The latest 1.10 update for Overwatch has a long list of adjustments and changes. One of the more talked-about tweaks is that of changes to Skill Rating in Competitive Play, and how winning and losing streaks affect your rating.
Previously, consecutive wins or losses would initiate a multiplier that would speed up the rate at which your Skill Rating rises or falls, respectively.
That system is still in place, primarily to compensate for smurfing, meaning losing three or four CP matches in a row won’t lead to as big a fall in Skill Rating as before.
Game director, Jeff Kaplan, took to the forums to explain Blizzard’s stance on smurfing, which is the act of creating a new account so as to be matched with players of a lower skill.
Kaplan explained that, after studying a pro Overwatch player’s smurfing stream, they found that the matchmaking rank of the player was even with their original account within 15 matches.
In order words, smurfing isn’t anywhere near as bad as some within the community say it is, because a smurfing player eventually finds themselves competing against similarly-skilled players.
Nonetheless, part of the reason why smurfing isn’t so influential is because of the streak multiplier, which has always been in place but has now been tweaked to be less damaging on losing streaks.
“Win or loss streaks can also just naturally occur when the matchmaking system has already properly identified skill,” principal designer, Scott Mercer, explained. “After all, the matchmaker is trying to place in you fair matches where you have a 50% chance to win. It’s rare, but sometimes you flip a coin 5 times and it lands on heads every time.”
Mercer says the streak multiplier will now be less aggressive, and that you’ll need to win or lose more matches in a row for it to be used.
“And it scales up at a slower pace,” he said. “Furthermore, we will now try to only use the multiplier in cases where the matchmaking system has some confidence that the player’s MMR and skill are wildly mismatched. In cases of natural, random streaks, you ideally shouldn’t see any acceleration either up or down at all.”
For those of us that go on those massive losing streaks and are convinced it’s the team and not our own play, this is extremely good news. Smurfing is an issue, because if you’re caught competing against a smurfer in that 15-game window, it can really hurt your SR. Reducing the aggressiveness of the multiplier should address that.
There are many other big changes in patch 1.10. Check out the full list here.