Overwatch‘s Season 4 of Competitive Play is now live, and it’s brought about a significant change that will force teams to rethink defensive strategy.
One of the more common criticisms of Competitive Play was that matches too often resulted in draws.
Blizzard has addressed this criticism by nerfing the respawn timer for struggling teams in an effort to reward attacking teams that have the upper-hand.
Previously, teams could stall an attack by repeatedly throwing themselves at a point. This was a common defensive strategy on Assault, Escort and Assault/Escort maps, and it frustrated the hell out of attacking teams that had otherwise dominated the match.
“Typically, this tactic doesn’t change the outcome of battle; it simply delays the attackers’ progress,” Blizzard said.
The nature of the match generally meant that struggling teams could still manage to halt the progress of the opposing team, regardless of their structure or performance. Essentially, the game was inadvertently punishing well-performing teams.
With Season 4, Blizzard has introduced a respawn time delay. It will activate whenever the attackers outnumber the defenders on a contested point.
If the point hasn’t been captured and the defense hasn’t regained an advantage within a specific time, the defender’s respawn timer will increase until it hits a maximum value.
Once the defense gains the upper hand, the timer will reset down to zero.
Ideally, this change will allow attacking teams to capture points when they have a clear advantage on a map. Further, it will hopefully encourage teams to group up in order to retake objectives, rather than simply rush the point alone after a respawn.
There’s more work being done to tweak this change on Assault maps, but Blizzard says overall it should drastically reduce the number of ties.
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