Hundreds of Overwatch players have been affected by a bug that cost them hundreds of skill rating (SR) and banned them from this competitive season. Blizzard said in a forum post that it's aware of the issue, and in addition to fixing the problem, it plans to un-ban players and restore their SR.
Overwatch players can be divided into two groups. One just wants to play the game casually by going into Quick Play or the Arcade. The other focuses on the title's competitive mode, where they can play more serious matches and work their way up the ranks to show off their skill. For the latter group, losing hundreds of SR and being banned from the competitive mode for a two-month season could kill their passion for the title.
Here's what Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan said in his forum post:
We recently identified a bug that, in extremely rare cases, can cause players to lose their skill rating progress and receive a seasonal ban from Competitive Play without any prior penalties for leaving early or being kicked for inactivity. This bug is a high priority for our team, and we’re working on a fix to prevent further instances of it occurring as we speak.
On the bright side, Kaplan said that fewer than 200 people have been affected by this bug, which means the vast majority of Overwatch players didn't have their SR taken away. The even better news is that the company plans to restore the affected users' SR. Blizzard doesn't usually fiddle with SR when technical problems arise—the company's "solution" is usually to have players just grind out games so they can get back to their proper skill rating.
Kaplan said Blizzard will "continue to monitor for additional occurrences and provide assistance until we can implement a permanent fix." He doesn't know when the fix will go live, but someone from Blizzard will respond in that forum thread when everything is hunky-dory. In the meantime, at least the company is helping people affected by this bug, instead of just shrugging its shoulders and telling them to play more.
This is yet another thing for the Overwatch team to tackle. Blizzard has been busy. Recently, it's added a new hero, map, and game mode; changed various aspects of the competitive mode; and supported the upcoming Overwatch League with additional teams and a new esports arena in Los Angeles, among other things. All that despite the dev team having to deal with rampant toxicity instead of working on new features.