Overwatch will match you more closely with players of a similar skill rating from January

Overwatch's upcoming competitive season 8, which launches in January, will bring with it some big changes to the way that players are matched within a team. Blizzard is currently testing a tweak to the matchmaking system that will close the gap between the highest and lowest skill ratings (SRs) on a given team, and will implement the change for the season's launch.

It's aimed at fixing the problem of players, particularly at the higher and lower limits of SR, getting matched with people that are far above or below their own level of ability. It should mean that players on your team are all close to your skill level but it could increase wait times for matches, especially at both extreme high and low SRs where there are less players.

"The matchmaker has previously assigned players who are of a much lower SR to the same team as 4500 SR player, and hasn’t always created the best match experience possible. During the month of December we will be quietly testing the effect of more restrictive SR limits to both match quality and queue times. With the data and player feedback from testing, we’ll then come back from our holiday break on January 2 and apply a finalized set of values for Season 8," principal designer Scott Mercer said on the Overwatch forum.

It seems like a good idea, providing wait times for games don't massively inflate. And don't worry—the limits for the SR differences at which you can group with other players is not changing (1000 SR difference for Bronze through Diamond ranks).

In another change announced by Mercer, the way that your SR changes after a match above Diamond rank will be different in the new season. Currently, one of the factors affecting the amount of SR you gain or lose after a match is your own personal performance. Mercer said that while the system has its merits, it can lead to players worrying more about their own SR than about winning the game. 

"They should just be trying to win. So after we get back from the holidays on January 2nd we’re going to turn off the personal performance SR adjustments for players in the Diamond skill tier and above."

Samuel Horti

Samuel Horti is a long-time freelance writer for PC Gamer based in the UK, who loves RPGs and making long lists of games he'll never have time to play.