Over the last 3 months, Blizzards' been listening to your feedback and working behind the scenes to make the next season of Competitive Play, even better. So before you dive into your placement matches, let’s talk about some of the changes coming to Season 4.
In Season 2, we asw the introduction of the skill rating decay system, which required players in the Diamond, Master, and Grandmaster tiers to complete at least one competitive match every seven days in order to prevent their skill rating from dropping. In the upcoming Season 4 however, players with a skill rating above 3000 will need to complete at least seven games per week. This means the Skill Rating will be more accurate to the actual skill level of the player and as well make maintaining multiple high-level accounts more difficult, and make upper-tier placement more meaningful.
When you complete a match, the amount of time until skill rating decay occurs is pushed back by 24 hours, and you can bank up to seven days per week. That means as long as you manage to play seven games over a one-week period, your skill rating will be safe. You could play one match per day or complete all seven in a single session. It’s up to you.
Last season, Blizzards' worked again on the skill rating and placement match mechanics to more accurately place players into an appropriate tier. Overall, these changes were fine and turned out great. However, a few issues remained at the very bottom of skill rating spectrum.
Some players, for instance, have been throwing matches on purpose for the sole reason to reach the absolute lowest attainable skill rating. As Blizzard doesn't want to incentivize this behavior—because Competitive Play works best when everybody is trying— they're making it a little more difficult to hit the lowest and highest possible ratings: 0 and 5000. Also, skill ratings that are lower than 500, won't be displayed anymore. This change won't have any effect on players who have a skill rating between 500 and 4500.
Then there are some changes coming to the Top 500 leaderboard. Previously, any player who managed to set foot into the top 500 at any point throughout the season would receive a special spray and player icon at the end of the season. This means that alot of these players no longer had any reason or motivation to maintain their status as the season progressed, which resulted in less competitive matches toward the end of the season.
Starting today, these rewards will only be granted if the player is in the top 500 leaderboard at the end of the season. This will make the leaderboard rankings at the end of a season much more competitive as players fight for that place in the Top 500.
Until now, stalling an attack by repeatedly throwing yourself at the point has been a defensive strategy seen often on Assault, Escort, and Assault/Escort maps, even when the attacking team has a decisive advantage. This tactic doesn’t change the outcome of battle though, it simply delays the attackers’ progress.
This season, Blizzard decided to implement a respawn time delay that’s activated when the attackers outnumber the defenders on a contested point. If the point hasn’t been captured by the attackers and the defenders didn't regain the advantage after a specified time, the defenders respawn timer will slowly begin to increase until it hits a maximum value. If the defense manages to gain the upper hand, the timer resets to zero.
The idea behind this change is to improve the attackers’ ability to capture the point (when they have the advantage), encourage defenders to group up and retake the objective, and reduce the number of ties. However, it seems Blizzards' also working on a more robust solution for breaking ties on Assault maps.
Season 4 is live right now on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, so quickly fire up your favorite gaming machine and join the competitive fight! We’ll see you there!
*For more info on Patch notes and balance changes for Season 4 Competitive Play, click HERE.