Alert! Alert! A new season of Overwatch Competitive Play has begun. Season 2 is here on PC and console. Remember, there is a free-play weekend on console Overwatch coming 9-12th September.

With the new Competitive Play season comes the new - and fabulous - Eichenwalde castle map, plus everything else that was on the Public Test Realm recently (including the tweaks to Genji, Mercy, Hanzo and Zenyatta, among others). For granular detail see the official patch post on the Overwatch forum.

Overwatch Competitive Play Season 2 has undergone significant changes that we've written about before. The Skill Rating scale has been massively expanded from 1-100 to 1-5000, and there are seven tiers within it, from Bronze up to Grandmaster.

When you achieve a new tier you will not be relegated from it, no matter how far your Skill Rating drops. This is true of all tiers apart from the top two: Master and Grandmaster, where competition is intended to be fierce.

Note, there are grouping restrictions. You in Bronze cannot group with a friend in Diamond. You will need to be within 1000 Skill Rating of each other to group, except for in the higher Master and Grandmaster echelons, where the threshold is 500 SR.

Another big change is the removal of Sudden Death, which means the outcome of close matches should feel fair - for both teams. You will be rewarded Competitive Points for a draw now too.

Blizzard continues to tinker with penalties for game-leavers. There's a 10-minute penalty for anyone who leaves an in-progress Competitive Play match, and in Season 2 you will need to complete more matches to return your account to good standing.

Good luck in Season 2! I'm optimistically aiming for Gold. You?

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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