Defense Matrix Update: Season 10 and Beyond (2024)

We’re back with a new Defense Matrix update on our efforts to keep Overwatch 2 a fun, safe, and inclusive experience for everyone. Our latest Developer Update revealed new features that aim to bring friends together while protecting you from disruptive players, so let’s dive a bit deeper into these changes and what you can expect in the coming seasons.

Playing Competitive with Friends

Overwatch 2 has always been a game best played with friends. However, in Competitive Play, it may not always work to group up if your friends are too far from your rank. That’s why we’re introducing “Wide Groups” in Season 10, and you’ll now be able to play with your friends in Competitive no matter their rank.

So what, exactly, is a Wide Group? A Wide Group is when the highest and lowest ranked players are too far apart in Skill Tier and Divisions. Any groups with Diamond or lower ranked players that are more than five Skill Divisions apart are a Wide Group. Any groups with Masters players that are more than three Skill Divisions apart are also Wide Groups. Finally, any groups that have a Grand Masters or Champion Player are also Wide Groups regardless of how many Skill Divisions apart they are.

With this new queue option comes some tradeoffs. For one, queue times will be longer as we work to pair you with other wide groups, using Role Delta tech to ensure the match is as close as possible. For example, a Wide Group with a Platinum player and Bronze player will be matched against another group with similar skill distribution to try and deliver the fairest match possible. However, some matches may not appear to be as balanced as you may encounter opponents who are very different in skill level than you are. Thankfully though, such encounters won’t necessarily have as much of an impact on your progress in the Competitive ranks.

There will also be a new Modifier at the end of a match when playing in a Wide Group. It wouldn’t be fair for lower-skilled players to be directly boosted to higher ranks when they group with higher-skilled players, so some groups, depending on the skill gap, are likely to see little to no change in their skill progression. This helps ensure that high-skilled players don’t boost their lower-ranked friends.

Defense Matrix Update: Season 10 and Beyond (1)

Solo players will only play with other solo players or “Narrow Groups,” ensuring they never play against any Wide Groups. This also means we won’t allow a Wide Group of four players to queue because solo players do not join matches with Wide Groups.

This change should encourage players not to play on alternate accounts when they want to play with their friends. You can look forward to this new update for Competitive matchmaking to begin in Season 10.

Update on Stopping Leavers

We’ve already made adjustments to discourage leaving Unranked games of Overwatch, and there are a few more changes coming in Season 10. We’ve also taken a firm stance on leavers in Competitive Play and have a new update for that game mode as well.

For Unranked games, players who leave four of their last 20 games played are put on cooldown for 20 minutes before they can queue again, with an increase to four hours if you leave at least six of their last 20 games. We’ll be adding two additional tiers: a five-minute penalty for leaving two of their last 20 games played, and a 48-hour suspension from queuing for any matchmaking mode for those who leave 10 (or more) out of their last 20 games played.

Very few players deliberately leave 50% or more games, but we think this step will help further reduce the impact leavers can have in unranked Overwatch 2 games. To work back into good standing, Competitive now counts toward a player’s 20 games played.

Defense Matrix Update: Season 10 and Beyond (2)

Competitive Play is also receiving a notable addition to its penalty system for leaving games. Players can be suspended from Competitive Play whenever they leave any Competitive Play match. Penalties start off small at 15 minutes, but quickly escalate if they repeatedly leave games, and can even trigger a Season Ban, which will disqualify them for the remainder of that Competitive Season. When players complete several Competitive Matches, they’ll work back into good standing.

Now we’re introducing a rule to Competitive Play that caps the total number of games you can leave in a season, regardless of how frequent it is. Players who leave 10 Competitive matches in a season will be immediately banned for the season. This should help curb those players who deliberately choose to leave a match, thinking they won’t have to deal with a lengthy suspension if they haven’t left their most recent games played.

Remember, deliberately leaving or having a disconnection still counts as leaving. While we understand it is often not intentional, it still greatly impacts the high-stakes experience that Competitive provides. While any player can have a technical issue when playing, it's important not to jump back into Competitive Play until you are confident that any technical issue is resolved. If you need help troubleshooting disconnections or crashes, be sure to check out our support site.

Expanding Streamer Protect

Streamer Protect will now be called “Hide My Name” and will be an effective tool for all players, not just streamers. Last year, we introduced features that enabled players to hide their account information on their own client, with the goal of discouraging disruptive players from watching streamers and attempting to queue into that streamer’s game. However, this did not address harassment issues for players who are better known.

