Matchmaking Changes - Static SR/MMR + other changes

Competitive Discussion
I feel as if matchmaking is leaning more towards matching players for a standard composition format ( 2 supports, 2 tanks, 2 dps ) for optimal synergy, balance, and structure. The highest levels of competitive play over the course of these past few matchmaking seasons ( 4 and 5 ), as well as Season 1 and prior to the addition of Ana can be used as an example. You will also be able to refer to the Overwatch World Cup to get a general idea, and hopefully the OWL if we're still in need of major changes at that point. Obviously there have been exceptions, but an evenly distributed format has been far more consistent than compositions involving only one tank, or one support. This would obviously exclude the 3-4 tank meta that was established as a result of Ana being as strong as she was for a certain period of time in addition to some other balance issues with tanks that have since been changed. In some cases you'll be matched with players that don't fill the essential roles at all, creating an imbalance in composition as a result of no one wanting to fill those roles. It also creates a lot of tension between players before the match even starts. It's simple, match players based on role preference and flexibility. Some would argue that there should be more variation ( heroes ) within the roles that are lacking prior to having this organized system and I can agree with that to a certain extent, but I still feel as if OW matchmaking could benefit a lot from this system. I believe that there could easily be enough variation in every role to implement this system even with the limited amount of options for tank/support relative to DPS. Although we have more hero options within the dps role specifically, make some additional balance changes to allow for more flexibility with the hero options in every role and the concept is an improvement. Worst case scenario, you have certain heroes fall into several roles. In other words, allowing specific heroes to be selected in several roles. Hero options for several roles would depend on the swaps that are made at the highest level of play for balance purposes. For example, swapping out a support for Sombra or a tank for DPS to allow for 1 tank and 1 support minimum, but only with really specific heroes as an exception to alleviate some of the issues with format flexibility while sustaining a reasonable composition. In other words, retaining the essential structure and not being left with no tanks or supports.

Some ideas to expand on this and incentivize the implementation.

This could also involve individual role based skill ratings that combine into one "overall" skill rating to be included in an overall ladder, which could determine the top 500 rank for example. Note that players would be matched based on the role selected for the queue, which would indicate the "active" role and skill rating. Being able to organize these individual ratings based on role, and having separate ladders for these roles. Having an "overall" ladder that combines the SR of every role would also encourage players to be more diverse and climb the ladder in other roles if it means adding to their overall skill rating. The overall SR at the end of a season could potentially have more of an impact on your placement for the following season as well to give it even more of an incentive. This would encourage players to improve in other areas. Influencing players to flex into other roles and gradually earning SR at an appropriate rating for a given role should result in the player base having a more in depth understanding of hero/role synergy as an end result, which is incredibly important to the growth and development of competitive. Separate role based skill ratings would be more indicative of their skill level within that role, and a more transparent display of how much time has been invested into those roles without having to stare at a career profile to determine the "ideal" or "proper" role for each player, and that's under the assumption that their competitive experience is specific to that account. Which some of us know, that isn't the case most of the time once you've reached a higher SR range. The idea of having smurf accounts wouldn't be as appealing if players were able to gradually climb a separate ladder under the same account. I personally have a smurf account specifically to practice heroes, or a role that I typically don't fill as often at a higher SR range. This is most likely the case for a lot of other players as well. Being matched with players that are actually interested in filling a set role in the same SR range in theory should create more of a mutual understanding between players within the same SR range, and overall a more cohesive atmosphere in the long run. Matching for a standard ( 2, 2, 2 ) format, but allowing players to flex to certain heroes in other roles with a minimum of 1 Tank and 1 Support would enable this system.

Can't really think of a proper way to go about matching players based on strictly hours in a career profile, especially if role preferences and alternate accounts aren't taken into consideration. Generally I don't think premades, or "stacking" should ever be discouraged in competitive. So not having these massive variations in SR gain/loss and other disadvantages for premade groups would be best. Worst case scenario some of these matches are one sided and it encourages the losing teams to improve both individually and as team players by forming groups themselves. Nothing wrong with encouraging players to group and rewarding them for doing so in a team based game. One sided matches occur with, or without stacking regardless in the current system. Of course other issues regarding SR gains/losses, and trolls/disconnects/leaving should be high priority as well. Having maybe an automated pause/fill system for leaving/disconnecting once the time frame for the reconnect expires. Anything to address the issue with missing those players. It results in additional SR lost, and a lot of wasted time that could potentially be spent in a balanced match. Of course players that are selected from the queue to fill in these situations will lose or gain less SR depending on the progress of the match from the time that they joined. Values would need to be determined appropriately to reduce the chances of gaining or losing too much SR as a result of being selected to fill more frequently than other players in these situations. Maybe even limit the amount of times players can be matched into these situations within a certain period of time to make it less repetitive if necessary. Aside from this addition, punish players that intentionally leave matches or have consistent connection issues by placing them in an alternate queue system temporarily.

The flaw that I see with this system is a potential imbalance in player population for roles in different SR ranges, especially when you're taking time frame into consideration. Would definitely result in extended queue times, so long as it's not too drastic I'd be willing to wait for a more organized match/system personally.

No idea what's actually planned for competitive in the long run, or if the dev team did have any major changes in mind for the next season. There were really no changes between Season 4 and 5 to address a lot of the existing issues, and most of these issues have been around since the inception of competitive OW so the concern and frustration from the community, regardless of SR range isn't completely unfounded. This is coming from a flex player ( GM - Previously top 500 ) solo queue perspective with plenty of hours and experience, I've been playing since the first season. With major changes to the current system, scaling back SR or a reset would be necessary to properly represent skill rating in the new system.

Of course there are plenty of alternatives to explore, this is just what came to mind. If you have any ideas or just wanted to expand on this one feel free. As a competitive player in the higher SR range whether it be within GM or top 500 it's important that we share these ideas and express our concerns with the current state of the system. Even if we feel as if they wouldn't be interested, it's best to receive it from the players that have been grinding the ladder since the beginning of competitive OW. I'd personally love to receive input from a lot of professional players as well, I'm genuinely curious. It's also worth noting that a lot of players in the lower SR range need this sense of structure as a lot of them don't understand how the game is played or organized at a higher level. Giving them a format and diffusing some of the tension between players will encourage them to climb more. More time invested in higher quality, and more organized matches will increase overall interest in competitive Overwatch.

Excited for the future of competitive Overwatch and just wanted to share some thoughts. Been following professional OW since the beginning and it's come a long way within such a short period of time. Glad to see that the scene has been growing so rapidly and that it's received as much support as it has.

Although most of these issues don't exist in more "organized" or professional OW, matchmaking represents it. It's the initial impression of competitive OW in most cases. Improving this system and being more receptive to the players that molded competitive OW into what it is now will only contribute to the growth of Overwatch Esports and continued interest in the format. These matchmaking experiences can be make or break for a lot of new and even long time competitive players. Overwatch is honestly incredible from both a casual and competitive standpoint, associate the competitive game type with an exclusively competitive mindset and represent that same type of environment that we'll be seeing in the Overwatch league.
Here's a video involving Jake from LGE ( pro player ), he highlights a lot of other major fundamental problems with the current system that's in place and proposes a potential solution to the issue regarding SR to be used as a fresh starting point that we can expand on.

This was also an issue that I've wanted to emphasize and in my opinion he explains it perfectly. From the details, to the overall impact that it has on the system as a whole.

The current system doesn't accurately reflect, or represent competitive OW at any SR range because of these problems and the impact that they've had over time.

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