The new Overwatch uprising matchmaking changes have been revealed
Overwatch is very much a game that is a work-in-progress, with Blizzard sticking with their plans to keep supporting the title fully on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
The latest instance of this is the Overwatch Uprising event, which launched earlier this week. Howver, while fans may have known about some of the recent hero rebalancing being done behind the scenes, there have been other bigger changes made too.
While only touched upon in the official Overwatch patch notes, more has been revealed about the matchmaking tweaks that are set to affect Competitive Play.
Overwatch principal designer Scott Mercer talked more on the reasoning behind tweaking the matchmaking rating [MMR] system and making the streak multiplier effect less aggressive.
MMR rating changes are accelerated based on win and loss streaks but this can sometimes go sideways due to “natural streaks”.
These can occur just through an unlucky run or when the matchmaker ends up putting you in several games that you lose through external forces – think player disconnections during the match.
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This has led Blizzed to tune down the effect of the streak multiplier, which will now work across more games.
“While this streak multiplier has been working well in the “smurf” case, win or loss streaks can also just naturally occur when the matchmaking system has already properly identified skill,” Mercer explains.
“After all, the matchmaker is trying to place in you fair matches where you have a 50% chance to win. It’s rare, but sometimes you flip a coin 5 times and it lands on heads every time.
“So, when these natural streaks occur, the multiplier has been accelerating gains and losses away from your “true” skill. You end up having a larger variance in skill rating over time, which in turn hurts the overall quality of the matches.
"Therefore, we’re changing the tuning of the streak multiplier to be quite a bit less aggressive. You now need to win or lose more games in a row before any multiplier is used, and it scales up at a slower pace.
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“Furthermore, we will now try to only use the multiplier in cases where the matchmaking system has some confidence that the player’s MMR and skill are wildly mismatched.
“In cases of natural, random streaks, you ideally shouldn’t see any acceleration either up or down at all.”
It appears that while this system has been great for catching players who are “smurfing” – top ranked players opening a new account and facing lower level opponents – it has also been pulling in other players.
“The faster we can update your matchmaking rating (MMR) to match your “real” skill, the fewer unfair matches get created with a player with inaccurate skill,” Mercer adds.
“Another way to look at it is that when we’re incorrect at identifying someone’s skill, then win or loss streaks can occur.
"One of the tools we use to accelerate a player to their appropriate MMR is a multiplier to the rating change based upon these consecutive wins or losses.
“We’ll be monitoring how these changes affect overall match quality going forward, and continue to adjust tuning over time to improve the fairness and quality of Overwatch matches.”