Season 3 Competitive Changes on PTR

Competitive Discussion
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Right now on the PTR, we’re starting to test out changes for Season 3 of Competitive Play. While there’s one big change to Season 3, there are also some behind-the-scenes adjustments to how we’re calculating Skill Rating and Skill Tier placement that I wanted to discuss with everyone.

The largest visible change to Competitive Play will be to the off-season between Season 2 and Season 3. Based on community feedback, we’re going to shorten the off-season downtime to just one week, with Season 2 ending at 00:00 UTC on November 24, and Season 3 beginning on December 1. Additionally, during the off-season, we’ll display an in-game countdown to when the next season begins.

Before explaining the changes to Skill Rating and Skill Tiers, let me explain some of the goals for matchmaking in Competitive Play. First and foremost, we always want to provide the fairest matches that we can. Fair matches of skill between the teams provide the greatest chance for you to have fun in Overwatch. At the same time, we’d also like every new competitive season to feel like a fresh start. These two goals end up being somewhat contradictory. If we completely reset everyone’s Skill Rating (SR) at the start of a new season, then players of all skill levels would end up playing against each other and having poor quality matches until the system could reevaluate each player’s skill. Because of this, we don't fully reset your SR when a new season begins, and instead use your SR from the previous season as a starting point.

Another area of Competitive Play we’re trying to improve for Season 2 is how we distribute everybody into their Skill Tiers (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, etc.) based on their SR. When Season 2 started, we had WAY more players in Gold and Platinum than we initially intended, and way fewer in Bronze and Silver. This was the result of how we calculated your initial SR for Season 2. We tried to partially reset player SR at the start of Season 2, but the results were not as we expected. Instead, below-average players started Season 2 at a higher SR than they should have been given their performance in Season 1. This meant that as they played in Season 2, their SR would often drop to a lower value, which didn’t feel great. It also meant that there was a much wider variation of skill in the Gold and Platinum tiers than we wanted. This is something we want to avoid in Season 3.

As a result, we’re testing a different way of determining your starting SR for Season 3 on the PTR. We’re leaning more towards trying to keep things fair rather than giving everyone a fresh start. We’re also going to initially tune your SR to be slightly lower to start. In turn, fewer players should start the season having their Skill Rating drastically drop despite having close to even wins and losses.

This change will mean that some players will not start in the same tier for Season 3 that they were placed in for Season 2, and that your SR gains from winning will be a little higher at the beginning of the season. After you play enough matches, however, your SR gains and losses will go back to normal.

We’ll be looking closely at the results of players placement on PTR and see if our goals are being met, and might make further adjustments during this testing cycle that might require a reset of placement matches. If that’s the case, we’re try to provide advanced notice whenever possible.

In the meantime, we really appreciate your feedback, and thanks for everyone who is helping us test on PTR!
Highly Rated
Thank you! I noticed that as well.

Keep up the good work team.

The effort the team puts into refining comp goes unnoticed, but is much appreciated and undereppreciated, given the complexity of the task.

Chewy approves.
Highly Rated
thank lord there's only 1 week between S2 and S3.
10/24/2016 07:19 PMPosted by Scott Mercer
When Season 2 started, we had WAY more players in Gold and Platinum than we initially intended, and way fewer in Bronze and Silver.

Interesting, I thought a lot of players being in Plat was just a fluke but I guess that was a mistake. Hoping the PTR will help fine tune things. Plus it'll be nice to play on PTR with a one hero limit. The overabundance of Torbs and D.Vas made it hard to tell if their buffs were that strong.

Good stuff as usual Scott! Looking forward to trying placements this week.
two more months of s2? g'damn that's good, thank you
Well that explains a lot about why games seem so unequal in terms of real skill and why there's nearly always a 3k+SR highest player with a 2.6k SR queueing with a 2.2k.
Just one thing, you removed Quick Play from the PTR so there's no way of getting your PTR account up to the rank required to participate in the Competitive play. So you're removing the possibility for lower skilled players who've just gotten into the PTR to even take part in the testing.
Highly Rated
10/24/2016 07:43 PMPosted by Anasui
two more months of s2? g'damn that's good, thank you


What month do you believe we're in?
Highly Rated
10/24/2016 07:19 PMPosted by Scott Mercer
we’ll display an in-game countdown to when the next season begins.


