Overwatch 2: How to unlock ranked Competitive play, and how it works

Overwatch 2 Push
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Overwatch 2 is finally here, and just like the original game, it offers a special Competitive play mode where players can test their mettle against others in ranked matches. However, the requirements needed to unlock Competitive in Overwatch 2 are different than they were in the first game, as is the rank structure and the available rewards.

In this quick guide, we'll go over everything you need to know about Overwatch 2's Competitive mode. This includes how to unlock it, how it works, and what kinds of rewards you can expect to earn as you battle your way up the ranked ladder.

Overwatch 2: How to unlock Competitive

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Before you can jump into the Competitive experience, you'll need to unlock the mode. If you're a returning Overwatch player that originally unlocked Competitive by reaching Level 25, you won't need to worry about doing this, as ranked matchmaking will automatically be available to you. However, if you're a new Overwatch 2 player or someone that never reached Level 25 in the original game, there are some things you'll have to do first.

New players will need to complete Overwatch 2's guided First-Time User Experience (FTUE). which is a tutorial-like system that slowly introduces you to the game's core concepts and gradually unlocks all of the original 32 Overwatch heroes over the course of 150 matches. Note that players of the first game don't need to worry about this step.

Once the FTUE is finished, players also need to play and win 50 Quick Play matches. This ensures that all Competitive players have a decent amount of experience under their belt and understand the basics of attacking, defending, and playing with their team. This requirement is in place for both new players and returning Overwatch players that never unlocked the original Competitive mode. Once the FTUE has been completed and you've won 50 Quick Play games, Competitive play will be available.

Overwatch 2: How does Competitive rank work?

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

In the original Overwatch, players could climb through seven separate ranks that were determined by a granular, numeric Skill Rating (SR) system. In Overwatch 2, developer Blizzard has chosen to revamp Competitive play by moving away from SR and instead choosing to add five different tiers to each skill division, moving players up or down a tier (or a division, if necessary) every seven wins or 20 losses or ties.

Blizzard says that the new system is not only a better representation of player skill, but also less stressful to engage with since players won't have to see their SR go up or down after every single game. Ideally, players will feel less pressure, making the overall experience more enjoyable and fun.

Overwatch 2 skill ranks, divisions, and tiers

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

The list below shows each of Overwatch 2's skill divisions and tiers. Note that higher tiers within a division represent lower skill, while lower tiers within divisions represent higher skill. Also keep in mind that Top 500 is a unique skill division without any tiers, and consists of the Top 500 Grandmaster players on the ladder (separated by input method).

  • Bronze 5-1
  • Silver 5-1
  • Gold 5-1
  • Platinum 5-1
  • Diamond 5-1
  • Master 5-1
  • Grandmaster 5-1
  • Top 500

Overwatch 2: Competitive rewards

(Image credit: Windows Central)

In addition to simply being a fulfilling Overwatch experience, Competitive play also offers a small variety of rewards for players to earn as they compete. The first type of reward available are Competitive Points, which are used to purchase special Golden versions of each hero's weapons (3,000 Competitive Points each). You get 15 Competitive Points for each match won and five for every match you draw, and you also get a large chunk of them at the end of each Competitive season, with the amount varying depending on which skill division you finished the season in:

  • Bronze: 65 Competitive Points
  • Silver: 125 Competitive Points
  • Gold: 250 Competitive Points
  • Platinum: 500 Competitive Points
  • Diamond: 750 Competitive Points
  • Master: 1,200 Competitive Points
  • Grandmaster: 1,750 Competitive Points

You can also earn special Competitive titles for your profile name card, which are new in Overwatch 2. These titles allow you to show off how high you've climbed on the ranked ladder and how many ranked matches you've completed. Note that these titles will only be unlocked at the end of each Competitive season, and will only be usable during the season afterwards.

Overwatch 2 is available now on Xbox Series X|S, PS5, PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch. It's arguably one of the best Xbox shooters available, and since it's free-to-play, it doesn't cost anything to check it out. Alternatively, players can purchase the Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Pack that provides access to Season 1's Premium Battle Pass, 2,000 Overwatch Coins, and a bundle of unique Legendary skins.


Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Pack

The $40 Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Pack offers fans a variety of benefits that will allow them to get guaranteed access to Season 1's Premium Battle Pass track, unlock some unique rewards, provides some in-game currency to use, and more.

See at Microsoft | See at Battle.net

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.