UPDATE 21ST JUNE: Images of the golden Overwatch weapons have leaked from the Public Test Realm server. They may change but here they are, courtesy of Master Overwatch, in their current state.
ORIGINAL STORY 20TH JUNE: Climb to the highest ranks in reworked Overwatch Competitive Play - still due to arrive late June - and you'll be rewarded with a golden weapon!
"Rewards are always controversial when it comes to anything competitive and anything PvP based," said game director Jeff Kaplan in an Overwatch developer update video. "We don't want to do anything that involves power-gain or anything like that. We really want it to be an even playingfield.
"But we do have some awesome cosmetic rewards in the system. Not only will there be some sprays and player icons that you can only get by playing each season, there's a very cool, customised golden gun system that you guys are going to see. Once you see things like Reinhardt's golden hammer you're going to be pretty blown away.
"The highest skilled characters will be able to unlock that stuff way sooner than anybody else. There will also be some other exclusive other cosmetic rewards that only the highest-skilled players can get. If you really earn some of these rewards you'll be able to show off and be very unique from other players."
Jeff Kaplan also talked about how Competitive Play will no longer have tiers of rank as it did in closed beta - something he mentioned back our big Overwatch interview earlier this month. Back then you couldn't fall down a rank once you'd attained it, but Blizzard doesn't want that any more.
"The way the system is going to work going forward is we're not going to have tiers at all," said Kaplan. "We're going to directly correlate what internally is called your matchmaking rating (MMR) to something that we're calling skill rating."
All of these ratings will be displayed clearly on the screen next to players, he added - as will your team's combined team rating. You'll be able to see easily how the teams match up.
"Obviously if you're the underdog you stand to gain more and lose less in this new system," Kaplan went on to say, "that's how a matchmaking system works. Not every match is going to be perfectly fair. But if it's not fair, you do stand to gain more if you win, and lose less if you lose. And we're also showing if people are partied on that screen."
When you lose in this new system, then your rating will be negatively affected.
"You're going to go down sometimes," said Kaplan. "It's not always going to be a climb up the ladder. There are going to be times when you're actually going to go down."
Kaplan talked about - but didn't detail - a significant-sounding change to Assault maps in Competitive Play (and maybe in Quick Play too?). These maps are Hanamura, Volskaya Industries and Temple of Anubis, where you attack/defend two objectives, Point A and Point B.
"We've changed the format in Assault to make those maps last longer and have more of a chance of back-and-forth between the teams," said Kaplan, and promised more detail in the future.
Competitive Play Sudden Death will work differently, too. It's triggered when teams win an Attack/Defend round in Competitive Play (you have to play both an Attack and Defend in Competitive Play). The way it worked in closed beta was if it was one a piece, a random Control Point map was chosen as the decider (in Control Point Competitive games it was best of five rather than three.)
But Blizzard thought Sudden Death was happening too often, around 35 per cent of the time, which was still "way too much for us" said Kaplan.
"We actually like Sudden Death," he said. "When it's a very close match it's a cool moment to have, where both teams - it's a coin-toss which team is better. They both competed at a really high level. But we wanted to minimise how often that happened; to be a rare, special thing when the teams were so close.
"We have some changes in place that will greatly minimise the number of Sudden Deaths that you see," he added, but didn't say what those changes would be. But he did say Sudden Death resolutions will now play-out on the map you were playing, rather than the game transporting you to a random Control Point map somewhere else.
For all the latest Overwatch hero, map and gameplay guides, visit our sister site MetaBomb
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