Legacy Forum Posts

Additional Changes for Competitive Play Season 6

Lylirra (Community Manager) August 22, 2017

In our latest developer update, Jeff Kaplan shared a variety of changes coming soon to Season 6 of Competitive Play. Along with these changes, there are two more important updates planned for Season 6 that we didn’t get to talk about in the video:

  • Players in Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond can now drop into lower skill tiers
  • We’ve made some adjustments to how skill rating is calculated after a win/loss

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 a loss, the game will check to see what a player’s current tier and skill rating are—if their skill rating has not exceeded the minimum for their current tier for the past five games, they will be demoted. (Players will never be demoted on a win.)

Don’t worry: Competitive Points awarded at the end of a season will still be based on the highest tier earned that season. So, for example, if you reached Platinum during Season 6, but ended the season in Gold, you will still receive a number of Competitive Points based on your Platinum ranking.

SKILL RATING UPDATES

We’ve adjusted the calculations that determine how much skill rating players will gain after a win and lose after a loss. These changes should help address some of the anomalies players have been reporting, especially with heroes that have lower win-rates. We’ll continue tuning this system and are committed to making additional adjustments so that players are encouraged to play the hero they feel gives their team the best chance to win a competitive match.

As a reminder, Season 5 ends August 28 at 5PM PT and Season 6 begins August 31 at 5PM PT. Competitive Point rewards for Season 5 can be found here.

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They should pin these at the top of the forum.

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Reporting & Penalty System Improvements

Lylirra July 25, 2017

“Play nice; play fair” is one of Blizzard’s core values. It’s something we took to heart in creating Overwatch and remains a priority as we continue to support the game and our players. This not only applies to the new content we develop and the balance changes we make, but also to the features we add or improve upon over time.

We believe that our in-game reporting and player penalty system is one of our most important features, and it’s something we want to invest in significantly over the next year. To this end, effective immediately, we will be issuing increased penalties to players in response to verified reports of bad behavior. In Overwatch, that means anything from abusive chat, harassment, in-game spam, match inactivity (being intentionally AFK), and griefing. If you see someone engaging in any of these types of behaviors, report them. Players in violation will be silenced, suspended, or even banned from the game as a result.

We know that making Overwatch a truly welcoming environment is an ongoing process, and this is only the first step. Over the next several months, we have plans to make additional improvements based on your feedback, including scaling competitive season bans, a notification system that will alert you when a player you’ve reported is actioned, and functionality that will allow us to more aggressively penalize players who attempt to abuse the in-game reporting tool.

We also remain committed to bringing a reporting system to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. As console players ourselves, we know it’s been frustrating to not have this functionality on your platform. We are actively working on the feature and have many elements of undergoing internal testing right now. Our goal is to implement similar reporting options as are currently available on PC, and any improvements made to PC between now and when it’s available.

Thank you for your vigilance, passion, and commitment to building a welcoming and enjoyable community and helping us make Overwatch the best game it can be.

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Leaver Penalty and You

Koringul (Not a blue poster) Feb 27, 2017

All instances of a person leaving a competitive mode game, be they voluntary or involuntary, are punished the same

This is because regardless of why/how you leave a game the result for the remaining 5 people on your team are the same

The game also cannot differentiate between someone who loses their internet connectivity (outage, storm, land mine, etc) and someone who rage quits by unplugging their ethernet cable, so they are punished equally

There are 6 leaver penalties that occur in succession to cause a season long ban. It is your responsibility as a player to edumucate yourself as to the levels of punishment:

10 minutes
30 minutes
2 hours
8 hours
24 hours
Season Ban

Each comes with a 50 SR penalty

The game does not track “disconnects” and “purposeful leaves” separately. They are cumulative

This means if you rage quit once, lose your internet 3 times, and lose power twice in a season you get a season long ban.

DO NOT LEAVE BEFORE THE VICTORY/DEFEAT SCREEN.

You may think it’s “ridiculous” or that “the game is over”, but the fact of the matter is that blizzard decides when that occurs. They have decided that is when the victory/defeat screen appears

You not liking it, you ignoring it, you protesting it does not change it, and you will be punished for leaving if you violate it.

