Blizzard is changing Overwatch's controversial new tiebreaking system

Overwatch's latest patch introduced a change to how ties are determined in competitive matches on Assault (two capture point) and Hybrid (Assault/Escort). After the patch, a progress tracker was added to the capture point dial, so instead of ending in a tie when neither team fully captured a point, a win was awarded to the team that made the most progress.

The problem with this system is that if Team A defends the first point and prevents Team B from gaining any capture progress, they would then only need to reach 1 percent capture progress in order to win. This meant that Team B would be required to keep a person on the point at all times, in order to prevent a stealthy back-capture by Sombra or some other nimble hero. 

"Even with both teams aware of the new victory conditions and adapting appropriately, the instantaneous nature of the victory often resulted in confusion about what happened," Overwatch principal designer Scott Mercer said in a Blizzard post. "Did the defenders not have someone on the point due to a mistake, or did the attacking Lucio pull off an amazing boop? This lack of clarity is not ideal, so we’re going to make a change in a future patch."

Now (or once this change is pushed out to live servers), a team will need to achieve a minimum of 33 percent progress in order to break a tie and win, rather than simply needing to earn 1 percent more than the opponent. 

Mercer listed a few examples:

  • Team A attacks the first objective on Hanamura, but only gains 10% progress after a really rough offensive round. Team B then attacks, but they can only gain 20%. This is a TIE. Neither team achieved the minimum of 33%.
  • Team A attacks the first objective on Hanamura, and gains 90% progress. (So close!) Team B attacks, and only gains 40%. progress. Team A WINS, as they had a minimum of 33% and more progress than their opponent.
  • Team A attacks the second objective on Hanamura, and fully captures it with 3:00 left. Team B attacks the second objective on Hanamura, and captures it in overtime with 0:00 left. Team A now is back on the attack, trying to take the first objective. They can only reach 20% progress after their time bank of 3:00 elapses. This is a TIE. They did not meet the minimum target of 33% progress. If Team A had reached 33%, then they would have won the match.

It's a welcome change that addresses the main community concern about the new system. When the progress-tracker tie-breaking system was originally announced, the Overwatch community was mostly in favor, but had major reservations about the 1-percent instant-capture behavior that Mercer described in his post. With this change, teams will have an opportunity to mount a proper defense without worrying about an instant back-capture. 

Mercer says the change will mean slightly more ties will occur than the present rules, but still much less than was seen (6 percent) before the tiebreaking system was implemented.