*cue a moment in crime flashbacks*
Can we put some bozos in bronze pls. Bottom heavy ranking k thx
10/24/2016 07:48 PMPosted by Kafferast
Just one thing, you removed Quick Play from the PTR so there's no way of getting your PTR account up to the rank required to participate in the Competitive play. So you're removing the possibility for lower skilled players who've just gotten into the PTR to even take part in the testing.


that's great.
can we use season 1 rank instead, or a median between the two? I fell down in s2, and just didnt have the motivation to rank out, it was just not fun playing and i was hoping that a fresh restart would revamp my motivation to play competitive, if it doesnt reset or give me a chance to rerank, than i really just have no desire to continue in competitive. :/
10/24/2016 07:19 PMPosted by Scott Mercer
Another area of Competitive Play we’re trying to improve for Season 2 is how we distribute everybody into their Skill Tiers (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, etc.) based on their SR

GOOD the middle ranks are the wild west
Highly Rated
But i'm guessing loses still take more than a win.
your SR gains from winning will be a little higher at the beginning of the season.


Is that for everyone? Or just people who are going to be put at a lower rank?
10/24/2016 07:48 PMPosted by Kafferast
Just one thing, you removed Quick Play from the PTR so there's no way of getting your PTR account up to the rank required to participate in the Competitive play. So you're removing the possibility for lower skilled players who've just gotten into the PTR to even take part in the testing.


Can't you just wait until your level 25 to join the ptr? That is what I was trying to do. Too bad I don't have enough time to play.
10/24/2016 07:19 PMPosted by Scott Mercer
Another area of Competitive Play we’re trying to improve for Season 2 is how we distribute everybody into their Skill Tiers (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, etc.) based on their SR. When Season 2 started, we had WAY more players in Gold and Platinum than we initially intended, and way fewer in Bronze and Silver.


If you're going to universally lower everyone's tier, that's fine, but you really need to add subtiers (see Heroes of the Storm, Rocket League, etc). It's going to be painful to go from Platinum to Gold (for example) if it may become impossible to get back up to Platinum. You need to give people something to work towards (e.g. tier Gold 1 to Gold 2).
10/24/2016 08:03 PMPosted by iBleedoranGe
your SR gains from winning will be a little higher at the beginning of the season.


Is that for everyone? Or just people who are going to be put at a lower rank?


I think everyone is being put at a lower rank (I.e. High golds/plats end up in low/mid gold, masters in diamond, etc.), and so this should apply to everyone
Highly Rated
Not giving a fresh start is humiliating.
This season I've spent 132 hours solo or duo in 2600-2988 range. I've bought another copy of the game, leveled to 25, got placed at 2950 and EASILY climbed to 3250. I want to get my first account to diamond league as I clearly see that my performance is above average level at 3k SR (based on dmg/min, accuracy, kill/death ratio stats) and my teams always commend me for being super useful and coordinating. I've also spent a considerable amount of time working on my skills, team coordination and game knowledge with some of the best coaches, so I'm pretty sure I'm doing fine.
However since we loose more points for a loss than gain for a win, having a leaver, a lagger or a troll in your team contributes to the % of losses. Even though my stats are 257 wins, 218 losses and 29 games tied, I'm still loosing rank. In 90% games I win I've got 3+ gold medals and get 18-22 points. For every loss with a leaver I lost 25-32 points.
Starting season 3 from the same point is just unfair.

Also IMHO two big mistakes in the ranking system:
1) it weights past performance too much. And all of it, including something which happened 200+ hours of play time ago. People improve over time. Especially if they play 100+ hours per season.
2) win streak / lose streak multiples -- a very very wrong approach. If I get lucky and get good teammates for 10 games straight i gain like 350 points. This is equal to what I'd get for 70 games with 60% win rate distributed evenly. However if my winrate is 60% but losses come in streaks and the wins don't - I end up loosing rating.
Highly Rated
So you admittedly screwed up S2 ratings due to imbalance and thus you are USING S2 Rating to calibrate for S3.

Makes sense...

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