Competitive Play is the ranked Play Mode of Overwatch. In this mode, players are matched with others of similar skill level that is of greater accuracy than the matchmaking system in Quick Play. It is a more serious game mode where players compete in order to rank up. Competitive Play will have each team take turns attacking and defending until the match is decided.
Players must achieve level 25 before this game mode is unlocked.
Role Queue vs Open Queue
When a player selects Competitive Play from the menu, they are given two types of matches to queue into: Role Queue and Open Queue.
- Role Queue imposes a team composition of two Tanks, Damage, and Support heroes. Players must select a role they wish to play as in a match. Once a match has been found, they are only allowed to pick heroes in the role they selected for the entire match.
- Open Queue does not restrict a team to have a specific number of heroes from each role. Players can select a hero from any role and are allowed to switch roles during the match.
- From Seasons 1 to 17, all Competitive Play matches were Open Queue. Open Queue was replaced by Role Queue in Season 18, but was re-introduced in Season 23 as a separate mode.
- On Escort maps, the attacking team which escorts the payload the farthest wins. If both teams manage to move the payload the exact same distance without reaching the destination or fail to move it at all, the match ends in a draw. Note that the furthest distance the payload has been moved is what counts, even if the payload moves back. If both teams reach the destination, a new rotation is played using the time bank rules.
- On Assault maps, the attacking team which captures the most control points or makes the most progress on capturing a control point wins. If the first attacking team does not fully capture a control point but makes at least 33.3% capture progress, the second attacking team must exceed the first team's capture progress in order to win. If neither team reaches at least 33.3% capture progress on the same control point or in the rare case where both teams reach the exact same capture percentage on the same control point (<100%), the match ends in a draw. If both teams capture both control points, a new rotation is played using time bank rules.
- On Hybrid maps, the attacking team which achieves the most capture progress on the control point or escorts the payload the farthest wins. If neither team makes at least 33.3% capture progress on the control point, fail to move the payload at all, or in the rare cases where both teams reach the exact same capture percentage on the same control point (<100%) or manage to move the payload the exact same distance, the match ends in a draw. If both teams escort the payload to its destination, a new rotation is played using the time bank rules.
- Control maps are a best-of-three and has the same rules as Quick Play. From Season 1 to 5, it used to be a best-of-five.
Time Bank Rules (Extra Rounds)
For Escort, Assault, and Hybrid maps, a new attack and defense rotation will start using the time bank system if both teams complete the final objective in their initial attacking round.
Escort Time Bank Rules
If both teams have escorted the payload to the destination, the game examines their remaining time before starting a new rotation:
- If both teams have 120 seconds or more left, the team with the smaller amount of remaining time has their time decreased to 120 seconds and the other team's remaining time is decreased the same amount. (i.e. if team A has 165 seconds and team B has 250 seconds after the initial rounds, team A's time bank is reduced by 45 seconds for a remaining total of 120 seconds, and team B's time bank is also reduced by 45 seconds for a remaining total of 205 seconds).
- If both teams have between 60 seconds and 119 seconds left, no changes are made to either team's time bank.
- If team A has between 0 seconds and 59.9 seconds left while team B has 60 seconds or more, team A is granted additional time to increase their remaining time to 60 seconds and team B is also given the same amount of time. This rule also applies if both teams have between 0 seconds and 59.9 seconds remaining. (i.e. if team A has 20 seconds and team B has 150 seconds after the initial rounds, team A's time bank is increased by 40 seconds for a total of 60 seconds, while team B's time bank is also increased by 40 seconds for a total of 190 seconds).
Whenever a new rotation starts, the team with the smaller remaining time starts the next rotation on attack. No additional time will be added when the payload reaches a checkpoint in the extra rounds.
Assault and Hybrid Time Bank Rules
If both teams have captured all control points and, for Hybrid-only, escorted the payload to the destination, the game examines their remaining time before starting a new rotation:
- If both teams have 120 seconds or more left, the team with the smaller amount of remaining time has their time decreased to 120 seconds and the other team's remaining time is decreased the same amount.
- If both teams have between 60 seconds and 119 seconds left, no changes are made to either team's time bank.
- If team A has between 0.1 seconds and 59.9 seconds while team B has 60 seconds or more, team A is granted additional time to increase their remaining time to 60 seconds and team B is also given the same amount of time. This rule also applies if both teams have between 0.1 seconds and 59.9 seconds remaining.
- If team A has no remaining time but team B has 60 seconds or more left, no changes are made to either team's time bank and only team B will proceed to play an attacking round. If team B reaches at least 33.3% progress on the first capture point with their remaining time, they win. If they do not, the match results in a draw.
- If neither team has any remaining time, both teams are given 60 seconds and a new rotation begins.
