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After a brief interlude following the conclusion of the first competitive season for Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch, it’s time to pick up your gun/turret/oversized hammer and compete for a spot in the limelight in season 2! While I’ll go through the major changes and tweaks in the article below, you can also read Blizzard’s own blog post about the changes by going here

As was promised by the developer before the conclusion of Season 1, Season 2 will have a range of changes that should make the experience more enjoyable for everyone, regardless of how high or low in the rankings you might find yourself. First up are the changes made to the game’s skill rating.

For season 2, we’ve retooled the skill rating system. Instead of measuring player ratings on a 100-point scale, skill ratings will now range from 1 to 5000. This expanded scale should give players more detail about how their skill rating changes on a game-by-game basis.

Players above skill rating 3000 will also have to deal with skill rating decay. This means that you’ll need to stay active during the season to maintain the ranking you have. What this comes down to is this: you need to play (and finish) at least one competitive game per 7 days. Failing to do so will knock off 50 points from your ranking for every 24 hours of inactivity after the 7 day grace period. Players will need to win at least 50 matches to get a spot in the top 500 and being inactive for 7 days will automatically drop you out of the top 500. 

The way your performance is displayed will also change in Season 2. Instead of trying to make your way to rank 1 (from a maximum of level 100), this new system introduces 7 distinct tiers, not unlike the one you see in Heroes of the Storm

Overwatch competitive tiers

Each tier has a unique icon that will be displayed next to a player’s name, so you’ll be able to size up your competition at a glance. A detailed breakdown of the skill tiers, along with icons and information about the corresponding skill ratings can be found by pressing the “Information” button under the Competitive Play menu.

Every match won nets you 10 competitive points, and the maximum amount of points you’ll be able to get during the season has been capped at 6000. If you reach this cap you won’t be able to acquire more points by winning matches, although you will still get the end-of-season rewards. 

Once you’ve been promoted to a higher tier than the one you’ve started on you won’t be able to drop to a lower tier for the duration of this season. This, however, is different for players in the Master and Grandmaster tiers. These players will need to maintain a minimum skill rating. Failure to do so means you’ll be demoted to a lower tier. 

Another major change is that the devs are removing sudden deaths from the competitive mode. Instead of this, Blizzard has implemented a version of the time banking system players will know from the Assault game mode. 

Throughout the match, the game keeps track of how much time each team has left on the clock. When a competitive match is tied after both teams have played one round on offense and one on defense, a new attack/defend rotation will be played using the time bank system. The amount of time that each team will have for the second round depends on how much time was left on the clock at the end of their previous round.

When the second round is initiated, teams with less than 60 seconds remaining will have their time increased to 60 seconds, and an equal amount of time will always be added to the opposing team’s clock. Also, on Assault and Assault/Escort maps, it’s possible for the match to end in a draw if both teams are tied when the clock expires.

Blizzard also addressed one of the biggest concerns of the community: leavers. While Blizzard recently implemented a 10-minute penalty for players who leave competitive matches. If you leave too many games your account will be in bad standing and you’ll need to complete more games to restore the good standing status on your account. 

While Season 2 has already started on PC, players on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will have to wait until next week until they can start.

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Chris Anderson

Assoc. News Editor

I've been playing games since I was just barely able to walk, and I never really stopped playing them. When I'm not fulfilling my duties as assistant news editor and tech reviewer, I'm either working on music, producing one of two podcasts or doing freelance work.