It seems as though the Overwatch Competitive Play mode will be undergoing a few changes due to recent feedback from the community and the pre-release tests in the game’s new PTR. According to Blizzard, they are looking to balance the coin flip and sudden death mechanics before Competitive Play is released.
In a post on Blizzard’s official forums, game developer Jeff Kaplan explains these changes saying, “even though we feel like tuning the attacker vs. defender advantage in Sudden Death is achievable—and we’re really close right now—the community perception is that one side always has a clear advantage on Assault, Escort, and Hybrid maps, and (as a result) you feel the coin flip mechanic is unfair. The balance is the easy part for us, but the perception issues are much more challenging. Challenging and important.”
They also feel that sudden death happens more often than is should in most matches and are looking into ways to better handle this issue. This includes reducing the sudden death timer and also making changes to the scoring system so that this mode happens less often.
Kaplan then states that his team feels that they can make changes that will not only improve the experience of Overwatch’s Competitive Play, but also balance the win/loss ratios on both the attacking and defending sides.
He goes on to mention that the team is considering removing both the coin flip and sudden death mechanics entirely in later seasons, resulting in some matches being a tie between both teams.
For short term changes, Blizzard plans on shortening match times on all maps in competitive mode from 5 minutes to 4 minutes, while the sudden death timer will be reduced from 2 minutes to 1 minute and 45 seconds. This will cause matches to be shorter, thus allowing players more playtime.
As for long term goals, Blizzard plans on implementing a “Time Bank” system for Overwatch’s Hybrid and Payload maps. If both teams were to push the payload to the end of the map with time leftover, a second round would take place on the same map and both teams would push the payload as far as possible using what time they had left for the last round. A winner would then be determined by how far each team pushed their payload.
While major changes won’t be coming to Competitive Play anytime soon, Blizzard will be working hard to address any changes that need to be done in the near future. The competitive mode for Overwatch is set to release sometime this Summer.