Blizzard has confirmed its new approach for adding new content to the competitive playlist.
After trying several strategies for the introduction of major new features to ranked play, Blizzard has apparently settled on a two-week delay from the release of such content to the live servers to its addition to competitive.
The decision was announced after the newest Escort map, Rialto, was added to the competitive playlist just over two weeks after its release on May 4th, rather than waiting until the end of the current competitive season.
Overwatch developer Scott Mercer confirmed in a post on the official forums that this would be the pattern for major content updates going forward.
“With today’s (May 22) patch, we made Rialto available in competitive play instead of waiting until the next competitive season on July 1.
In the future, our plan is to make new heroes and maps available in competitive play two weeks after their initial release.”
Blizzard has tried a variety of approaches for adding new content to competitive play. As such changes can significantly effect the way the game is played, Blizzard has tried to avoid introducing the likes of new maps or heroes into ranked matches immediately.
With the most recent new hero, Brigitte, many felt that Blizzard’s approach was too cautious. She was withheld from competitive play for an entire season, which meant an entire month between her initial release and players being able to use her competitively.
In response to such feedback, it seems Blizzard has now settled on a shorter period, still allowing time for players to get acquainted without the consequences of risking ranks on the unfamiliar, but without delaying new content significantly for those who play predominantly in competitive.