The condensed seasons will offer a tighter window for players to climb the ranked ladder. Kaplan explained that player statistics suggest high engagement and competitive games tend to group more toward the beginning of the seasons. As such, a shorter competitive season might be able to retain the same amount of interest from the players without them feeling like it’s too long. The two month season will be on a trial basis for now, with more potential changes possible in the future.
The way control map types are played in competitive mode will also change. Instead of a best-of-five, the it will be played in a best-of-three, like it is in the Free Play game mode. Kaplan said that the control maps are often very close and go into overtime, making the game longer compared to other map types. The change will make the games go quicker and theoretically reduce the disappointment in the event of a loss.
Climbing the ranks in competitive play will also be presumably smoother, as Kaplan announced Season 6 will award more skill rating points to the winners. On top of that, the placement of players will also be tweaked, placing them in the rank that will most accurately reflect their level of play. Previously, the system put players in a rank slightly below what their skill rating suggested, but not anymore.
For those players is Diamond, Master, and Grand Master in competitive play, skill rating decay has been somewhat of a problem. Players in those ranks are required to play many games each week in order to keep their ranking, or else see their rating decay over time. In Season 6, the mandatory games will go from seven to five games per week. The daily skill rating decay for those players unable to play at least five competitive games per week will also be reduced from 50 to 25.
Match making time will undergo a slight increase in the high tiers of competitive. Kaplan explained that in the interest of the most fair matchups, the higher ranked players will have to wait a bit more, given that there aren’t many of them. This is another area open to change, though, as Kaplan also said that if long wait times become too much of an issue, or if the match making system is still showing signs of creating bad matchups, fixes will be implemented.
Cover photo courtesy of Blizzard