In an effort to ensure players entering the competitive field have a grasp on the game and all the mechanics, Blizzard have locked the Competitive Play behind a level 25 barrier. Once you reach level 25, Competitive Play will be available via the "Play" button on the main menu. Players can join on your own or in a group, and Overwatch's matchmaking system will automatically find a game that fits their skill level.
Before you as a player can start competitive play, you must first complete 10 placement matches in order to obtain your initial skill ranking. The ranking will be between 1 and 100, with the higher numbers indicating a higher level of skill. This ranking will increase and decrease with each match based on a number of factors, including players performance and the skill of others.
There will be four seasons of Competitive Play, each of which will last 2.5 months. However, due to the mode being brand new, the current season is reduced to only 1.5 months. During this time, players will be able to increase their skill rating in order to rank as high as possible before the stats reset at the end of the season. There will be a two-week off-season that will bridge the gap between season, at which time players will need to start all over again.
Blizzard are ensuring there are a series of rewards for players that do take part in the Overwatch Competitive Mode. Those who complete the 10 placement matches will receive a special spray and player icon. A new set of designs will be available each season, so you will want to complete at least the placement each season should you want these items. Players that rank with noteworthy performance will earn Competitive Points. These points can be used to exchange for Golden Weapons that your hero can then wield.
Blizzard is taking player conduct very seriously within Competitive Play. This new game mode can end up being locked down for players should they quit the match early, or should they go idle for too long. The full season can end up being locked down if players conduct themselves in this manner too often. This will result in players forfeiting any rewards that they may otherwise receive.
The Overwatch Competitive Play mode is now available for the PC and will be available on Consoles next week
Here are the full patch notes for the latest Overwatch patch that includes Competitive Play:
- Players can now swap the left and right sticks on a control pad
- "Legacy" controls option has been added:
- Left stick up/down moves forward/backward
- Left stick left/right turns left/right
- Right stick up/down aims up/down (these can be inverted)
- Right stick left/right strafes left/right
- Sticks can also be switched
- Improved dead-zone controls, giving players increased accuracy during off-center and diagonal stick movement
- When activating Widowmaker's Ultimate ability, Infra-Sight, her voice line will now be audible map-wide
- "Weapons" section added to the Hero Gallery
- Added McCree as an AI hero in Practice vs. AI, Play vs. AI, and Custom Game modes
- Added a variety of a social options to the hero selection and end of match screens
- Removed "Avoid This Player" option from the game UI
- Fixed a bug that would cause players’ weapons to auto-snap straight up or down when the crosshair was aimed between 85 and 90 degrees
- Fixed a bug that caused players who backfilled and then completed a game to sometimes receive a loss on their Career Profile and not receive their XP bonus for backfilling
- Fixed a bug that would move players toward the source of a knockback rather than away from it
- Fixed a bug that allowed players to spam objective-based voice lines
- Fixed a bug that caused Hearthstone-themed sprays to ignore localization
- Fixed several framerate issues that could occur when cycling through the hero selection menu
- Fixed a variety of issues with and made several improvements to ambient lighting
- Made some improvements to how AI heroes respond to one another
- Made a variety of performance and optimization improvements across the game
- Unicode keys for non-English keyboards are now displayed properly in the keybinding interface
- Players can no longer be resurrected in out-of-play areas on Ilios
- Fixed a bug with the "Junkrat RIP-Tire Kills—Average" lifetime statistic
- Fixed a bug that would sometimes cause projectiles to hit Reinhardt instead of his Barrier Field
- Note: We fixed this issue in an earlier patch for "High Bandwidth" Custom Games; this fix now applies it to all games
- Fixed a bug that allowed Torbjörn to pick up Scrap while dead