Overwatch’s controversial Skirmish mode is getting replaced

Published: 14/Nov/2019 1:50

by Andrew Amos


Overwatch’s controversial Skirmish mode, which players were forced to play during queue times, is getting replaced in the November 13 PTR Patch by a new waiting feature.

While nerfs to double shield meta heroes Orisa, Sigma, and Moira have been the talk of the town in regards to the latest Overwatch PTR patch, there was a significant change to queuing up that’ll have many players excited.

The controversial team deathmatch Skirmish mode has plagued Overwatch players looking for a decent warmup mode while in the queue. The experience is low quality, and players were desperate for another option.

While Skirmish mode isn’t disappearing from the game, players will now be given a chance to warm up the way they want with the introduction of the “While You Wait” menu.

Blizzard EntertainmentThe controversial Skirmish mode in Overwatch is getting replaced…kind of.


In the While You Wait menu, players will now have the choice of four game modes to partake in before each quick play, or competitive game starts.

The change adds more variety into the queue and gives players a better way of getting ready for their big games.

  • Practice Range
  • Deathmatch
  • Custom Game
  • Skirmish

Practice Range is getting expanded so that players can now play in groups, meaning you can work out combos with your teammates before you load into the game. Deathmatch is a community favorite for warm-up, as it allows players to get their eye in, and it’s more balanced than Skirmish.

Blizzard EntertainmentOverwatch players now have a choice of four game modes to warm up in while queuing up for another mode, including Practice Range.


If neither of those modes appeals to you, there’s always the option of getting into your favorite custom preset and getting your favorite pre-match rituals done. The custom game option also applies to Workshop mode so that you can play around there as well as just base customs.

You can also choose to forgo the new modes entirely and stick to Skirmish, or just disabling While You Wait if you aren’t a fan.

Given the variety of game modes available, many players thought it was unreasonable that they were forced into Skirmish mode every time they wanted to queue up for a game. 

Blizzard EntertainmentThere were a ton of hero balance changes in the November 13 PTR Patch, including big nerfs to Sigma.


The November 12 PTR Patch balance changes looked to kill off the double shield meta that has been dominating Overwatch at all levels since Sigma’s release. Sigma and Orisa had their shield health nerfed significantly to make it easier to break through the impenetrable defenses.

Moira’s healing is getting reduced, meaning that she won’t be able to charge up her Coalescence as quickly. These three heroes were the cornerstone of the latest meta to take over the game, and these changes are a move towards opening up more viable compositions for players.

These changes are currently available on the PTR and are still subject to change before hitting live, but players can at least look forward to not having to step foot into Skirmish mode ever again if they so choose.


Blizzard changes Overwatch Priority Pass again to stop system abuse

Published: 16/Jan/2021 2:04

by Andrew Amos


Blizzard has implemented more changes to their Overwatch Priority Pass program to stop players from abusing the system to get their preferred role more often.

The Priority Pass system in Overwatch has been a successful addition so far. Giving players the option to jump the queue for high-traffic roles by sacrificing a few games has helped tackle the game’s long queue times.

However, it hasn’t been without its flaws. Game quality has been pulled into question, with people playing off-role for these passes. Also, people have been abusing the current system to just stack passes quickly by intentionally losing.

The Priority Pass system in Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Priority Passes have been a hit with Overwatch players, but it’s not perfect.

Blizzard are looking to crack down on the latter issue with their latest changes to Priority Pass on January 15.

“Our data indicates that the Priority Pass is functioning as intended, generally providing shorter queue times for those who use them. The goal of the Priority Pass is to improve player experience and get players into matches quicker,” community manager Josh Nash told players.

“In the same vein, we don’t want this feature to have a negative impact on the quality of matches for yourself or others. We want to do our part to discourage players from intentionally losing and ruining matches for the sake of earning priority passes.”

If you lose a match while playing for passes, you’ll only gain one pass instead of two. This will stop players from just inting their games for the ticket.

Blizzard are also refunding passes to players if they queued up for a role using Priority Pass, but then had to wait longer than the estimated time for it.

Oni Genji Overwatch skin
These changes mean you won’t burn through your passes as quickly.

These changes are active immediately, so you can make use of them straight away. Blizzard are continuing to tweak the system as time goes on, and are “ looking into how we can better communicate when you are rewarded passes after playing a match.”