As you have probably already learned, the Competitive play in Overwatch was delayed. Eurogamer’s recent interview with Overwatch’s game director, Jeff Kaplan, on June 7th, offers insight into likely changes to Competitive play.
Kaplan verified that Competitive play is still on track for the end of June 2016, but did not suggest a specific date. He was reluctant to announce a specific date because he expects the launch date to be pushed back a couple more times. Players should prepare for an early July 2016 launch just in case.
The expected launch date hasn’t changed, but the mode itself has. Previously, ladder ranks would reset every month, just like in Hearthstone. Blizzard’s intention was to let players relive the ‘progression-based’ system they had in place. The ranking system worked very similarly to League of Legends ranking system during Season 4. There were five tiers: challenger, advanced, expert, master and heroic. Players wouldn’t be able to drop to lower tiers even if they consistently lost. Such a functionality is definitely not suited for a competitive environment, and I, for one, am glad they scrapped the idea.
The new Competitive play will be more ‘skill-based’ as described by Kaplan. First, instead of a season lasting only a month, Kaplan believes it’s most likely that each season will now last approximately two and a half months, with a week or two break-time between each season. Second, the tier system is still in place; however, players can drop to lower tiers if they continuously lose.
The queue system will be ‘dynamic’ which again, shouldn’t be anything new for League of Legends players. In a dynamic queue system, any number of players, up to a limit of six, can queue together. The matchmaking system then tries to find a party of the same number and equivalent skill to match the first party to. As the searching time for a game increases, the criteria for a match becomes looser. For example, after searching for a match for a certain amount of time, the system expands its criteria for a match to reduce searching time.
Kaplan made sure to emphasize that no plans are concretely set in stone yet. By the time Competitive play actually launches, some of the aforementioned details might be changed. He also insured that Blizzard will listen to any criticism from the community to establish a system that works for both parties. Until Competitive play arrives, keep practicing and honing your skills in Quick play to prepare your climb to becoming heroic!