Whenever a new rotation starts, the team with the smaller remaining time starts the next rotation on attack. In Assault maps, only 30 seconds of additional time will be added to the attacking team if they successfully capture the first control point in the extra rounds, unlike the 3 minutes given in the initial rounds. No additional time will be added after capturing a checkpoint in Hybrid maps.
For each competitive season, a player must play five placement matches to receive a rank for each role in Role Queue mode, and ten matches for Open Queue.
When a player participates in their first placement match for the season, their final rank from the last Competitive Play season they participated in will be used to find a match, regardless of how long ago that season was. If the player has never participated in a Competitive Play match before, their performance from Quick Play and Arcade modes will be used to find a match.
After completing the placement matches, a numerical value that denotes a player's skill called Skill Rating (SR) will be assigned to the player. SR ranges from 1 to 5000, with a higher number representing a higher level of skill. Players are assigned independent SR for each role in Role Queue.
Alongside the 1 - 5000 SR value, players are assigned tiers depending on their SR which is publicly displayed on their portrait:
Bronze - 1 - 1499 SR
Silver - 1500 - 1999 SR
Gold - 2000 - 2499 SR
Platinum - 2500 - 2999 SR
Diamond - 3000 - 3499 SR
Master - 3500 - 3999 SR
Grandmaster - 4000+ SR
Top 500 - Given to players that have the 1st to 500th highest SR in their respective region (Americas. Asia, Europe) and platform (PC, PS4, XBox, Switch). This tier only becomes available two weeks after the start of a season, and the player must have completed at least 25 competitive matches for that season to be eligible. Blizzard SMS Protect must also be enabled for PC players.
Following the conclusion of every match, a certain amount of SR is added for a win, and subtracted for a loss. The amount gained or lost depends on several factors, including the difference between the average SR of the teams in the match, the win rates of heroes on a given map, and for players ranked Platinum and below: individual performance. Players that are participating in Competitive Play for the first time will experience a more extreme SR gain and loss than normal for their first 10 to 20 matches. Players do not gain or lose any SR if a match ends in a draw.
Players in Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond will be moved into lower skill tiers if they cannot maintain the minimum skill rating for that tier over five games, while players in Master, Grandmaster, and Top 500 players will be immediately moved into lower skill tiers if they fail to maintain the minimum skill rating.
Players are allowed to participate in Competitive Play as a group, though the following restrictions will be applied:
- For players ranked Diamond and below, the SR of all group members must be within 1000 of each other. This SR range is reduced to 500 for Master players, and 350 for Grandmaster and Top 500 players.
- Grandmaster and Top 500 players may only form a group consisting of two players.
- Players who have not completed their placement matches are unable to group with players ranked Diamond and higher.
As this mode exists to players wanting a more serious experience of Overwatch, harsher punishments are given to players who abandon their team before the end of the match. As opposed to Quick Play, players who exit a match from Competitive Play prematurely will not be able to join another game of any play mode until their original match is concluded, and departed players will not be backfilled. Players that fail to rejoin their match before it ends will be temporarily suspended from Competitive Play, with repeated offenses extending the duration of the suspension until an eventual permanent ban from the game mode.
After every competitive match, players are awarded 15 Competitive Points for a win, 5 for a draw, and none for a loss.
When a season is concluded, players who have completed their placement matches are rewarded a player icon and a spray with designs unique for each season, and players who reached Top 500 at any point during the season are given an additional player icon and an animated spray. In addition, additional Competitive Points are given depending on the highest rank they achieved, with more points rewarded to higher ranks.
List of Competitive Play Seasons
|Season||Start Date||End Date||Notes|
|1||Jun 28, 2016||Aug 17, 2016||Had a 1-100 Skill Rating scale and a Sudden Death system if both teams reached their objective in the initial attack and defense rotation. During Sudden Death, one additional round was played where the attacking team was chosen by a coin flip. The attackers had to capture or escort the payload to the first point within 1 minute and 45 seconds. If they succeeded, the attacking team won the match. If they failed, the defending team won.|
|2||Sep 02, 2016||Nov 24, 2016||1-100 Skill Rating scale expanded to a 1-5000 scale.
Sudden Death system replaced by the Time Bank system.
|3||Dec 01, 2016||Feb 21, 2017|
|4||Feb 28, 2017||May 28, 2017|
|5||Jun 1, 2017||Aug 28, 2017|
|6||Sep 1, 2017||Oct 28, 2017||Control map rounds reduced from a best-of-five to a best-of-three.
