Blizzard released a new Overwatch ‘Developer Update’ with Game Director Jeff Kaplan detailing all the changes for its upcoming sixth competitive season.
You can watch the full update here:
The biggest change is that this season will only be two months long instead of the usual three. Kaplan said that “engagement is a lot higher at the beginning of the season,” and they wanted to make that early season excitement more frequent.
End of season rewards will be reduced to balance for the fact that players will be getting them more often, but Kaplan said the overall amount should be roughly the same over the course of a year. You’ll also start earning more points for each win in season 6.
Another large change is that Control maps will be reduced from a best-of-five to a best-of-three, similar to how it is in Quick Play. Kaplan said Control matches could often go way too long, and this change should make games quicker and less punishing to lose.
An adjustment to placement matches is being made that will set your starting season ranking more accurately, as Kaplan mentioned seasons four and five were intentionally placing people lower as an experiment. Inevitably Blizzard decided the feeling of climbing up to your appropriate rank wasn’t worth the confusion of initially being placed lower.
A relatively small change is coming to the rank decay system, which now only requires you play five games per week, down from seven, without automatically losing rank. Kaplan said they are working on other solutions in the long term to get rid of that decay entirely, but that it was currently necessary to have.
And finally, there are some matchmaking changes being made at high level play, which will cause top-tier players to have longer queue times but eventually find better quality games. Kaplan made it clear that they will be monitoring these changes to make sure those waits don’t get out of hand.
Tom Marks is an Associate Editor focusing on PC gaming at IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.