UPDATE: Don't want to read words? Well here's Chris Bratt to save the day with an overview of Overwatch's recently announced progression system in video form. Look at the pretty pictures. Listen to his dulcet tones.
ORIGINAL STORY: Overwatch's closed beta just went live today and Blizzard has outlined how its progression system will work.
Rather than level up individual heroes, the player will gain overall levels per account that unlock randomised cosmetic loot drops. Upon gaining a new level, you'll receive a Loot Box with four items in it, each offering either new skins, "highlight intro" animations, emotes, victory poses, victory lines, player icons, and graffiti tags.
"At its core, we've designed Overwatch to be a game that's exciting and satisfying to play on its own," Blizzard explained in a blog post. "However, we also know how fun it can be to work toward long-term goals and be rewarded for the time and effort you've put into playing."
"It's important to note that all of these items are purely cosmetic, which means they won't provide any additional player power. They will, however, give you a plethora of ways to express yourself within the world of Overwatch."
Furthermore, there won't be a level cap, director Jeff Kaplan confirmed to PC Gamer, so you can just keep gaining stylin' new gear and presentational perks.
Since the loot drops are random, there will be a way to exchange them for in-game currency so you can save up and buy the goodies you've been eyeing for a while.
Furthermore, Blizzard does intend to sell Loot Boxes for real money later on, though the details on how that will work and how much they'll cost has yet to be revealed.
As far as what's new in the closed beta goes, Blizzard noted on its forum that there's a new mode entitled Control, which basically sounds like King of the Hill. Two teams compete to hold sections of territory for a certain period of time and whichever team succeeds in holding the best of three objective areas wins the round.
There are two new maps for this mode, too. Lijiang Tower is a Chinese skyscraper in a busy metropolitan area, while Nepal is set in a Himalayan monastery, "a place where omnics and humans alike make pilgrimages in the hopes of finding a greater truth."
Finally, there's the new option to play in a six-player team against AI bots.
You can sign up here for the close beta, as Blizzard is adding new people all the time. Fingers crossed that you get selected!
Now here's Jeff Kaplan providing a detailed video overview on what's new:
To stay on top of all the latest developments, take a look at our dedicated Overwatch site at MetaBomb.