NERF THIS!: Proposed Changes to Overwatch’s Competitive Play Mode

•November 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Six seasons of Competitive Overwatch have delivered an intense experience that offers something more serious to those bored with Quick Play.

However, the established ranking system could use improvements to be more meaningful to players.

I have some proposed changes to Competitive Play that I think would make players feel more personally enriched, without compromising its integrity.

THE PROBLEM

Rank in Competitive Play is represented as a number between 1 and 5000. This number is called the player’s SR, or “Skill Rating”. Generally, players should improve over time and increase their skill rating.

However, the “skill” part is a little misleading, because you don’t actually gain SR when you as a player perform well, only when your team actually wins. 

Under the current Competitive system based on wins and losses, many players actually stay around the same rating, even after clear improvements with different characters and roles.

THE INSPIRATION

Now, let’s look at a game called Dead By Daylight.

DBD is a 4v1 asymmetrical multiplayer horror game in which four human-controlled survivors must fix generators to escape a “trial”, while outwitting one human-controlled killer. The killer’s job is to hunt down, attack, and sacrifice the survivors on hooks. There are perks, items, add-ons and offerings that make the game very strategic and deceptively complex.

Almost any mode you pick in DBD is a ranked mode. Ranks begin at 20 as the lowest and 1 as the highest. As a survivor, when you do stuff (work on objectives, rescue/ heal your teammates, sabotage the killer’s devices, etc.), you get points in categories based on your actions.

The points you earn go towards gaining you a “pip”, or notch, in your rank (you can also be awarded two pips if you went above and beyond). Once you have enough pips, you increase in rank.

This scoring system of awarding points based on contributions, is genius. It eliminates the feeling of helplessness when your team isn’t performing well, and shows you exactly how you made a difference (or didn’t). If you didn’t get enough points to gain a pip, that’s on you — You only get out what you put in.

Your rank shows other players your skill at the game, as it is a number that encapsulates how well you perform in escaping trials as a survivor. And starting at the bottom (20) means that when players see you at a high rank, they know you’ve worked hard and increased your skill to be at that rank.

THE PROPOSAL

The Skill Rating of Overwatch players should change on an individual basis to give players stronger ownership over their rank.

Instead of gaining or losing SR for a team win or loss, players should be awarded points for contributions they made during a match, and they gain or lose SR depending on how many points they were awarded.

Play healer? The amount of points you gain is directly related to how much you supported your team, and that determines how much your SR changes.

Play DPS? Your points are awarded based on eliminations and damage dealt.

Play tank? You gain points for blocking and absorbing damage, as well as dealing damage. All classes also gain points for objective time.

Basically, if you don’t get enough points, you didn’t “do enough” during the match, and you lose SR. If you do get enough points, that means you had a strong performance, and you gain SR accordingly.

THE CONCLUSION

Under Overwatch‘s current Skill Rating system, the number that defines an individual player’s skill is reliant on the performance of a team.

With my proposal, each player’s actions contributes to their own personal Skill Rating. This Skill Rating will show individual players how well they actually perform in their games.

This experience will be more personally enriching to players, and give them ownership over their rank.

 

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Tail Concerto – Part 7

•July 22, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Let’s rescue the Archeonis! I also talk a little about how refreshing it is to play this kind of game in an age of first person shooters.

Tail Concerto – Part 6

•July 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment

More mines, and we fight Alicia and the gang again!

Half-Life 2’s Bizarre Legacy

•June 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I beat Half-Life 2 again for the first time in about 10 years. The game has aged INCREDIBLY well. Unbelievably well. For a game that came out in 2004, it has better animation, lighting and textures than a lot of games today. First person shooting and platforming feels just right. Physics-based puzzles are unique and feel like there isn’t always one, clear answer, and you won’t solve them the same way twice. There are some dull moments, parts that go on a little too long, and occasional instances where it’s unclear as to where the player is supposed to go next, and it can take you a little out of the experience. However, for the most part, HL2 still stands up as a masterpiece you must play before you die.

What’s really fascinating and amazing to me, is the fan-created content HL2 spawned that is sort of this bizarre legacy it has left behind. The Source engine was made with user generated content (UGC) in mind, but I think the users generated more content and WILDER content than Valve ever imagined. It started with just simple maps and mods, but Garry’s Mod changed everything when you could import any model made for the Source engine into a puppet playground. There are kids today who grew up watching GMod animated videos on YouTube with characters from the very serious video game Half-Life 2 doing very silly things, and that’s wild to me. And this was several years after the game’s release! Even today, people are still doing things with Source and HL2 content.

Everything from mods to games to obtuse film projects have been made using Source, and although the tools are quite old and many struggle to interface with current versions of Windows, they are still being used today to make art because of their accessibility. And I think that’s really fascinating, and makes Half-Life 2 one the most unique games in history, for its ability to tell a good story with quality assets, then make all of those assets available for others to make their own story.

The Source engine is a gift that keeps on giving, and while Half-Life 3 may not be a game we will get to play in the foreseeable future, Source will regardless forever be Valve’s greatest and most memorable contribution to mixed media storytelling and UGC.

Tail Concerto – Part 5

•May 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Exploring the Mines…

Tail Concerto – Parts 3 and 4

•April 6, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I uploaded these almost back-to-back, so here they are in one post!

Checking out Airleaf, and then investigating the mines of Ferzen.

 

Tail Concerto – Part 2

•March 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Playing more Tail Concerto!

 
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