Although you may notice lower-the-usual SR gains when playing support in Overwatch, the issue is actually not that simple.
Since the release of the latest big Overwatch patch, the one that added the hero Orisa, there have been some reports from support players about perceived, lower-than-usual SR gains.
SR, or skill ranking, is the a rating Overwatch assigns to players every time they finish a match. Depending on their performance, each player’s SR raking changes with every match.
The complaints specifically come from players who tend to gravitate towards support characters, and how their SR gains have been lower than usual after a win. Overwatch principal designer Scott Mercer took to the Blizzard forums to thoroughly explain how the feature works, and why some of these reports started popping up.
“As part of the 1.9 Orisa patch, we made a change to how assist scoring was handled to address what we honestly considered to be a bug. Players were getting full assist credit even if the player being assisted did very little to the target,” Mercer explained, adding that this change required recalibration of the system that calculates players’ contributions in any given match,
There were other side effects to this change, such as how often a player would get an ‘On Fire’ status. However, Mercer stressed that being “on fire” does not mean your SR ranking will increase, because each status is calculated differently.
“The determination of being ‘On Fire’ examines not just your own performance, but your performance relative to your teammates,” he said.
“The calculation of your SR adjustment after a match doesn’t look at your teammates, but instead compares you to the performance of other similarly skilled players with that hero across an enormous pool of competitive matches.
“So, we compare your Genji play to the play of other Genjis, Ana vs. Anas, etc. Since we’re comparing “apples to apples”, we shouldn’t see any kind of support specific bias in SR adjustments due to player performance.”
Based on this, and the investigations Blizzard conducted so far, there doesn’t seem to be any systemic issue that creates this perceived bias against support characters. With that in mind, Blizzard is not ruling out other hero-specific factors or the type of play style in being a reason behind these reports.
Until an actual cause is identified, however, everything is working as intended.