Why Is Overwatch 2's Competitive Mode Broken?

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Changes to Competitive in Overwatch 2 & Skill Resets 4
Credit: Blizzard

Overwatch 2 is here, and so is the game’s competitive, ranked mode. There are big changes that have come to ranked play in Overwatch 2 from the original game, and while many of them are exciting to most fans, the competitive play experience right now is not good. Check the forum of your choice or your favorite YouTuber and you’ll find out Overwatch 2’s ranked mode is in chaos and has been since launch. So, in this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about why Overwatch 2’s competitive mode is broken.

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Changes to Competitive in Overwatch 2 & Skill Resets

Changes to Competitive in Overwatch 2 & Skill Resets
Credit: Blizzard

A lot has changed with Overwatch 2’s competitive mode from the original game. Gone is SR, no more skill rating values for you, that’s all been replaced by the more modern version: a Bronze, Silver, Gold, etcetera ranking system. What’s more, though, is that now in Overwatch your rank won’t be adjusted up after every win and down after every loss.

In fact, your rank won’t be changing at all game-to-game. Now, after every 7 wins or 20 losses (neither of which has to be in a row), your ranking will be evaluated. And make sure you read that word, evaluated, because sometimes, it won’t change, even if you have won your 7 games. For example, you might be in Bronze 5, the lowest rank, but you could be at the very low end, internally, at that rank, so it may take you a number of skill evaluations to rank up.

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The idea here was to take the stress of players watching ratings go up and down and give players a better view of their skill over a number of games rather than changing skill to reflect each and every game. In general, changes like these are positively viewed by the community, but the problem comes in there, too.

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See, all these changes to Overwatch 2’s competitive mode have necessitated a skill rating reset, according to Blizzard. It’s unclear exactly how this works, and Blizzard isn’t saying, but the gist is that regardless of what your competitive rank was in the original game, you’re going to be placing lower than you expect when you start playing Overwatch 2. What’s more is that many, many players of much higher skill ratings are finding themselves at Bronze rank.

The problem then becomes that players of vastly different levels of experience with Overwatch as well as different skill levels are playing together. So, you can very easily find yourself on a team with low-skill players while the enemy team is much stronger, or vice versa, leading to many complaints about unbelievably easy games or insanely unfair matchups. In a sense, Overwatch 2’s competitive mode is the Wild West right now.

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A Whole New Meta

Changes to Competitive in Overwatch 2 & Skill Resets 2
Credit: Blizzard

While Overwatch 2 may not be a significantly different game from the original, the meta is, in fact, very different. Both the move to 5v5 over 6v6 and the many balancing changes to heroes alongside the introduction of powerful new heroes have fundamentally changed how to be successful at the game. Matches play very differently, especially in Overwatch 2’s competitive mode.

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What this means is those old strategies that worked in Overwatch might not work as well in Overwatch 2. Old heroes that were strong in Overwatch are not necessarily strong in Overwatch 2. This may sound obvious, but there’s a debate going on as to whether Overwatch 2 is an update or a new game, and most who’re playing Overwatch 2’s competitive mode are coming there after playing the competitive mode in the original game.

So, there’s not only a varied skill gap within the ranks at the moment, but many folks are not playing as well as they should be because they’re still getting used to an entirely meta in the game, compounding the original issues and making games feel like a flip of a coin as to whether you’ll be spawn trapping or you’ll be getting spawn trapped.

Voice Chat in Overwatch 2

Changes to Competitive in Overwatch 2 & Skill Resets 3
Credit: Blizzard
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Across many games, we’ve seen a general dip in how many people are on team chat over the years. This may sound strange since only more and more people are becoming gamers and getting access to headsets, but this comes down to many opting instead to use party chat, whether that’s via Discord, a console, or within a game.

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In the case of Overwatch 2, this issue is compounded further by having the default setting be for Push to Talk instead of an open mic, which is relatively unusual for console games since there is rarely an available button to use for push to talk. Either way, voice chat is rare in Overwatch 2. You’ll never see it in Quick Play, and you’ll rarely see it in Overwatch 2’s competitive mode.

In general, this is the case in ranked across games when you’re at the lower ranks where there’s less team play. However, many, many higher-skill players are finding themselves in lower ranks, and even when you’re queueing for competitive without a rank, you’ll find that at best, maybe there’s one mic on your team, and it’s usually not even that. Outside, of course, of partying up with friends, which further disadvantages a random team.