When you activate Hide My Name, your BattleTag will appear as one of several dozen randomly generated BattleTags, ranging from Krusher99 to GarlicBread and many other fun references from Overwatch 2 and our community. This name will be displayed not only for your own game client but also for all other players in the lobby. After the match, players can see everyone’s actual BattleTags by checking the Social Menu.

Don’t worry if you encounter disruptive players and are unsure if they are using a covered BattleTag. You can still report any player you encounter during and after the match, which will be reported to that player’s account.

Expanding Avoid as Teammate

“Avoid as Teammate” allows players the choice to not be paired with specific players on the same team when finding a match. This is a good way to step away from disruptive players, or players with a different playstyle than yours. In a future update, you’ll be able to add up to 10 players on your Avoid as Teammate list. For most players below Grand Masters, this will likely allow you to avoid all 10 players on your list. Those on the higher end of the ranked ladder may still see some of your avoided players that are lower in priority, especially when your queue time gets longer.

The current Avoid as Teammate system allows you to avoid up to three players you encounter. This has been the maximum because adding more slots would make finding matches for players at higher ranks like Grand Master or Champion impossible. However, thanks to your feedback, we’re going to help give everyone more agency over which players they are paired with on their team.

To better tailor your experience, you can toggle which players you absolutely don’t want to play with versus those you would rather avoid if you can help it. When your list is full, and you want to avoid a new player, they will be added automatically, dropping the player who’s been on the list the longest. Don’t worry—you can pin any players to ensure they don’t fall off your list. This will enable a smoother user experience and allow you to get back in the queue faster.

Defense Matrix Update: Season 10 and Beyond (3)

Mitigating Disruptive Chat

We never consider it acceptable for anyone to harass, insult, or abuse any other player through chat. We’ve already taken many steps to identify disruptive chat faster and take action in cases of clearly identified disruptive chat, and soon we’ll have more updates to improve the chat experience for all players.

When a player is actioned for disruptive chat or not playing fairly in the game, we demote their Endorsem*nt Rating to “Level 0.” Even new players start at Level 1, so you can only reach this level if you are actioned for breaking the Blizzard In-Game Code of Conduct. Coming later this year, we are going to prevent anyone with a Level 0 Endorsem*nt Rating from using any text or voice chat in their matches. These privileges can be restored once the player reaches Level 1 again, which is done by playing your best, helping your team, and communicating with the in-game ping system.

We also recognize that some players like being disruptive to others while they spectate their friends' matches. Since it’s not possible to report spectators who are disruptive on console platforms, and very limited on PC, access to team and match chat channels will be removed. Friends can still chat with each other through a Whisper.

Faster Reporting

Every day, we work to action disruptive players and correct inappropriate behavior in our games, and your reports help us with this. However, we understand it's not easy to report when you are in the middle of a match. We’re designing an easier-to-use interface that should enable all players to report as soon as they see disruptive behavior, and we look forward to sharing more later this year.

Remember, when you report a player as being abusive in either text or voice chat as soon as possible, it's easier for our system to better identify that player’s disruptive behavior. To learn more about how to report players in Overwatch, see our support article.

Introducing Player Surveys

We’re always watching for your feedback, whether it be on social media, through communities from our top content creators, or other places of note. As we continue striving to make Overwatch 2 a safer and more inclusive experience for all players, we’re providing a new way for players to help make their voices heard.

We’ll be introducing new player surveys into Overwatch 2. We’ll randomly choose players whenever they complete a match after the end-of-match flow, including the Play of the Game and your progression updates. If you are selected, you will be prompted by a new splash screen with an invitation to participate in an optional survey that you can access by clicking the link or scanning the QR code on your phone.

You’ll have your chance to let us know what you think about new modes, events, and features, along with telling us how we can help protect you from disruptive players. We look forward to seeing your participation when we launch this feature in a future update.

Thanks for Playing Together

To recap, our change to grouping up with friends in Competitive, Leaver Penalties updates, and our improved Streamer Protect will launch in Season 10. The other features (and more!) will be coming in the following seasons.

We’ll be back with more updates later, so stay tuned as we continue to work on stopping cheating and promote good teamwork in every match of Overwatch 2. Thanks, everyone, and let’s make a great game!

Defense Matrix Update: Season 10 and Beyond (2024)
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