'Overwatch' Update: Changes coming to controversial tiebreaking rules in competitive play

Blizzard Entertainment

The days of confusing, "Wait, what just happened?" tiebreaking rounds in competitive Overwatch matches are numbered.

In a post on the Overwatch forums, principal designer Scott Mercer said the current tiebreaking rules that often led to seemingly unfair wins on assault maps are getting some much-needed tweaks.

Teams will now have to capture a minimum of 33% of a point, in addition to the current rule requiring them to capture more of the point than their opponents. 

Here's what you need to know.

Overwatch's rules for tiebreakers are confusing and frustrating

Here's how the not-so-well-received tiebreaking rounds work now:

"If Team A is on Hanamura defense and prevents Team B from ever gaining any capture progress, then when Team A is on offense they only need to reach 1% capture progress to win the game," Mercer wrote. "This means Team B needs to always have someone contesting on the capture point, or they risk losing. 

"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."

For example, here's a GIF of an Overwatch match that ends after just a few seconds when a Sombra just barely touches one of her toe-shoe-clad feet on the point:

Source: TheSojum/Reddit

The offensive team only needed to capture a sliver of the point to win, which meant that using a Sombra to stealth her way back there on her own — a tactic which would normally be too risky — helped them win the entire match in just a few seconds.

Thankfully, in an upcoming Overwatch patch, that's all going to change.

New Overwatch tiebreaking rules will be less infuriating

Here's how Overwatch will handle tiebreaking rounds in a future update.

"Instead of needing to simply earn 1% more progress on an objective than the enemy team to break a tie and win, a team will also now also need to achieve a minimum of 33% progress," Mercer said.

Here are some example scenarios Mercer gave to illustrate the way the new rules will work:

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.

Mercer did not specify when these new rules would go live, only saying that they would hit in a "forthcoming" patch.

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