Blizzard has announced a huge change to the way it will handle the transition from one season to another. In the past, Blizzard has enforced a week-long gap between two consecutive Competitive seasons. This time, there will only be a two-hour long break between the end of one season and the start of the next.
Here is the official announcement on the Battle.net forums:
DATE AND TIMES
Season 13 will officially end on Monday, December 31 at 2:00 p.m. PST (Monday, December 31 at 22:00 UTC). Season 14 is currently scheduled to launch two hours later on Monday, December 31 at 4:00 p.m. PST (Tuesday, January 1 at 00:00 UTC).
They offer no explanation for the sudden change in the off-season break. While they do specifically mention that the gap is just two hours, there is no further announcement regarding the reasoning behind this decision. Maybe Jeff Kaplan will lay further insight in a future developer video.
Rewards for Competitive Season 13
There will be rewards for players playing competitive matchmaking in Season 13. These are usually based on your final placement in the Season. For most of the players, this would mean their SR. However, there is also a special prize for players securing Top 500 rank at the end of the Season. These players will receive an extra player icon and animated spray on top of the other seasonal rewards.
- SR 1-1499 (Bronze): 65 CP
- SR 1500-1999 (Silver): 125 CP
- SR 2000-2499 (Gold): 250 CP
- SR 2500-2999 (Platinum): 500 CP
- SR 3000-3499 (Diamond): 750 CP
- SR 3500-3999 (Master): 1200 CP
- SR 4000-5000 (Grandmaster): 1750 CP
What is the purpose of an off-Season?
On paper, an off-season sounds really great for players. It allows them to reset their SR and possibly attain a higher rank than before. Except that it is almost never the case that we see a drastic change in the player’s performance and rank from one season to the next. The system remembers the player’s previous skill ground and slightly adjusts his rank from one Season to another.
In some cases, players actually lose overall SR despite winning a higher percentage of matches. The off-season algorithm is surely complex, but it does little other than confusing players. Maybe the two-hour break between two seasons is to indicate that the seasons are not vastly different from each other. A player will not see a significant rise/fall in his performance rating.
We will keep you updated with more news about the upcoming Season 14 of Overwatch competitive play.