Zarya from Overwatch powering up her massive gun

After spending years watching Blizzard do one boneheaded move after another, always completely silent while doing so, its rather refreshing to see Jeff Kaplan, the Game Director behind Overwatch, come out and personally deliver news about the upcoming features. If there ever was a way to deepen my respect for a game, stellar community interaction would be a damn good place to start!

As you can probably guess from the title, today's Developer Update is all about the competitive mode. Through the video below you'll be able to see Kaplan talk about the team's goals with the competitive format, their thoughts on the current balance, what sort of rewards you can expect, and how exactly the ladder will work. If you don't have the 10 minutes necessary to go through all of it, I'll also include a brief summary:


For those of you that haven't even touched the video, allow me to just point out how passionately Kaplan speaks about Overwatch, and how much love he seems to hold for the game. It seems a bit cheesy when you put it down "on paper", but I think I can safely say the game is in good hands. Now then, onward with the summary:

Spectate Mode is currently undergoing numerous improvements, both for broadcasters and observers.

Competitive play is coming at the end of June. Its going to be a serious, team-based effort, and not a place to mess around.

Seasons will last 2.5 months each, and will feature a 2 week long break between them.

Sudden Death is being looked into as it currently occurs far too frequently. How exactly they're gong to address this, Kaplan hasn't specified, but expect to see some changes to how maps work. 

Assault maps with A & B cap points (Anubis, Hanamura, Volksaya) are a bit too one-sided. They will be changed in order to facilitate longer matches with chances for both teams to turn the entire game around, though no details have been shared just yet.

Your competitive progression will be based purely on MMR (matchmaking rating), and will be shown through a new 'skill rating' that goes from 1-100. Each game will clearly show the average skill rating of each team, the skill rating of each player, and which players are grouped together. The worse the odds are for you, the bigger the payoff will be if you win.

Competitive rewards will come in the form of "awesome cosmetic rewards". The current idea is to offer players a chance to earn golden guns through ranked play, with the most skilled among the community getting them before everyone else. Those on the very top can expect to see some exclusive cosmetics as well, though details have not been given.

This isn't from the video itself, but more skins are coming out this summer! And before you ask, there's no point to hoard your item boxes right now, their drops have been set the moment you picked them up, so you won't be able to get the new skins even if you waited.

More details will be coming in the near future, but speaking as someone that lives to be competitive - this is some great stuff! I'm not sure how I feel about the golden guns though, but I'll reserve my judgement for when they actually get revealed, hopefully along with the super-rare skins reserved for the very best players.

Mercy and Pharah from Overwatch