Overwatch's Competitive Play mode is set to release this month, and game director Jeff Kaplan has now detailed what players can expect to see in a newdeveloper update video. There are changes to Assault, season length, and how the competitive mode will define your ranking. You can watch it for yourself in the video above.
One of the things players asked for was an extension to seasons, which were only a month long during the beta. Each season will now be about two and a half months long with a two week break in between each one. They'll be based on real-world seasons in the Northern hemisphere--for example, December through February could be the winter season.
Additionally, Kaplan notes that games would too commonly end with sudden death. He said that it would go to the tiebreaker 35 percent of the time, which was too much for Blizzard. The developer has put some changes in place that will help minimize the number of times this happens, and when it does happen, the sudden death will occur on the same map you just played on.
Assault mode will also see a change to its format to make matches last longer and to produce more opportunities for the round to go back and forth between the two teams. Kaplan apologized for not getting specific, though promised the studio would share more details in the future.
Kaplan also detailed changes to Competitive Play's ranking system. The old system focused on progression, where if you reached a certain tier, you could never drop out of it. Blizzard has changed it so there are no more tiers and will instead use your skill rating to determine your opponents--you'll get your initial skill rating from placement matches.
At the beginning of each match, you'll be able to see every player's skill rating, so you'll know exactly who you're playing with and going up against--you'll also know which players are partied up. Kaplan noted that not every match is going to be fair and explained that if you're on the less-skilled team, you "stand to gain more if you win and you will lose less if you lose."
"The downside of a system like this is [your skill rating is] going to go down sometimes," Kaplan said. "But this is the sort of competitive system that we think players who are attracted to competitive play really want.
"If it's not, I hope we've proven throughout the beta, and our responsiveness to change Competitive Play over time, that we're going to change this system over time to really be right for Overwatch and the players of Overwatch."
Kaplan said Blizzard wants the game "to be as great as you do," as it's not only working on the game, it's playing it, too. He added that they'll continue to change the mode as feedback comes in and will make adjustments between seasons.
The devleoper finished the video by talking about cosmetic rewards you'll receive by playing the competitive mode. In addition to exclusive sprays and player icons, he discusses a customized golden gun system, which outfits your characters with gold-colored weapons.
"The highest-skilled players will be able to unlock that stuff way sooner than anybody else," Kaplan explained. "And there will also be some exclusive, other cosmetic rewards that only the highest-skilled players can get--that nobody else can get."
In other Overwatch news, Kaplan recently discussed new heroes and maps the team has in the pipeline, including a map that was "amazing yet a total disaster."
Overwatch also saw an update recently that nerfed both McCree and Widowmaker. It made McCree's alt-fire and Widowmaker's submachine gun less powerful.