If you do not have a stable internet connection, no matter how unfair it feels, you SHOULD NOT PLAY COMP. If you do not have the self awareness to say “i am ruining the game for 11 people EVERY time my internet goes out” and trigger a season ban, the system is WORKING AS IT IS INTENDED TO

And finally, before you make a thread, before you beg and plead your innocence: You aren’t and blizzard does not overturn leaver penalty punishments. Ever. If you don’t believe me, go check their customer service twitter.

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Overwatch patch notes - August 29th, 2017

Josh Engen, August 29, 2017

COMPETITIVE PLAY

General

  • The length of Competitive Play seasons has been reduced to 2 months (formerly 3)

  • The winner on Control maps will now be decided based on a best-2-out-of-3 series (formerly 3-out-of-5)

  • Due to the shortened season length, fewer Competitive Points will be rewarded at the end of each season

  • More Competitive Points will be rewarded for wins or ties in Competitive Play

    • 15 Competitive Points for a win (formerly 10)
    • 5 Competitive Points for a tie (formerly 3)
  • Periodic Skill Rating decay has been reduced

    • Previously inactive players (in Diamond tier or above) lost 50 Skill Rating per day. This has been reduced to 25 Skill Rating per day
    • Playing a match now increases the time till decay by 36 hours (up from 24 hours). The maximum number of days remains set at 7
  • Players who place in Diamond or below can now lose their place in that tier if their Skill Rating drops below the minimum requirement. However, they’ll still earn their end-of-season rewards for their highest skill tier placed

  • Player Skill Ratings will no longer be temporarily lowered at the beginning of a season (after placement matches)

  • Changes in Skill Rating that occur after each competitive match have been adjusted to address some anomalies, especially with certain heroes

  • Skill Rating earned during players’ placement matches will now more accurately reflect their true Skill Rating

  • The calculation system for personal performance contributions has been improved

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Decayed Players wrecking in lower comp matches

Jeff Kaplan, August 23rd 2017

Skill Rating decays but your internal Matchmaking rating (the thing that determines who is matched against who – not SR) does not decay.

I’m not saying that you weren’t placed in an unfair match. I am just trying to clarify that if that did indeed happen, it wasn’t because of SR decay.

We have some changes to Season 6 that should help with some occurrences of mis-matches, especially in the top skill tiers. I can’t tell what tier you’re actually playing at because you posted on an alt account.

We posted a video yesterday that explains some changes that are coming that should help.

Post 6:

SR closely chases your MMR up and down and is a more “digestible” number. With the exception of top players who have decayed, MMR and SR are closely linked.

Post 16:

MMR works very similarly to SR. There are some minor differences that make it feel worse though, when you just watch that number. For example, it’s possible to win a match and not gain any MMR. We make it so that if you win a match, you always gain SR – even if it’s just a little bit – to feel psychologically rewarding. But MMR’s entire goal is creating fair matches – which isn’t always fun to look at and certainly not “rewarding” for players looking for pats on the back or a sense of progression. So SR “chases” your MMR very closely, except in a rare case of severe SR decay at GM/Masters/Diamond level of play.

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Why you gained less than 5 SR or lost more than 50

Teriball (Not a Blizzard employee) – September 11th, 2017

I’m going to try and just make a comprehensive post about this here because everyone keeps making posts about it and everyone keeps spewing nonsense that just isn’t true.

There currently exists a situation where it may seem that you gain less than 5 SR after a win or lose more than 50 SR after a loss.

There are a couple of conditions that must occur before it happens.

  1. You have a leaver on your team the match before.
  2. That leaver must not be you.
  3. You must have left before the end of the match but after the 2 minute grace period is up.

Now the next portion, there are two things that could be happening here.

One of them is, due to the fact that you also leave the match but are not classified as a leaver as someone else has already left the match before you, it doesn’t properly deduct the SR you are supposed to lose.

For example, if you went into a match at 2500 SR, had the leaver and left after the timer, your SR would still say 2500 when you queued for the next match. The SR you were supposed to lose the first game is now applied at the conclusion of the second round, which while confusing is correctly altering your SR.

The second situation, is you may be getting the leaver penalty in addition to losing SR for losing the match previous. I don’t think this is the case but it could be.

For example, you went into a match at 2500 SR, had the leaver and left after the timer, your SR would now say 2475 when you queued for the next match. Now because you also need a leaver penalty, it deducts another 25 SR at the conclusion of the next match. This would be the incorrect adjustment and is making you lose an additional 25 SR.

