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Overwatch Season 2 Begins, Brings New Map

Overwatch update 1.3 is now live on public servers, bringing changes to competitive play for season 2, a new Assault/Escort map called Eichenwalde, and balance tweaks to D.Va, Zenyatta and others. The standout changes are a change to skill ratings and the elimination of sudden death from the game’s competitive modes, but the full list of changes is long.

The update has been available in the test realm for a while now, meaning we already knew about most of these changes – including the new map and the death of sudden death.

Matches which end in a draw will now simply end in a draw, giving three Competitive Points to players, but they’ve “made some changes to our game modes in Competitive Play to help reduce the chance that a draw can happen.”

If three Competitive Points sounds like a lot for a draw, that’s because you used to receive only one for a win. Now you’ll receive ten for winning a match. Numbers have become bigger across the board; player’s individual skill rating is now measured on a 1-5000 scale instead of the former 1-100 scale. Players are then assigned to tiers which determines who you’ll be playing with in competitive matchmaking.

The patch notes also break down each individual change to the game’s heroes, with helpful developer comments on each to explain why the change was made. For example, D.Va’s defense matrix will now begin regenerating after a 1-second delay rather than 0.5 seconds, because it “was too efficient when tapped repeatedly, instead of being held.” I like the way games like this are a constant negotiation between developers and the people who discover strange strategies in high-level play.

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Graham Smith

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