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While it’s definitely cliche to blame all your losses in Overwatch on your teammates or a stacked enemy team, sometimes it’s legitimately true. Whether if it’s from high rating players “smurfing” (an annoying practice we’ll discuss below) or a seemingly brain-dead stream of teams, there will always be occasions where you just can’t get a win despite playing at the top of your game. The Overwatch design team seems to realize this phenomenon and has made some interesting changes to the way the game handles “Loss Streaks” to make it a little easier to recover from a string of crappy games.

The changes are largely to the idea of a “streak multiplier” that accelerates the rate at which your skill rating is changed based on either a collection of consecutive wins or losses. The change is largely intended to deal with boosting or smurfing, according to head designer Jeff Kaplan.

Boosting is the idea of paying for someone to level an account to a higher skill rating. The reasoning behind this is baffling to me, as in the vast majority of cases you’ll end up in a skill bracket where you can’t hold your own and you’ll tank your rating pretty damn quickly. I suppose some people generally think they’re much better than their skill rating and that they’re “stuck” due to everyone else’s play. This is a really distorted way of thinking, but it must be common enough as there are entire companies built around boosting players’ Overwatch accounts to a predetermined skill level. This process is especially harmful to other players, as the gamers who actually deserve to be in that skill bracket will be stuck with players who don’t actually play at the skill level their account reflects.

“Smurfing” is when high-rating players create a new account to play in a much lower skill bracket and stomp all over less skilled players. I don’t understand the appeal behind this easier. Sure, it’s easy and it feels good to win over and over again, but is that good feeling really justified if you’re not playing with people that are anywhere near your level of skill? Destroying new players with a new account just makes people feel bad and can lead to a string of losses when just one excellent player can turn the tide of low elo games.

As we mentioned above, the main changes to address these issues are a tuning adjustment to the streak multiplier mechanic. Simply put, you’ll need to win or lose more games in a row to see that huge skill rating adjustment. Kaplan and the Overwatch team are confident this will help resolve a lot of issues that the player base has brought up with the game’s competitive mode (though boosting and smurfing are not unique to Overwatch in any sense).

What do you guys think? Is this the fix that was needed to bring Overwatch competitive mode’s balance a little more in line with how it should work? Is this a bandaid on a much bigger problem? Let us know in the comments below.

As Editor here at GeekReply, I'm a big fan of all things Geeky. Most of my contributions to the site are technology related, but I'm also a big fan of video games. My genres of choice include RPGs, MMOs, Grand Strategy, and Simulation. If I'm not chasing after the latest gear on my MMO of choice, I'm here at GeekReply reporting on the latest in Geek culture.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 Sets Dates for the Next Multiplayer Beta

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 is getting closer and closer, and Activision has announced when players will be able to get their hands on the next game. This means that there will be several chances to try it out before it comes out. If you paid a lot, you might be able to play for more than a week at the end of August and beginning of September.

Call of Duty Early Access will run from Friday, August 30th, to Wednesday, September 4th, as announced on its blog. This is two days after the Call of Duty Next showcase, which is set for August 28th. To play, you must have already bought Black Ops 6.

The open beta is the following weekend, and anyone who wants to can join. The fun will start on Friday, September 6th, and end on Monday, September 9th. The full release is set for October 25th of next month on PS5 and PS4.

How excited are you for the next Call of Duty game? Are you going to play Black Ops 6 in either the Early Access or Open Beta versions? Leave a comment below and let us know.

 

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Ten million people play The First Descendant in its first week

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The free-to-play shooter The First Descendant has gotten a lot of attention in its first week. The game’s publisher, Nexon, says that 10 million people have already tried it out.

Insider Gaming pointed out that since there is no cost up front, it’s still too early to tell how many of those players will stick around, but it’s still a big number for a new IP. On Steam alone, it peaked at 264,860 concurrents right after launch and has still managed to break 200,000 in the last 24 hours, so it looks like a lot of people are still really into the game.

It was a “mindless and repetitive grind,” and we gave The First Descendant a 3/10 in our review. Of course, that’s just one opinion; other experts have had different ones. Most people, though, say that the game’s annoying free-to-play model is the worst thing about it.

Are you one of the millions of people who played The First Descendant last week? Are you going to come back for more? Leave a comment below and let us know.

 

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Raiden, the famous shmup series, will come back as a twin-stick shooter on PS5, PS4, and PC

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Raiden has a long and interesting history as a vertical shooter in arcades. However, the series is going to get a Super Stardust HD makeover, which means it will switch to a twin-stick format. It comes out in Japan on October 31. There’s no word yet on when it will come out in the West, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

A Gematsu translation of the game’s website says that the full version will have an arcade mode with up to six stages. There will also be an “Unlimited” option for people who want to be at the top of the rankings. It sounds like a pretty straightforward package in terms of what’s inside, but we think the action will be what makes it worth it.

There’s a trailer up top that should help you figure out what to expect. There are, however, different versions of Raiden 3, Raiden 4, and Raiden 5 that you can play right now on the PS5 and PS4, if you can’t wait for this game to come out in the West.

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