I believe that the first outcome is the more likely situation but I don’t have evidence to back up my assertions but if someone can/could that would be appreciated.

How do I avoid this you might ask. The best way to avoid this is to wait until the very end of the match and not leave after the leaver grace period. This way, the loss is properly applied to your SR.

Hopefully, that explains what is going on.
Please stop making threads about it and try to direct everyone towards this. I hate seeing thread after thread about this popping up.

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Permanent Competitive Play Bans Incoming – 9/27

Josh Engin, September 19th, 2017

Over the last few months, we’ve made several changes to the game as part of our ongoing effort to build a better, more welcoming experience. These changes include increasing the severity of penalties for poor in-game behavior, adding a reporting system on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and piloting a program to notify players via email whenever their reports result in an action.

Next week, we’re taking another step to help reduce unwelcome behavior by implementing permanent bans for Competitive Play. Starting Wednesday, September 27 , any player who accumulates three or more seasonal bans may be permanently banned from Competitive Play, removing their ability to participate in any future matches in that mode.

Seasonal bans do not need to be consecutive to qualify for a permanent Competitive Play ban. For example, if a player earned seasonal bans in Seasons 2 and 4, and then earns another ban in Season 7, he or she will be eligible for a permanent ban from Competitive Play as soon as that third seasonal ban is issued. Additionally, neither seasonal bans nor permanent Competitive Play bans will decay or reset over time; once an account is permanently banned, it currently cannot return to good standing.

SEASONAL BAN REMINDER:

In Competitive Play, leaving early or being kicked for inactivity during a match will make you ineligible to join a new competitive game until the original match has been completed or cancelled. Players have the option to rejoin in-progress games; those who do not rejoin will receive a penalty. See below for details.

  • If you leave or are kicked for inactivity within the first minute of the game, the entire match will be canceled and you will receive a penalty. The remaining players will receive neither a penalty nor a loss.
  • If you leave or are kicked for inactivity after the one-minute mark, you will be given two minutes to reconnect or rejoin the match. If you return, the match will resume normally. If not, you will receive a penalty and the remaining players will be given the option to leave without receiving a penalty (though they will still receive a loss).

Repeated occurrences of leaving early or being kicked for inactivity during a match will lead to restrictions on future competitive matches. As these violations accumulate, access to Competitive Play will be locked for an increasing amount of time. Completing matches without incurring further penalties will eventually return the account to good standing; however, repeated violations can also result in a ban from Competitive Play for the current season—including the forfeiture of any seasonal rewards.

To learn more about our Code of Conduct, click here.

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Serious rare bug instantly season-bans innocent players

Jeff Kaplan September 26th, 2017

We recently identified a bug that, in extremely rare cases, can cause players to lose their skill rating progress and receive a seasonal ban from Competitive Play without any prior penalties for leaving early or being kicked for inactivity. This bug is a high priority for our team, and we’re working on a fix to prevent further instances of it occurring as we speak.

In the meantime, we’ll be removing the seasonal ban for all players affected by this bug as well as restoring their skill rating. To date, this bug has impacted fewer than 200 accounts, but we’ll continue to monitor for additional occurrences and provide assistance until we can implement a permanent fix. We don’t have an ETA to share right now for when the fix will go live, but we’ll update this thread as soon more information becomes available.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience or frustration this bug has caused and are grateful for your patience and ongoing reports.

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This is how the matchmaker works in overwatch

Jeff Kaplan June 21st, 2016

Great post, ExcaliburZ. Allow me to share some of my personal thoughts on matchmaking…

We’ve been following all of the discussion around matchmaking. When topics get discussed in the community (and often among game developers) we tend to talk about things in very black/white or right/wrong terms. But most important decisions you make as a game developer are difficult trade-off decisions with no perfect answer.

The goal of the matchmaking is to make it so that you as a player do not have to find 11 other people to play with. You can click a Play button, and the system finds other players for you. That’s the basics. The reality is, the matchmaker is extremely complex in what it is trying to do. It does way more than I am going to mention in this post so while I am going to offer some information here, I am leaving some things out (not all intentionally – it’s just a really complex system).

At a most basic level, the matchmaker is trying to put you with 11 other people. But it doesn’t just randomly select 11 people. It takes into account a number of factors (more than I am going to list and not necessarily prioritized).

