Ranked play in Overwatch is releasing this month, and game director Jeff Kaplan educates fans on what fundamentals have been changed since the closed beta.
More Overwatch news emerges as Jeff Kaplan, game director of the first-person shooter, has detailed exactly what players can expect when the game's ranked mode comes out later this month.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Kaplan announced that the system won't be too similar to the way ranked play was handled in Overwatch's closed beta, stating that previously, the ranked gameplay was "frustrating because it was unfinished."
"We got enough sentiment from the competitive community that we realized we needed to make some changes," he said. "The system that we had implemented was what we like to call 'progression-based'."
Although the system has its upsides, with a monthly reset allowing players to experience the progression through the ranks multiple times, the way ranked was handled also had its flaws. The tiered rankings had players making their way up through the system from Challenger through to Heroic. However players couldn't drop back down the list, only rise up further, which Kaplan claims will not be the case in the new ranked formula.
Players will now go up and down tiers based on their progress in the game, making it much harder to perform well enough to make it into the higher rankings. Not everyone will be able to make it into the Heroic rank, in much the same way that not everybody can get to legendary in Blizzard's card game Hearthstone. The new ranked seasons will also be longer, giving players more time to reach their top rank. Each season will last around two and a half months, matching the real-world seasons, before ranks are reset.
More details will be released in the future, but Kaplan believes that these issues were what players were most concerned about with Overwatch's ranked play. Given Blizzard's recent announcement that the shooter will see separate balancing for consoles and PC platforms, its almost certain that a player reaching a certain rank on PC might not be able to replicate that rank on a PS4 or Xbox One copy of the game.
The console versions of Overwatch will remain fundamentally the same however, which further allows for speculation as to whether we'll see cross-platform play in the future. If implemented, this will allow the game's console fanbase to play together regardless of the system they are playing on, without the intrusion of PC gamers whose hardware is known to allow for quicker reactions in first-person shooter gameplay.
Overwatch is now available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.