The Overwatch Public Test Region (PTR) is now available so players can test out the new upcoming Competitive Play system. The PTR is only available for PC players and accounts from all regions except for China are eligible to participate. Blizzard did note that the PTR is hosted on its Americas region, so those playing outside North America might run into some latency issues. The PTR will support up to 10k concurrent players and has a queue system if it’s at capacity and players are trying to login. Accounts from the live game will be transferred over to the PTR automatically, but any progress made on the PTR won’t transfer to live.
The biggest feature being tested on PTR is the new Competitive Play format that is accessible once a player hits level 25. Before diving into Competitive Play matches, players will have to do 10 placement matches so that the matchmaking system can gather enough information to assign a skill rating.
There are also several bug fixes and general updates that will be part of the patch, which you can read in their entirety below.
New Feature: Competitive Play
Once you hit level 25, you’ll have access to our newest feature: Competitive Play. This mode was designed to be a more serious experience, allowing players to hone their skills and perfect their strategies. But before diving into the fray, you’ll need to play 10 placement matches. These will allow our matchmaking system to gather enough information about your abilities to assign a skill rating.
With your newly acquired skill rating, you’ll be matched against players of a similar ability level. And if you play well and win games, the competition will become increasingly fierce throughout the two-and-a-half-month season. Plus, your performance will be rewarded with unique in-game items like sprays, player icons, and Competitive Points (which can be traded in for cosmetic Golden Weapons).
We’ve also made a number of changes to Overwatch’s match format for Competitive Play. Some of these changes are simple interface changes, while others ensure that maps and modes don’t favor one side or another—plus we’ve added a sudden death mechanic that ensures tied games are broken as fairly as possible.
Because Competitive Play is more serious in nature, we want to make sure that player behavior is acceptable. This means that the penalties are more severe than in the Quick Play or Weekly Brawl! modes. Leaving a game early or stepping away from your computer will make you ineligible to join a game until the previous game has ended, and continued infractions could result in restrictions or removal from 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 the “Avoid This Player” option from the in-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 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 in non-High Bandwidth games
- Fixed a bug that allowed Torbjörn to pick up Scrap while dead