How Overwatch's Competitive Mode Works

How Overwatch's Competitive Mode Works

If you're too dang skilled for the mortal riffraff in Overwatch's regular modes, you'll be excited to hear that the PC version just got a competitive alternative. It's got rankings, golden guns, golden balls — all that good stuff. So, how does it work? Let me explain.


You can't just jump into competitive and start climbing the ladder. You've got to pass muster in a couple prerequisites first. For one, you've gotta be at least level 25 before you can even play competitive mode at all. If you're not, well, Quick Play is still fun! Just remember, those three entire people playing Reaper on your team have real edgelord feelings and real edgelord dreams. Don't be too hard on them.

OK so, let's say you've made it to level 25. That means it's time for placement. When you begin competitive mode, you have to play 10 placement matches which will decide your initial Skill Rank. It can be anywhere from 1-100, and it's rooted in overall wins/losses (as opposed to your own personal accomplishments in each match).

Once you're placed, your Skill Rank will go up and down as you play more and more matches. If you beat a team made up of players with a higher average Skill Rank than yours, your Skill Rank will change more. So don't be discouraged if you come across a team of high-level juggernauts. It's an opportunity!


Competitive mode matches unfold in a best-of-two format. On escort, assault, and hybrid maps, you spend one game attacking and one defending. The team that manages to accomplish the most objectives overall wins. If you push the payload past a certain area, you score a point, etc. Control maps, meanwhile, are best-of-five, and first to win three rounds takes the whole (presumably gold) enchilada.

In the event of a tie (say, because both teams pushed a payload to the end of the map), you enter sudden death, with attack and defence decided by a coin flip. Attackers get two minutes to capture a point. If they pull it off, they win. If they don't, defence wins. People, er, don't love the randomness of the coin toss system, and it will likely change sometime in the future.

Golden Friggin' Guns

While TRUE COMPETITIVE GAMERZ need only the satisfaction of watching a number ascend ever upward into the heavens of mastery to sustain them, some people want rewards. In Overwatch's case, that means cosmetic items.

Completing your placement games nabs you an icon and spray for the season, which is, you know... whatever. The real meat of the system, though, lies in Competitive Points, which you can use to purchase golden weapons. You earn competitive points both by playing matches during the season and based on your ranking at the end of the season.

There are also special rewards for making it into the top 500 players on your platform. Specifically, you'll get a special icon that will helpfully let other players know they shouldn't fuck with you and an animated spray that corresponds to the season you earned it in.


    Well won 4 rounds lost 2 last night, got decimated in my last match last night, entire team was camping outside our spawn spot, couldn't even get out, no one was talking/communicating ... its amazing how communication can be so effective in games like this :)

      Talking? In competitive team oriented games? Surely you jest!

    Question... Is this game worth it?

    Ive been debating getting it for a little while now. What is it exactly?

    On the surface it looks to me like a standard FPS mixed with DOTA and LOL elements. That alone doesnt entice me to get it.

    Let me also point out i never played TF2... (only TF1)

      Yes. Even at the $70 entry price, it's well worth it.

      It's a character driven team based FPS. There's a rock paper scissors element between the characters and you can switch them throughout the battle. Your summary isn't way off, with that said. For what it's worth, I don't like either competitive FPSs or MOBAs, but I love Overwatch.

      It's quite clever, has an engaging, charming sense of self and is very polished. Good strategy, team diversity and decision making will generally beat more skillful play (though skillful play obviously helps).

      Its like a big game of paper scissors rock, your personal skill doesn't matter anywhere near as much as what character you choose and whether your team cares enough to change from their favourite char to one that will let you win.

      There isn't much variety in maps or modes and unlocking any of the cosmetic items takes longer than your average F2P game unless you spend real money.

      I was done with the game after about a week but if you are the kind of person that is able to do the same thing over and over again just for the sake of getting a little better than perhaps the game will click with you, its sort of like LoL or DOTA in that regard.

      The shooting feels good most of the time with their "favour the shooter" way of dealing with lag but on the other side of the coin it can feel like you die around corners a lot and the matches will swing back and forth a lot based on whos Ultimates are up.

      If you have fond memories of Blizzard games already you will probably be more likely to overlook the problems but if not there are better ways to spend your money and based on the way they have designed the core game it looks like it will make a transition to F2P at some point the same way TF2 did.

      No, I wouldn't really bother with it until on sale or until a few more balances come into play. Current state, I wouldn't bother.
      Or unless you have 3-5 other people to play with, if you have friends to play with then its okay.

    Overwatch is pretty much a glorified team fortress 2. (tf2 is free on steam give it a go if you like it then get overwatch)

    I got bored of it pretty fast. But I can see why ppl would like it.

    How it realy works, you play 10 games for a ranking on future competitions and out of those get screwed by ragers quiting, leaving you to do battle against full team's which you ultimately loose to. in some cases you can almost tell that people have 2 accounts because they leave straight away when the match begins, giving them easy wins.

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