The first factor is time. The matchmaker will try to find you match quickly and not force you to wait too long. A very common thing that happens is that a player will become dissatisfied with a match and say “I don’t care how long you make me wait. I’d rather wait 20 minutes and have a good match than get matchmade into a match like you just put me into.” What we’ve seen is that when the time crosses a certain threshold, players begin to complain about it taking too long to find a match. It sounds good… waiting for that perfect match. But when the reality of waiting too long comes down on most people, they end up vocalizing their discontent on the forums. Also, there is an unrealistic expectation that if a player waits longer for a match, the “better” the match will be. The concept of “better” when it comes to matchmaking is a really hard one to define.

If I were to summarize match results into 5 broad buckets it would be these:

  1. My team won. We beat the other team by a long shot.

  2. My team barely won.

  3. My team barely lost.

  4. My team lost. We lost by a long shot. It wasn’t even close

  5. It was a broken match somehow. Maybe someone disconnected,
    was screwing around or we played with fewer than 12 people.

(of course there are more cases than this – I am overly simplifying here)

Most players will say that they want a match to be either type 2 or type 3 as I described above. Those sound even. Barely win or barely lose. But I believe when psychology comes into play, most players actually expect type 1 or type 2 to be the result. Even an amazingly close type 3 match can turn into a highly negative experience for a lot of players. And if you keep “barely losing” it’s not a very fun night. Winning is fun and good. Losing is less fun than winning.

So waiting a really long time to lose by a long shot is obviously not good. But waiting a really long time to barely lose is also a negative experience. And if we assume that your chances of winning are 50%, that means that even waiting a really long time for a “better” match means that you’re going to wait a really long time to probably lose half the time… If your expectation was that you were going to wait a really long time for an awesome match where you either 1) Won by a long shot or 2) Barely won… but still won nonetheless, your expectations for what the system can or should do are in the wrong place. We do not generate bots to take losses so you can win more than 50% of the time. Those are real people losing on the other end of every loss you take.

A second factor we take into account is ping. We’re matchmaking people all over the world and we want to match people to the closest servers for the best play experience. In our second stress test, we had other things prioritized over ping-based matchmaking such as skill and time. For those of you who participated in that stress test, you’ll remember how terrible the game performance was on the first day as well as how “lit up” the forums were demanding that players be given an option of server choice. So now we prioritize ping for players. Some players live in challenging parts of the world when it comes to high speed data connections (I’m looking at you, Andes mountain range…) so it’s not perfect for everyone. But largely, most people get a really decent connection to our game servers. Matching players with wildly disparate pings also results in a higher frequency of undesirable side effects such as “getting shot behind walls”. Of course if you live in Houston, Texas and group with your buddy in Geneva, Switzerland, you’re now introducing uncertainty to our system that’s harder for us to deal with… but we allow it.

Which brings us to the next factor that we match on: grouping. The majority of our matches are comprised of either all solo players or solo players and players grouped with one other person. However, the system does try to match groups of equal sizes together first and foremost. As the time people wait grows, we expand the search to try to find others for them to play with. This means that occasionally we will match groups with players who are not grouped or in a group size that is smaller than their own. Like I mentioned, this is exceedingly rare but can happen. And that match is only made when players have crossed a waiting threshold that we deem too long. For most group matches a group of 6 is placed against another group of 6.

Groups are a big challenge in our matchmaking system. You can group with people of wildly varying skill and ping and we allow you to. It’s pretty unlikely that there is another group in the queue that exactly mirrors the unique circumstances that you have set up (pings, skills etc.). We want you to group. We feel that it’s the best way to play the game. So we try to avoid things that discourage grouping and we want to continually improve the social systems so that you’ll find it easier and easier to group with people you have chosen to play with. Playing with people you choose to play with is going to be more reliably fun than playing with people we choose for you. I once used the analogy of hanging out with people on a Saturday night. If you were to go out with five of your friends it would probably be a better time than if we tried to find 5 random people for you to go out with, no matter how smart we were in our selection process…

Anyway, this leads me to matchmaking rating. This rating is the most important thing that we try to match on. Basically this rating means “how good are you?” Commonly, you’ll hear this referred to as Matchmaking Rating or MMR. MMR is derived differently in different games. Overwatch borrows a lot of knowledge from other games but also does a lot of things unique to Overwatch. As each player plays games, their matchmaking rating goes up or down depending on if they win or lose. The system is extremely complicated and there is a lot more going on here than I am going to spell out. So please don’t take this as the comprehensive guide to how MMR is calculated in Overwatch. There is definitely a lot more going on under the hood.

