In a new post at the Blizzard Forums, Overwatch principal designer Scott Mercer reveals that the next competitive season for Blizzard's online shooter will begin on December 1.
Competitive play season two of Blizzard's popular online multiplayer Overwatch has been underway for a couple of months now, and the addition of free post-launch content - such as the first post-launch DLC map Eichenwalde - has kept players consistently engaged. Given that each competitive play season will roughly match the real-world seasons, season two is scheduled to end in a few weeks time, but according to a new Overwatch announcement, players won't have to wait long for season three to begin.
In a new post over at the Blizzard Forums, Overwatch principal designer Scott Mercer announced that the third season of competitive play will commence on December 1 and that testing is currently underway on the PTR. Given that season two is scheduled to end on November 24, one week is a quick turnaround for Blizzard, but this shortened off-season downtime was done "based on community feedback" according to Mercer. Furthermore, during the upcoming off-season, Blizzard have also added an in-game countdown clock to when the next season begins, which is a small but welcome little touch.
As for what players can expect in the next season, Mercer revealed some major changes to how Overwatch will handle everyone's skill rating. Due to the initial intention of wanting fair matches between teams while also having each season feel like a new start, Blizzard will instead will use everyone's skill rating from the previous season as a "starting point". Mercer also stated that the team are now leaning towards keeping things fair rather than giving everyone a fresh start, so players can expect their initial skill rating to be "slightly lower" than previous seasons.
In terms of additional content beyond skill rating and tier changes - such as new maps or the elusive Sombra - Mercer didn't reveal any details regarding the most recent PTR patch. Given that the new PTR patch will be developed using a more measured approach, we can probably expect announcements and reveals closer to the launch date of season three. What we do know is that Blizzard intend to try out a number of significant changes for Overwatch's entire hero roster, though whether these changes will actually be in the final build remains to be seen.
In the meantime, there are still a number of weeks before December 1, so players have more than enough time to play out season two of Overwatch's competitive play and the Halloween Terror event that's currently underway.
Overwatch is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.