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New Overwatch 2 competitive mode sets the table for tournaments

Overwatch 2 tournaments could be in the works as Blizzard announces a 5v5 ranked mini-season for teams to take a more competitive shot at ranked play.

Overwatch 2 tournaments - Cassidy, a bearded cowboy, tips his hat as he chomps enthusiastically on a cigar.

Overwatch 2 tournaments could be coming, giving you a chance to get that spirit of competition flowing in the multiplayer game – but Blizzard is testing the waters first with the introduction of a new ranked Overwatch 2 competitive mode. Game director Aaron Keller talks about the new format, as well as addressing snowball mechanics and one-sided stomps, in his latest Overwatch 2 director’s take, and it might mean the arrival of a long-requested format.

Overwatch 2 season 5 brings a bunch of new game modes, including the creator-made ‘Defeat the Demon Lord,’ ‘Winston’s Beach Volleyball’ for this year’s Summer Games, and a prop hunt-style ‘Magic and Mischief.’ It’s the fourth mode that Keller takes extra time to dig into in this blog, however – and its a five-on-five ranked mini-season.

This is a special competitive mode where you’ll need to premake a five-stack to queue up for matches, meaning it’ll always be between ostensibly coordinated teams (although I might not describe myself and my pals as the most structured unit; we have fun though). “If this proves popular,” Keller remarks, “it could open the door for other types of competition in our game that are based on teams (like an internal tournament system or mode).”

The idea of in-game tournaments has long been suggested by players, so there’s certainly a segment of the audience that’ll be pretty happy to hear of it. Keller goes further, saying the mode “could potentially force us to take a harder look at the way we treat grouping restrictions in our current system,” where players are forced to only group with players of comparable skill level, with increasing restrictions as you move up the ranks to a point where Grandmaster players can only group with one other person when queueing.

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Keller also takes some time to address stomps – those one-sided matches that tend to be Overwatch 2’s most disheartening moments, win or lose. Keller notes, however, that “lopsided matches tend to happen at the same rate, regardless of match quality.” So what causes one team to roll over another in such a dominant fashion?

The answer is that Overwatch 2 is full of ‘snowball mechanics’, such as the way ult charge works – something that’s existed since the first game. “It can be very hard to stop that momentum,” Keller concedes, “When a team wins a fight, they typically generate more ult, but they also get to dictate positioning for the next fight.” It’s one of the toughest problems to address, but Keller says it’s a focus for the team right now, with the potential for “the biggest gains for perceived competitiveness in Overwatch” on the table.

It was also announced at the Xbox Games Showcase that Overwatch 2 is coming to PC Game Pass, so subscribers to Microsoft’s Game Pass Ultimate service will get access to a hero pass featuring all five of the new Overwatch 2 heroes, along with next season’s newcomer.

Our Overwatch 2 tier list is the best place to figure out how you’re going to climb the new competitive ranks, so be sure to study it closely while we wait to discover exactly what Overwatch 2 PvE missions look like when they arrive with the sixth season.