Toward the end of its closed beta, Overwatch got an update that included ranked play and seasons. For some, it was the final piece of the puzzle, the competitive aspect that’d keep them coming back. Blizzard, however, is revamping it.
Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan explained in a forum post:
“We worked extremely hard to get Competitive Play in the game for Closed Beta. We’ve been reading feedback from the community and taking it all to heart. As a result, we’ve temporarily disabled Competitive Play for Open Beta so that we can rework the system and make it better.”
“Our plan is to bring back a newly re-designed version of Competitive Play sometime after Overwatch launches.”
During Overwatch’s closed beta, most players appreciated competitive mode conceptually, but derided Blizzard’s execution for a number of reasons. Some were wary of the system’s structure, which let pretty much anybody make their way into the big leagues if they just played enough matches. They felt like it didn’t place enough emphasis on skill, overcoming challenges, and improving. Others felt like the tier system was poorly thought out, emphasizing grinding over actual long-term progression.
Certainly, there’s an appeal to letting everybody feel like they’re the baddest cyborg ninja/Ice Climber cosplayer/last-second Halloween costume buyer on the planet, but that’s what Overwatch’s non-ranked mode is for. In a good competitive mode, progress is earned, not gifted, and you sometimes have to face tangible setbacks.
Given that the Overwatch team has been very receptive to feedback so far, I imagine they’re taking those critiques to heart. Already, they addressed my criticism that there aren’t enough videos of Winston awkwardly bumbling his way through filming a vlog:
Overwatch’s open beta kicks off on May 5. It’s already up and running for folks who pre-ordered.