 6, but finished in Gold at the end of the season, you’ll still receive the number of Competitive Points based on your Platinum ranking.
Skill Rating Updates
Blizzard has adjusted the calculations that determine how much skill rating players will gain after a win, or lose after a loss. These changes will address some of the anomalies members of the community have been reporting, especially with heroes that have lower win rates earning far more skill rating on a win, and less on a loss.
There are going to be continual improvements throughout the season to make sure skill rating earnings are fair.
Skill Rating Decay
The devs have been listening to the feedback about the Skill Rating decay system for those players who are ranked Diamond and above. There are going to be some minor tweaks to take the sting out of the current system.
Rather than having to play seven games per week in order to maintain your current ranking, this requirement is going to be dropped down to five matches a week. The team hopes this will make the experience a little better, but if you do miss your quota and your rank decays you'll lose 25 Skill Rating from now on instead of 50.
The team has reiterated the need for some kind of “punishment” for absenteeism at the highest levels of play as it prevents undesirable behaviour. The devs are exploring alternatives for this system, but they feel confident that the reductions should feel like a pretty good improvement in the short-term.
Control maps used to be a best of five affair in Overwatch, meaning one team had to win three control points in a Competitive Play match in order to achieve a victory.
The devs feel that too many of these matches go into Overtime, and too many matches end in five rounds. This means that control map matches often go on way too long compared to other modes.
Starting with Season 6, control maps victories are determined on a best of three basis. Whoever wins two rounds - just like in Quick Play - will be declared the winner, which should take some of the sting out of losing exceptionally long matches.
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A few placement match changes were introduced with Season 6, and these now try to place you a little more accurately than before. In Season 4 and 5, the devs were placing you slightly lower than where your SR should have sent you, allowing you to climb more earlier in the season to make you feel better about progression.
They know it didn't work for everyone though. A player would end Season 4 on Diamond - for example - then they would do placements in Season 5, end up in Platinum and feel really bad. Although the Overwatch team knew they'd work their way back to Diamond, it felt wrong to deflate people on purpose just so you'd have a sense of progression.
That all disappeared as of Season 6. You should place more or less accurately to the level of your Skill Rating, although keep in mind it is still possible to lose your rank in borderline cases.
Not all players will feel the benefit of some of the changes coming to the matchmaking system, but high-skilled players will. The team now feels that it's OK to make the best players wait a little longer to get matches that are fairer. The algorithm already does a pretty good job of building a 50 / 50 win scenario, but they want to improve things.
By having the very best players wait a little longer, they'll not end up stomping lower ranked competitors and getting rather meagre rewards as a result. The benefits for the people being stomped are obvious!
The team conclude by saying that they will not let Competitive Play stagnate, and will continue monitoring the competitive experience in Overwatch.
That's how things currently stack up for Season 7 though. Let us know how you got on in Season 6 in the comments.