Posted Sun Jun 26, 2016 at 08:13 AM PDT by Connor Sears
Perhaps eventually leaving it out entirely.
'Overwatch' Competitive Play will be seeing further tweaks to make games that end in Sudden Deaths less common, with the ultimate goal to take Sudden Deaths out of ranked play entirely.
Last week, 'Overwatch' director Jeff Kaplan laid out the changes that developer Blizzard is making to the game's ranked competitive mode before its upcoming launch for the Summer 2016 season. Now that some of the changes have been tested and critiqued by players in the game's Public Test Region, Kaplan posted on Blizzard's Battle.net forums to detail further short-term and long-term changes that are planned for Sudden Death, the aspect of compeitive play that still doesn't sit right with 'Overwatch' players, according to Kaplan's summary of received feedback.
Since the initial changes, Kaplan notes that matches ending in Sudden Death now make up only 9 percent of Assault games, a result Blizzard seems to be happy with. Escort maps and Hybrid maps, however, still see Sudden Death rates as high as 18 percent and 29 percent, respectively. A short-term fix Blizzard is planning to help lower those rates is by changing initial match times from 5 minutes to 4 minutes and taking 15 seconds off the Sudden Death timer's current 2-minute clock.
Longer-term fixes include implementing the "time bank" system currently used on Assault maps into Escort and Hybrid maps. This system keeps track of the time left on the game clock when both teams get their payload to the end of the map. If both teams push their payloads all the way with time to spare, a bonus round starts on the same map in which each team pushes its payload as far as possible with the time left over from their original push. The team that pushes its payload farther in this bonus round wins, hopefully resulting in a lower Sudden Death rate.
Kaplan notes that these longer-term changes wouldn't be implemented until the Fall 2016 season, so the game's opening competitive season will launch with the current rule setup.
As for the Sudden Death mechanic itself, Kaplan admits that it might never be perfectly acceptable to all players. "We're very open to changing and tweaking this system," Kaplan writes, "but we're also realizing that Sudden Death mechanics, in whatever format we might use, all have problems and we may be in a situation where we won't be able to please the majority of our competitive players."
According to Kaplan, the endgame of these balance changes will be to do away with Sudden Death entirely, instead allowing matches to end in a tie. Blizzard would just have to make sure that matches only rarely end in a tie, and that the tie still feels satisfying to the players.
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