When we reviewed Overwatch, one of the things we liked was that it felt friendly. There was competition, sure, and a competitive spirit throughout, but it was – welcomingly – friendly. There was a camaraderie and more ‘Good Game’ messages after each session that we can remember since Ghost Recon Advanced Warfare (where it felt like we were all six years old again, playing at soldiers.) For all that we were competing with and against friends and strangers alike, it was always with a grin, win or lose.
Modern gaming though – as fixated as it is on competition and eSports – demands more, and Blizzard’s competitive play update is due to hit consoles and PC later this month. According to Game Director Jeff Kaplan, competitive play in Overwatch will suit those players “who want to take the game more seriously.”
When the update is released players will have access to a new competitive mode which will include a ranking score to allow players to compare themselves against their peers. This system will be completely different to the tiered structure shown in the in the beta, for those who dipped their toe in the water back in October 2015 before the game’s release. In that design, players advanced through a series of levels (Challenger, Advanced, Expert, Master and Heroic) ands once a level was attained it could never be lost.
The new player skill rating will be a numerical value between 1 and 100,and this can go up or down depending on a player’s form. In the background the game will calculate each player’s matchmaking rating to ensure matchmaking results in competitive matches. Before each rumble, the game will display each team’s average score, giving a sense of how easy or tough a match is likely to be.
There will be some cosmetic rewards that will be tied to success in competitive play, too. A new “golden gun system” will reward the most highly skilled players with cosmetic enhancements to their weapons, and there will be new sprays and player icons exclusively awarded to those who play competitive play seasons.
Check out the full announcement from Kaplan in the video below.