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Overwatch updated to address Competitive Play skill rating issues when people leave games

UPDATE: Change definitely live but Blizzard concerned calculations "don't make sense" to players.

UPDATE 12TH JULY: The reason people weren't seeing the below change in effect was because of a bug, Blizzard has explained. The change is definitely live now.

"At this time, we can confirm that the change is live and, according to the data that we have, has been working correctly since last Friday night," wrote Lylirra, community manager, on the Overwatch forum. "While leavers previously had an impact on how Skill Rating was adjusted, they don't appear to anymore (and haven't for a few days)."

Lylirra added - acknowledged, perhaps - that "it's not always clear right now why your Skill Rating is adjusted the way it is", as it takes into account other factors besides how many people are on each team. "That's a concern for us," she said, "because we not only want Skill Rating to be accurate, but also for it to make sense. The fact that it doesn't is good feedback for us, and seeing how we can make Skill Rating feel better/be clearer is definitely something we'll be keeping in mind as we look at ways to improve Competitive Play for future seasons."

She reinforced that demonstrably listening to your feedback "is something that's important to us". The assumption that there was "a lack of clarity on our end ... [is] not an assumption we're okay with".

I wish I had a skill rating that high.

ORIGINAL STORY 8TH JULY: If an opposing Overwatch player has a strop because they're about to lose a Competitive Play game, and leaves before the match is concluded, they should no longer fudge the end-of-game calculations and how many skill points are awarded to the winners. Previously, fewer skill points were given because the game saw an unbalanced six-people-versus-five result.

"We've recently implemented a change on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One so that, if a player leaves mid-match, it will no longer affect how skill rating is adjusted at the end of a match," wrote Blizzard community manager Lylirra on the Overwatch forum.

There's speculation, however, about whether the change has been implemented. Numerous Overwatch subreddit members say they've experienced no change, and we cannot see any update applied to our game (although maybe it's a sever-side thing).

Lylirra explained that the skill rating reward calculation was based upon the probability of a team's winning. If a team had higher-rated players, and therefore a higher overall skill rating, the game would favour that team to win.

"Right now, the way system works is that if your team is favoured to win, you will gain less skill rating for a win and lose more skill rating for a loss. And if your team is NOT favoured to win, you will gain more skill rating for a win and lose less skill rating for a loss," wrote Lylirra.

It was this probability-of-winning that was being recalculated when people left the game.

"Previously, if a player from either team left mid-match, the game would automatically recalculate each team's probability of winning. The assumption was that if a team was a person down, the odds of them winning would go down, too, and that the most accurate thing we could do was account for this when adjusting each player's skill rating at the end of the match," wrote Lylirra.

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This system wasn't working out; it "incentivised bad behaviour".

"As a result, the game will no longer recalculate each team's probability of winning whenever one or more people leave, and instead will scale off the probability originally established at the beginning of the match (just as it would if there were no leavers)," wrote Lylirra.

This may technically make skill rating adjustments "a little less accurate", apparently, "but it should feel better" for the people who stick around.

"We also hope this will remove the incentive to 'troll' a winning team by leaving, since it will no longer have an impact on anyone's skill rating," wrote Lylirra.

Overwatch was patched yesterday to fix Zarya, Mercy and Winston bugs as well as tinker with some timers in Competitive Play Sudden Death rounds. Blizzard has also been teasing the reveal of a new Overwatch hero, a support sniper who's suspected to be Ana Amari, Pharah's mother - possibly also known as Sombra.

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