In Overwatch, whether your MMR goes up or down is contingent on winning or losing. But there are a number of factors that determine how much that rating goes up or down. For example, what map you’re playing on and whether you were attacking or defending is factored in. We know the win rates on attack/defend on all of the maps and we normalize accordingly. Not all wins and losses are equal. We also look at your individual performance on each of the heroes you played during the match. Everyone has better and worse heroes and we have tons of data showing us what performance levels should be like on those heroes. We also look at your opponents and whether or not their matchmaking rating is higher or lower than yours. These are just a few of the things that are considered when determining how your skill should go up or down. At no point in MMR calculations do we look at your win/loss ratio and win/loss ratio is never used to determine who to match you with or against. We are not trying to drive your win/loss percentage toward a certain number (although the fact that so many people are at 50% win rates makes us extremely happy). All the system does when it comes to matching on skill is attempt to match you with people of a similar number.

The system is of course deeper than this. There are penalties and handicaps added for things like not playing for a while or playing in groups of varying sizes. We also do special things for brand new players to (hopefully) keep them away from the general population. Players will often mistakenly look at player level and accuse the matchmaker of making unfair matches. One thing that I have mentioned before is that we were evaluating your skill during closed beta, open beta and the second stress test weekend. If you played in any of these (over 10 million players did), we had already determined a skill rating for you (most likely). This means that it’s not uncommon to see a level 1 matchmade against much higher level players. In most of these cases, the Level 1 is a skilled player who played during the phases I mentioned but did not immediately play at launch.

There are many factors that are beyond our control that add noise to the matchmaking system.

• Leavers are extremely disruptive

• Players vary wildly in their skill with different heroes. We have no clue which of the 21 heroes you are going to play during a match

• Groups form with wild variance in skill levels and ping. Contrary to popular belief there is not a “perfect match” for your unique snowflake group

• Sometimes your little brother plays on your account

• Sometimes the cat walks in front of the screen

• Sometimes your wireless mouse runs out of batteries. (Why do you use a wireless mouse btw?)

• Sometimes a highly skilled player buys a new copy of OW to “start fresh” on a new account

• Sometimes you have internet problems

• Sometimes you play drunk or tired… or both

• That first game of the night…

• …that last game of the night

• “Life”

So this brings me to some thoughts I’ve been having about Overwatch. While this whole post has been mostly my personal thoughts – this next part is “especially” my thoughts and not reflective of the team or the company’s POV.

For better or for worse, we focused the design of the game on winning or losing as a team. OW is not a game where you ignore the map objectives and then look at your K/D ratio to determine how good you are. We want you to focus on winning or losing and as a result you do focus on winning or losing. We tried to make it so that losing isn’t the end of the world, but to a lot of people they expect to win far much more than they lose. I sometimes wonder if we were able to clone you 11 times and then put you in a match with and against yourself, would you be happy with the outcome? Even if you lost? Out of the 5 types of matches I described above, it is my belief that you would still experience types 1-4. Are those “stomps” still not acceptable? Because they will happen…

And I believe OW is strange game in that regard. I spend a lot of time studying the matches that I am in because I am very focused on matchmaking. I’ve been in so many Control Point maps where my team got destroyed on the first point, the enemy team got destroyed on the second point and then we play the third point to a 99%/99% overtime. If you judged any of those single points on their own merits you could say you have two stomps (one in your favor, one against you) and one close match. Same players…no change in matchmaking. Or take a match that I was just in on Route 66, for example. My team was on attack and could barely push out past the train cars. Two members of our team swapped heroes and we proceeded to march the payload all the way to the end of the map practically uncontested. The match went from a stomp in one direction to a stomp in the other direction.

So while it is possible for a mismatch to result in a stomp, not every stomp is a mismatch. If every time a team dominates another team it is viewed as “the matchmaker is broken”, the problem we have is with perception and expectations. Look across all pro sports. Even matches happen every night. Stomps happen every night. It’s a reality of any competitive game. Does that make being on the receiving end sting any less – probably not.

