Overwatch is an online multiplayer game that has made a big name for itself when it comes to the competitive scene. The game is highly competitive because of the exhilarating and intense gameplay that it offers. There is never a dull moment in any match and there is a fight happening somewhere on the map all the time. Blizzard has done its best to make sure that people don’t get bored of the game and try to keep it just as fun as it is all the time by releasing patches from time to time to make sure that every hero is completely balanced and no hero has an unfair advantage.
The game makes sure to keep the game competitive as it can be for the non-professionals. Overwatch’s normal competitive play is quite famous for its good and bad things. The game has a great system to make sure that players that are good at the game are kept apart from the players that aren’t as good using the skill rating system.
Overwatch Skill Rating (SR) System
The Skill Rating system is a simple yet effective system in Overwatch that allows the games to keep players in a level that is most suited to their skill. This system makes sure that players are pitted against people that are on the same level of play as them and the match is fair. There are many factors that decide what your skill rating is, from your overall performance to the match result the game decides how much SR you gain or lose from a game of competitive play.
“While both the ‘On Fire’ system and the matchmaking system attempt to track your underlying performance, the amount of time you spend ‘on fire’ does not directly affect your SR adjustments after a match, there is some amount of correlation between the two systems, but no direct link. We can make changes to one without affecting the other,” is what Overwatch principal designer Scott Mercer said in an interview where he was asked about the games competitive play.
But this doesn’t mean that doing well in the game isn’t so important. Being “on fire” or getting medals consistently enough will provide a small bump regarding how much your Skill Rating increases after each win, but the most significant bump you can get is by going on a winning streak. The game gradually increases the amount of SR you gain as you win more matches in a row.
The game also had a similar system for decreasing SR after a loss but Blizzard made some changes which made the SR system even better. “Repeated losses used to mean your SR would drop even more, but we recently reduced the effects of streaks so they don’t accelerate your SR adjustment,” Scott Mercer said in the interview. Now, although losses mean a certain drop in SR, you do get a few chances before your entire Skill Level is changed.
The game also places players slightly lower than they are meant to be to make players feel better about winning their games instead of placing them too high so they lose and drop SR because the other players were better than them. A lot of game designers make trade-offs between varying goals that sometimes work at opposites,” Mercer said in his interview. “This is one where we made the decision to lower you initially so, as you play, you have a more positive experience.”
Regardless of the negative opinions of many, saying that the games SR system is flawed, Overwatch actually does a great job to calculate SR and keep players happy width how they placed.