Overwatch players have been testing the game's new competitive mode and they're not thrilled about the way it handles sudden death.
Right now, a competitive game sees you playing two rounds on the same map, with both teams having a chance to attack and defend. However if these two rounds result in a tie (with both teams completing their objectives), the game is decided by one final, quickfire round.
The problem here is that the teams' roles for this final round (attack/defence) are determined by a coin toss. If both teams have had an easier time on the offence, for example, then it could be argued that this coin toss is giving one set of players an unfair advantage.
Overwatch game director, Jeff Kaplan, took to the Battle.net forums to explain what the team is doing to address this.
Initially, the match length will be tweaked, he said, with the timer for Assault, Escort and Hybrid maps reduced from five minutes to four minutes, as well as knocking down the sudden death timer from two minutes to one minute and 45 seconds.
Presumably, the shorter game length will lead to fewer ties, and, if sudden death is then needed, the attacking team will have a little less time to complete their objective.
This should help, I'm sure, but it doesn't truly address the fact that players just don't like this mechanic.
Thankfully, Blizzard does have more substantial, long-term plans in mind.
First of all, the Escort and Hybrid modes are set to be reworked. If both teams manage to push their payloads to the end of the map, with time to spare, a second match will be played on that same map.
However, the game will remember how much time both teams had left in each round, and give them exactly that much time to push their new payload as far as possible during two additional rounds. The winning team is the one that makes it the farthest.
This means that a tie will only be possible if both teams once again push their payload to the very end of the map, which is unlikely.
This, in turn, allows the Overwatch team to think about bigger changes when it comes to sudden death.
"We're looking at a variety of different, longer-term solutions that involve removing the coin flip and sudden death completely," said Kaplan. "For example, right now we're exploring ways to allow for matches that would otherwise result in sudden death to instead resolve in a draw where neither team wins or loses.
"In that situation, our goal would be to make sure the match still felt rewarding for both teams, and that players could walk away feeling like it was time well invested.
"It's important to remember that the removal of sudden death/the addition of draws would accompany the format changes to Escort and Hybrid maps, which means that draws should be VERY rare overall."
These changes are unlikely to arrive until autumn, which means Overwatch's first competitive season will go ahead with sudden death in place.
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