We are constantly improving the matchmaker. We learn more each day. We have one of our best engineers and best designers full time dedicated to the system. Many of those “silent” patches that go out during the week are adjustments to the system. For example, we recently realized that “Avoid this player” was wreaking havoc on matchmaking. One of the best Widowmaker players in the world complained to us about long queue times. We looked into it and found that hundreds of other players had avoided him (he’s a nice guy – they avoided him because they did not want to play against him, not because of misbehavior). The end result was that it took him an extremely long time to find a match. The worst part was, by the time he finally got a match, he had been waiting so long that the system had “opened up” to lower skill players. Now one of the best Widowmaker players was facing off against players at a lower skill level. As a result, we’ve disabled the Avoid system (the UI will go away in an upcoming patch). The system was designed with the best intent. But the results were pretty disastrous.

We will always be working on our matchmaking system. We’re listening to feedback, we’re playing the game a ton ourselves and we’re looking at hard data to inform our decisions. This post wasn’t my way of saying everything is fine. I just wanted to share some of my thoughts as someone who has been evaluating the system itself very closely as well as monitoring the feedback. I want to put it out there that there is a lot of room for improvement but also suggest that there are forces in play that cause some fair matches to sway lopsided due to forces out of our control. The game is as much (if not more) art than it is science. We’ll keep working to make it better!

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Upcoming Competitve play changes for season 8

Scott Mercer Dec 8th, 2017

Limiting the Skill Rating variance for Teams

With the debut of the new competitive season 8 in January we’re going to be making a few matchmaking changes to increase match quality. 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.

We implemented the technology for this change in the 1.17.0.3 patch at the end of November, but did not aggressively tune the SR value of the limit. During the month of December we will be quietly testing the effect of more restrictive SR limits to both match quality and queue times. With the data and player feedback from testing, we’ll then come back from our holiday break on January 2 and apply a finalized set of values for Season 8.

Note that the matchmaker will still allow you to group with other players according to the current SR limits at their skill tier, which is 1000 SR for Bronze through Diamond, 500 SR for Master, and 250 for Grandmaster. We recently restricted the SR grouping limit at Grandmaster with this new Season 8 change in mind.

Removing Personal Performance Skill Rating Adjustments for Diamond tier players and above
Ok, this explanation is going to be pretty lengthy, so everyone grab some popcorn and buckle up.

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.

We look forward to everyone playing matches and giving us feedback about these changes in Season 8!

2 Likes

I want to one-trick Hanzo, But…

Josh Engen, December 19th, 2017

Hey, everyone.

I just wanted to chime in, because there’s definitely some confusion around one-tricking, and we wanted to take a moment to clarify our philosophy as a development team.

We believe players can choose to play any available hero during any game at any time, and that their choice of hero alone is not a behavior that should be penalized by our customer service team under any of the player report categories (including griefing, inactivity, or poor teamwork).

We believe players should be evaluated based on their actions with whichever hero they choose. If a player disrupts their team by intentionally feeding with ANY hero, you should report that player for griefing. If a player is staying in the spawn area, refuses to attack the enemy, or refuses support those that are, you should report that player for inactivity. If a player actively refuses to play the map’s objectives or communicates to the team in a negative fashion, you should report that player for poor teamwork. If a player communicates in a hateful or harassing manner with ANY hero, you should report that player for abusive chat. However, if a teammate is actively trying to perform well on their hero and help their team, they should NOT be reported under any category.

Players who inaccurately submit player reports in an attempt to punish someone’s hero choice are considered to be harassing or griefing their fellow player, and inaccurate reports make it more difficult for us to appropriately action the players who DO disrupt the game. We’re continuing to make improvements to our reporting system (which includes, but certainly isn’t limited to making our false report detection more robust), and we will continue to pay close attention to players who are at high risk of being falsely reported and taking appropriate actions to prevent it.

Your teammates can respectfully provide their opinion and suggest using a different hero for the gameplay situation that your team is experiencing, but the final decision about which hero you want to play with is yours alone.

We built Overwatch around the concept of teamwork, and we believe the game is much more fun for everyone in a match when we’re picking heroes that contribute to the overall success of the team. At times, this means we’ll be playing our mains; other times, we should be trying to help the team by choosing heroes that round out the team’s composition. We won’t be actioning you if you only play your main, but we also don’t believe this is the ideal way to play Overwatch—especially in competitive settings.

