Many Overwatch 2 players aren’t happy with the sequel’s new ranked mode, and Blizzard is beginning to agree. In a new one blog entry (opens in new tab) Addressing recent player complaints, Overwatch 2 game director Aaron Keller said improvements to the competitive mode, including “greater clarity” about what ranks mean, are coming over the next few months.
Confusion over how accurate Overwatch 2 leaderboards are (opens in new tab) (Skill tiers ranging from Bronze to Platinum, culminating in “Top 500”) into matchmaking has been skyrocketing players since Season 1. Some have reported a frustrating level of perceived inconsistency (opens in new tab) in the skill level of teammates and opponents, metrics that are particularly difficult to track since Overwatch 2 actually hides a player’s “true” MMR. As it turns out, your displayed skill division is a completely different number than the invisible MMR number that Overwatch 2 actually uses to match you with similarly skilled players.
The result is the not-so-uncommon occurrence of encounters with players who appear to be much higher or lower in rank than you. In theory, these players actually have a similar, invisible MMR level to yours, but it sounds like even Blizzard agrees that this is an unnecessarily obtuse way of doing things.
“The new ranked mode suffered from poor understanding,” Keller wrote. Citing the experience of facing players with an advertised rank that doesn’t match their true ability, Keller said it left a “negative impression on the matchmaker,” even if he’s technically doing his job.
“We will be implementing some changes in S3 and some more in S4, all aiming to bring more clarity to the system. More details on short-term changes and long-term vision will follow shortly.”
The form of these changes may vary, but it’s probably wise to think small. Earlier this month, Overwatch 2 executive producer Jared Neuss clarified in a statement tweet reply (opens in new tab) that there are no plans to return to Overwatch 1’s ranking system, which used a numerical skill rating system as well as medal ranks. “The new system has good goals, but the implementation requires work and needs to be adjusted based on player feedback like yours.”
In the short term, an “upgrade” could be something as simple as a better in-game information page that breaks down the difference between rank and MMR. If you ask me, it sounds like much bigger adjustments are in order.
Any publicly available skill level should always at least roughly represent where you end up in the true MMR equation, with some wiggle room to allow for more frequent movement through the ranks and discourage those trying to play the system. Otherwise, what’s the point of having a rank? The fact that a Diamond Overwatch 2 player on paper could actually be at the skill level of a Grandmaster or a Platinum player right now is just plain wrong. It cheapens the whole concept of ranked mode, turning what was meant to be a skill signifier into an arbitrary number that sometimes goes up and sometimes goes down.
Overwatch 2 Season 3 is slated to begin sometime in early February.
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