Blizzard has released the much-anticipated Competitive Play mode for Overwatch. Currently, the mode is only available on PC, but Xbox and PlayStation 4 versions will be joining in on the fun next week.

Competitive Play is designed to be a “more serious experience” than Quick Play or Weekly Brawl modes. However, before jumping in you’ll have to set some time on he battlefield under your belt, as the new mode will only unlock once you reach level 25. Then, you’ll be able to enter a competitive match solo or in a group via the “Play” button in the game’s main menu.

After 10 placement matches you will obtain  your initial skill rating – a number between 1 and 100. The higher the rating, the better your skills, with 100 being the best rating available. At the end of each match, your skill rating will go up or down depending on your performance and that of the other players in the match. In other words, your rating goes down when you lose and up when you win. Simple.

Competitive Play will have four season a year, with each season lasting two and a half months, plus a two-week offseason period between them. during a season, player have the chance to fight for the top space by increasing their ranking before it resets at the end of the season. At the beginning of each new season, a whole new set of 10 placement matches will take place and the whole cycle will start over again. The Summer 2016 season is already underway, so you better start working on the ranking.

To help players transition into this new mode more quickly, Blizzard has made a few changes and improvements to each game type available in Competitive Play. Here’s a breakdown of all the new adjustments per game type:

Control maps

Competitive Play’s scoring system has undergone a major overhaul. Control maps, for instance, are played in a best-of-five format, which differs from Quick Play’s three-round system. During a Competitive Play match, the first team to score three points wins.

Escort and Hybrid maps

Teams are awarded one point any time a capture point is taken or a payload reaches a checkpoint. Both teams play one round on offense and one on defense, and the team with the most points after both rounds wins. If the game ends in a tie and neither team has delivered the payload to its final destination, the team that pushed the payload further will be the winner. On King’s Row, Numbani, or Hollywood, if neither team takes the first point, or the final score is tied, the match enters sudden death. This will change for the Fall 2016 season, switching to the Assault rules described below.

Assault maps

Each team plays one round on offense, and the team with the most points after both rounds wins – but if the first team fails to capture a point, the match ends as soon as the second team captures the first objective. If the score is tied after the first two rounds, each team plays a second round on offense, but only have the time that was remaining on the clock at the end of their previous offensive round. If either team had fewer than two minutes left on the clock during their previous round, their time is increased to two minutes – but won’t get another offensive round no matter what. When either team runs out of time, the team with the higher score wins the match. If both teams are tied with no time remaining, the match enters sudden death.

Sudden Death

In sudden death, the game randomly places one team on offense and the other on defense. Teams then play a single, abbreviated round. If the attackers capture the first objective before time runs out, they win the match. Otherwise, the defenders are awarded the victory. This system will only be active for the Summer 2016 season, though.

There are also new rewards for those who participate in the season’s placement matches, make it to the top 500 spots, or are just plain awesome players. These include new sprays, player icons and golden weapon skins.

Speaking of awesome players, Blizzard has refreshed its player conduct rules especially for Competitive Play, with new penalties for players who leave an on-going match, or “ragequit” as you kids call it. For more information on the rewards and new guidelines, you can visit the official Overwatch blog.


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