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Getting queued up with grand masters

Jan 4th, 2018

steelman:

I’m a player who has only played less than 10 games in Diamond in all seasons. Whenever I play 4v4 Deathmatch, the enemy team always has Grand Masters. Is there any way to prevent this from happening?

Jeff:

We’re looking into cases like this. We had a similar discussion about this yesterday as it can sometimes occur in Quick Play as well.

Long story short, you have a separate matchmaking rating for Competitive Play than you do for other modes so sometimes players playing more or less of those modes can cause occurrences like this. We have some solutions in mind.

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Leaving Competitive

Scott Mercer Jun 29th, 2016

I wanted to take this opportunity to briefly explain some of the systems we have in place regarding leaves and losses in competitive play, and why they’re there and why they work the way they do.

When we determine someone has quit a competitive match before the first 30 seconds of game time has completed, we note that the match is now invalid and it collapses after 30 seconds. The person who left receives BOTH a loss and a leave, while everyone else can then leave without penalty or loss.

After the first 30 seconds of game time, how we handle someone leaving a competitive match changes. After determining that someone has quit, we begin a 1 minute timer. The missing player can return during that timer, but if they do not then the remaining team members are now given a choice. Depending on the match situation when the player left, that team might want to play on since they still have a chance to win. If the situation is hopeless, we don’t want to force players to stick around while the other team finishes the match. So we allow the rest of the team to quit the match without a leave penalty, but they still do receive a loss.

Why do the remaining team members still receive a loss? How is this fair? The unfortunate answer is that the alternative would be worse. We don’t want to create an awful situation where players who think they’re losing are now encouraged to do whatever it takes to get someone else on their team to leave. By removing any possible incentive for anyone to “tactically” leave, it also means that more matches will complete normally. When someone leaves, Overwatch is less fun to play for everyone.

To further discourage someone from leaving a match, competitive play has a different leave penalty system than a quick play game. Leaving won’t simply reduce your XP gain, instead you can be suspended from playing competitive play. The time a player is suspended time increases on repeated leaves, and in extreme cases a player will earn a ban from competitive play for the current season. Banned players also forfeit any rewards granted at the end of the season.

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Leaving Mid-match and skill rating adjustments

Lylirra

July 7th, 2016

We’ve recently implemented a change on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One so that, if a player leaves mid-match, it will no longer affect how Skill Rating is adjusted at the end of a match.

Some context behind this change:

When you are you placed into a Competitive Play match, the game calculates each team’s probability of winning. This calculation helps identify how evenly matched two teams are, which in turn informs how your Skill Rating will be adjusted following a win or loss. Right now, the way system works is that if your team is favored to win, you will gain less Skill Rating for a win and lose more Skill Rating for a loss. And if your team is NOT favored to win, you will gain more Skill Rating for a win and lose less Skill Rating for a loss.

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. 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.

From a technical perspective, this will make Skill Rating adjustments a little less accurate for that specific match, but it should ultimately feel better for the players who stay and finish it out (plus, your Skill Rating will correct itself the next time you complete a match with no leavers). We also hope this will remove the incentive to “troll” a winning team by leaving, since it will no longer have an impact on anyone’s Skill Rating.


As always, we’ll continue to keep an eye on Competitive Play and make quick improvements whenever possible. Thank you so much for your feedback and helping us make Overwatch better!

2 Likes

Leaving and Rejoin still counts as a loss

July 6th, 2016

Hyper:

If you haven’t already known, leaving a competitive game and then rejoining will still count as a loss, no matter how long you left for. There are many legitimate reasons for having to leave the game, restarting router, restarting game, bugged in certain spot, gpu accidentally failed, etc.

I feel like there should be a time limit to reconnecting so if you reconnect within that set amount of time e.g. 60seconds, then you will not get a leavers penalty.

Jeff:

We’re fixing this. Hopefully today. Apologies for the issue.

2 Likes

October 10th, 2017

Hun:

Can you address “rigged MMR SYSTEM” please. Too many people crying over the system is out to get them.

Jeff:

It’s not. Stop being so paranoid.

Addressed.

2 Likes

Its good to have a forum post collection but Wyoming already started archiving them. I think he will share them over time.