Duration of each competitive season reduced from three months to two months.
|7||Nov 1, 2017||Dec 29, 2017|
|8||Jan 1, 2018||Feb 25, 2018|
|9||Feb 28, 2018||Apr 28, 2018|
|10||May 1, 2018||Jul 1, 2018|
|11||Jul 02, 2018||Aug 28, 2018|
|12||Aug 31, 2018||Oct 28, 2018|
|13||Nov 1, 2018||Jan 1, 2019||Off-season duration reduced from three days to two hours.|
|14||Jan 1, 2019||Mar 1, 2019|
|15||Mar 1, 2019||May 1, 2019||Off-season removed. Henceforth the following season will begin immediately after the previous season ends.|
|16||May 1, 2019||Jun 30, 2019|
|17||Jun 30, 2019||Aug 13, 2019||Ended two weeks early to implement a special three week season of Competitive Play that introduced the Role Queue system. Referred to as "Role Queue Beta" in player profiles to those that participated.|
|18||Sep 3, 2019||Nov 7, 2019||Role Queue system implemented with players having independent Skill Ratings for each of the three roles. Number of placement matches required decreased from 10 to 5.|
|19||Nov 9, 2019||Jan 2, 2020||Map pool system introduced. Each season had a specific selection of maps and only those maps were available for the entirety of the season.
|20||Jan 2, 2020||Mar 5, 2020||Map pool:
|21||Mar 5, 2020||May 7, 2020||Hero bans introduced, changing weekly. Banned heroes were chosen based on hero usage across all ranks.|
Map pools were removed on April 14th, 2020. Horizon Lunar Colony and Paris were removed from Competitive Play on the same day.
Map pool (until April 14th):
|22||May 7, 2020||Jul 2, 2020||Hero bans changed to be only applied to matches with an average team SR of 3500 or greater. Banned heroes were also chosen based on usage from the Overwatch League when the League was in season, and Grandmaster and Top 500 matches when not in season.
Hero bans were removed on June 8th, 2020.
|23||Jul 2, 2020||Sep 3, 2020||Open Queue system re-implemented as a separate Competitive Play mode from Role Queue.|
|24||Sep 3, 2020||Nov 5, 2020|
|25||Nov 5, 2020||Jan 7, 2021|
|26||Jan 7, 2021||Mar 9, 2021|
|27||Mar 9, 2021||May 6, 2021||Season was delayed by five days due to technical issues. The original start date was March 4th, 2021.|
|28||May 6, 2021||Jul 2, 2021|
|29||Jul 2, 2021||Sep 2, 2021|
|30||Sep 2, 2021|
Arcade modes seasons
Starting with Copa Lùcioball introduced with the Summer Games 2017 event, Blizzard sporadically added Competitive Arcade modes. The duration of a Competitive Arcade mode season is usually three weeks long.
The rewards for Competitive Arcade modes differ from those from the regular Competitive Play mode. As the seasons are shorter (as well as the matches duration), you earn less Competitive Points per match and for your final rank at the end of the season.
|Copa Lúcioball||1||Aug. 2017||Introduced with the Summer Games 2017 event.|
|Competitive CTF||1||Feb./Mar. 2018||Introduced with the Lunar New Year 2018 event.|
|Competitive 6v6 Elimination||1||Apr./May 2018||Was not part of an event.|
|Competitive Deathmatch||1||May/June 2018||Introduced with the Anniversary 2018 event.|
|Competitive 3v3 Group Elimination||1||June/July 2018||Was not part of an event. Introduced with the Looking For Group (LFG) feature.
You had to be in a group of 3 players to be able to queue for the mode.
|Copa Lùcioball||2||Aug. 2018||During the Summer Games 2018 event.|
|Competitive Team Deathmatch||1||Oct./Nov. 2018||Was not part of an event.|
|Competitive CTF||2||Jan./Feb. 2019||During the Lunar New Year 2019 event.|
|Competitive 6v6 Elimination||2||Mar./Apr. 2019||Was not part of an event.|
|Competitive Deathmatch||2||June/July 2019||Was not part of an event.|
|Copa Lùcioball||3||July/Aug. 2019||During the Summer Games 2019 event.|
|Competitive 3v3 Elimination||2||Oct./Nov. 2019||During the Halloween Terror 2019 event.|
|Competitive Team Deathmatch||2||Nov./Dec. 2019||Was not part of an event.|
|Competitive CTF||3||Jan./Feb. 2020||During the Lunar New Year 2020 event.|
|Competitive 6v6 Elimination||3||Mar./Apr. 2020||During the Archives 2020 event.|
|Competitive Open Queue||1||Apr. 2020||Was not part of an event.|
|Competitive Deathmatch||3||May/June 2020||During the Anniversary 2020 event.|
|Competitive Open Queue||2||June/July 2020||Was not part of an event. Is part of the main game now.|
|Competitive 3v3 Elimination||3||Sep./Oct. 2020||Was not part of an event.|
|Competitive Team Deathmatch||3||Oct./Nov. 2020||During the Halloween Terror 2020 event.|