Although Blizzard promised that the dreaded Overwatch 2 rank decay would not happen in its latest season, some players are finding that their competitive rankings are, well, decaying. They’ve taken to Twitter, Reddit, and the Blizzard forums to complain about what appear to be drastic drops in their ranks, with many joking that the removal of rank decay seems to have resulted in even more rank decay. But, what players are seeing may just be the after-effects of Blizzard’s attempts to fix Overwatch 2’s messy matchmaking and confusing ranking systems.
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Rank decay is a mechanic Blizzard had in place in previous Overwatch 2 seasons, which downranked players’ competitive tiers and divisions if they hadn’t played for a while, and automatically at the start of each new season. It was universally disliked, so back in January, Blizzard announced it was going to “remove seasonal competitive rank resets and all current and past seasonal rank decay” with Season 4. And ahead of Season 4, Blizzard detailed the upcoming competitive changes in a lengthy forum post, writing that rank decay and its lingering effects were, indeed, going bye-bye as of April 11, and “everyone’s skill tier and division have been adjusted to match the current estimate of your skill.”
However, many players are reportedly dealing with lower competitive ranks in Overwatch 2 Season 4, leading them to believe rank decay still exists (or that some sort of seasonal rank reset took place), but the actual situation is a bit more complicated than that.
Overwatch 2 rank changes explained
Ultimately, after all the back-and-forth in forums about rank decay, rank resets, skill tier division (or STD, lol), and players’ hidden matchmaking ranking (or MMR), the latest changes in Overwatch 2 Season 4 are an attempt to rectify the confusion and issues with its competitive mode. That means that your competitive rank should be a lot closer to your hidden MMR, or the rating that you earn and lose points toward after every game played—whether it’s comp mode or not.
While some players may see an increase in their rank because of this, others (especially, it seems, those in higher ranks like Diamond and Masters), have seen their numbers drastically drop. And for them, it doesn’t seem like a fair approximation of their skill level. It doesn’t help that there’s currently a bug whereby Season 3 end-of-season final ranks were adjusted down with the move to the new ranking system, and players were given lower tier rewards and/or “wrongly decayed” current rankings as described in a recent update from Blizzard. According to the post, however, “players who reach their next Competitive Update should receive their expected ranks.”
Overwatch game director Aaron Keller took to Twitter late on April 12 to detail Blizzard’s plans to rectify the end-of-season ranking bug, writing that the team has “identified a fix and plan to include it in the next patch later this month. Impacted players should receive their correct Season 3 ranking and receive competitive points and titles based on where they ended once the patch goes live. To help make up for it, competitive points will be granted again. So these players will get both the correct CP gain, but they also get to keep the original grant we gave them.”
So, if you feel like your rank is wrongfully fucked up in Overwatch 2, you just need to complete the necessary games in order to re-adjust, which should then properly reflect your skill level: five wins or 15 losses. If your rank still feels wrong after that, well, that’s on you, baby. Get gud, I guess.
For what it’s worth, I have felt wrongfully and cruelly trapped in Gold since Overwatch 2 launched. In the original game, I was a Platinum-ranked support player, and at one brief point, a globally ranked Moira player. I briefly dipped into Platinum in Overwatch 2 Season 3 but ended my season in low Gold. I logged in today to confirm that I am, indeed, still in Gold 5 despite hoping the rank adjustment would reflect my superior support skills, but maybe that’ll change after my next comp update. I will note that both my tank and DPS role ranks were increased—which feels fair, as I was previously in low Silver and mid Bronze, respectively.
Here’s hoping that I’ll claw my way back to Platinum again in this current season. I don’t know if I can take much more queuing in Gold.
Update 4/13/2023 at 10:45 a.m. ET: Updated to included comment from Aaron Keller.