1 Like

According to Overwatch Developer Post Archives & Overwatch 2 Quick Fact List. He was unable to get all the posts, and has decided not to repost them publicly.

Regardless, here is a list of all the posts that matter to me.

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Overwatch Technical Issues, SR Loss, and Leaver Penalties

Drakuloth - December 10th, 2017.

Hey everybody,

I wanted to take some time today to discuss Leaver Penalties and how they relate to Technical issues. We understand that leaver penalties are an annoying thing to experience. Technical issues can be complicated to troubleshoot. To add penalties to your account can seem like adding insult to injury. This isn’t our intent. The competitive penalty system may not be perfect, but there is reason behind it.

When we created the leaver penalty system, we took in a lot of player feedback. The feedback came from both leavers and the players they left behind. Individuals who leave want forgiveness sometimes, and teams want people to stop leaving. We are trying to balance these needs. For some information on the system itself, you can check out Jeff Kaplan’s posts on the matter. Below I’ve made an FAQ.

Why am I penalized when I have a technical issue?

Any time you leave a game, you affect the experience of everyone else in the match. Think back to the last even match you were in where someone quit partway through. How difficult it was to win fights 5v6? Even if you did win, didn’t you have to fight harder to do so? For every crash or DC that gives you a penalty, there are five other players on your team who just had their chances of winning a fair match reduced.

Why am I penalized in Competitive if I disconnect before a game starts?

This type of penalty is there to avoid queue dodgers. In old competitive First Person Shooters, people could fake tech issues to avoid certain teams or players. There’s no way to tell the difference between someone who disconnected intentionally and an accidental DC. As a result, the moment you are selected for a Competitive match, that’s your match. If you lose connection after that point, the penalties are active. In comparison, other modes will backfill the position and queue you for a different match. You may not even notice it happening in other modes because it’s all handled on the back end, but may experience other connection issues.

Why am I still penalized when I rejoin some games?

There are two different reasons for this, excessive disconnections, or disconnecting for too long. You can reconnect at any point during a match you have left as long as you don’t have a leaver penalty. However, spending too much time outside of the game still puts your team at a disadvantage, and there’s a risk that others will leave in your absence. If you disconnect during a competitive match, try to reconnect as quickly as possible and finish the match.

Similarly, disconnecting multiple times in one competitive match may trigger penalties. If you have these problems regularly, you should troubleshoot the problem to avoid penalties.

Why can’t Blizzard remove penalties for technical issues?

The effect on your fellow players is the same no matter why you disconnect. As a result, if you play a match while having technical issues, and you drop from the match, your account may be penalized. Blue Posters and our Customer Support team have no way to remove the penalties. This is because the system is working the way it was designed. Instead, we focus on troubleshooting the thing that originally caused the problem. If we fix that, you shouldn’t have problems anymore.

What if it was the server’s fault?

Often we hear mentions of one off issues when we discuss penalties. “What happens if the servers crash or if Blizzard’s ISP has a problem?” or something of that nature. This does happen from time to time, but it’s pretty rare. The system is built to take that sort of thing into account, and periodic issues like this shouldn’t tank your skill rating too much. This is why the first few penalties are lenient compared to later ones. Over time even the Skill Rating drops will even out as you keep playing normal matches. As long as you aren’t intentionally leaving or having tech issues, this shouldn’t affect your account too much.

How do I find out why this Tech issue is happening?

Before troubleshooting, check our Tech sticky threads and the “Breaking News” section of your Battle.net Application. We like to post major service interruptions and known issues there. For other issues, here are a couple of the best links for tech issues with Overwatch.



Keep in mind - whenever you’re troubleshooting tech issues, you should use a low-stakes mode to test fixes. Using Arcade, VS Bots, etc, will let you test fixes without affecting your account as much.

If basic troubleshooting fails, or you’re not sure how to do some of the steps, don’t give up. You can always try working with your fellow players and us Blue Posters here to find the cause of your tech issue. You can also try contacting our support team for one on one help.

What if I want to provide feedback on the penalty system?

We understand that the penalty system can always be improved. If you have specific feedback for things we might change to make the system better, we have forums for that. You can use the Competitive Discussion or General Discussion forums to deliver that feedback. We’ve got some folks there that check those threads for player feedback and report to the developers. Some of our development team will even reply to threads there, too.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. As always, let us know how we can help with your Technical troubles!
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