After hitting the PC Tuesday, Blizzard released the Competitive Mode update to Overwatch on the Xbox One Thursday. This leaves only PlayStation 4 owners waiting for ranked multiplayer matches to hit their console.
The latest Overwatch patch for the Xbox One was deployed early Thursday afternoon with tweaks to McCree and Widowmaker as well as gamepad controls, plus a host of bug fixes. Competitive Mode is the headliner, however, as it brings an extra level of intensity to the first-person hero shooter.
The launch of the new Competitive mode does come with another caveat. The first season will be shortened from the planned two-and-a-half-month season to a month and a half. Blizzard will end the first season of ranked multiplayer play on August 18 across the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The seasons will then take a two-week break before starting the Fall 2016 season.
Blizzard will continue the cadence of two and half month seasons followed by a two-week break afterwards. This is to allow the studio time to make any changes based on the previous season before the start of the next.
“We’re super excited to release Competitive Play, and we made the decision to move ahead with a shorter season for two key reasons. One, we want players to be able to start working towards their Competitive Play rewards as soon as possible,” Blizzard explained. “And two, we believe this first season will teach us a lot of about what works well, what doesn’t, and what players are really looking for from a competitive system in Overwatch. Competitive Play is definitely one of those features that will take us a few iterations to get right, and by getting the system out there sooner, we can start making improvements based on your feedback sooner too.”
For those that aren’t sure what Competitive mode entails, Overwatch is adding a new ranked play multiplayer hopper for those that reach level 25 in-game. Players will go through 10 placement matches and will receive a skill rating once complete. This skill rating will then be used to match the player up with another of a similar skill.
All participants in the Overwatch Competitive mode will be able to see each other’s skill rating and should expect their personal rating to go up and down based on their performance. Also, it won’t be a perfect match every time, as players will sometimes be matched up against those less skilled or more skilled than themselves. The good news is if you are overmatched, you’ll gain more skill rating if your side wins and will lose only a little of your skill rating if you lose.
Expect plenty of changes to Competitive mode based on the first season. Blizzard revealed on Battle.net it already has many ideas in mind for the Fall 2016 season.
Blizzard also plans to do a better job of releasing patches across the PC, PS4, and Xbox One closer together. The developer previously apologized the delay between release of each of the platforms and promised to “refine our patching processes over the next few months in an effort to sync up our release dates across platforms as closely possible.”
The main issue is patches released to the PS4 and Xbox One must undergo a certification testing process with Sony and Microsoft while that is not the case with the PC. This certification process can add anywhere from a couple of days to two weeks for a release depending on the size. This frequently happens with multi-platform games of all stripes from SMITE to ARK: Survival Evolved to Rainbow Six: Siege.
What do you think of Overwatch‘s Competitive Mode on the Xbox One so far? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image via Blizzard Entertainment]