How Overwatch 2 ranks work in competitive

Overwatch 2 ranks
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Overwatch 2's (opens in new tab) new ranks system attempts to make the original game's competitive leaderboard more approachable. Skill tier divisions now break up each medal rank and you no longer have to play a set of placement games to earn a rank. You still have to play a ton of games over the course of the season to climb up the skill tier ladder, but the game presents it as long term progress instead of momentary evaluations of your overall skill.

Overwatch 2 has two ranked modes: Role Queue and Open Queue—both require winning 50 games or having owned the original game to unlock. Role queue locks your team composition to one tank hero, two damage heroes, and two support heroes. You select the roles you want to queue for, play matches, and get an individual rank for each role. Open Queue is a free-for-all like the original Overwatch was at launch back in 2016. You can choose any hero in any role and you receive one, universal rank.

At the start of each competitive season, you maintain the same rank you had before with some slight adjustment based on any games you played after your last rank update (more on that later). If you're brand new to ranked, you will be unranked until you achieve seven wins or 20 losses, whichever comes first. If you played competitive modes in Overwatch 1, your rank will be close to what it was but modified for all the new changes in the sequel. 

This system replaces the original game's placement matches. It encourages you to simply play consistently over several matches instead of treating every one like a school test where you have to perform your absolute best.

For the entirety of the season, your rank will only update when you've hit the seven wins or 20 losses threshold again. And by "update" it means your rank can go up and down any number of skill tier divisions or stay the same, which is a pretty big change compared to the linear Skill Rating system in the original game.

All the ranks you can earn

(Image credit: Tyler C. / Activision Blizzard)

Ranks are broken up into seven medals that represent each skill tier. Each one has five numerical divisions within it that ascend until you break into the next highest tier. So if you're Gold 1, win seven games and go up in rank, you'll be Platinum 5.

The ranks break down like this:

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

Two weeks into every season will mark the release of the Top 500 leaderboard and rank icon—and if the season has a new hero, they will become available to play in ranked. Top 500 is a shifting list of 500 of the highest ranked players. It doesn't require you to be in a certain rank to qualify for it; it's a snapshot of whoever is at the top. But it does require you to play 25 matches in Role Queue or 50 in Open Queue first. And because it's only 500 players out of what is probably thousands, if not millions, of players in total, it will largely consist of Grandmaster and Master players.

If you take an extended break from playing, the invisible MMR, or matchmaking rating, will decay, or be lowered, to place you in easier games in case you're a bit rusty. Blizzard says your MMR will adjust faster than normal during this period to get you back on track.

How groups work with ranks

Overwatch 2's competitive modes have some limitations on playing in groups. Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond players can group up with any number of people within two skill tiers of them. Master players can also group up with any number of people, but they have to be within one skill tier from them.

Everything gets more strict in the two highest roles. Grandmaster players can group up with one player within three skill tier divisions of them. And Top 500 players can only group with one player that is also in the Top 500 in their region.

Overwatch 2's Kiriko

(Image credit: Tyler C. / Activision Blizzard)

How rank rewards work

Overwatch 2's competitive rewards are a little different now too. First, in order to receive any rewards, you have to complete the "Competitive Rewards Qualification" challenge by winning 25 games in Role Queue or Open Queue every season.

Once you do, you'll be ready to earn competitive points for buying your favorite heroes' golden weapons (3,000 competitive points each), and titles to put on your name card in the following season (and must be earned again to use in the next one, too).

For every game you win you'll receive 15 competitive points, and for every draw you get five.

Blizzard has changed how rank rewards work in season 2. Your rank rewards are based on your final ranks and the highest rank across Role Queue and Open Queue. Your final rank includes the games you played after your most recent rank update, so your rewards might be higher or lower than you expected.

For example: If you end a season in Diamond in Open Queue and Silver in Role Queue, you'll receive the Diamond rewards—as long as the games you may or may not have played after the most recent update don't impact your rank. Even if you peaked at Master sometime earlier in the season, you won't get the rewards for that rank because you didn't end on it.

The competitive point rewards are clarified in competitive challenges associated with each rank. Here's how many competitive points you'll get, along with the associate title rewards:

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

You get titles for completing a number of competitive games too: 

  • 250 games: Adept Competitor
  • 750 games: Seasoned Competitor
  • 1,750 games: Expert Competitor

How MMR ranks work

Overwatch 2 D.Va

(Image credit: Tyler C. / Activision Blizzard)

Your matchmaking rating, or MMR, is best thought of as your true rank. You'll never know what it is, but the game's matchmaking system relies on it to give you the most fair games possible. MMR is a moving target (opens in new tab); it compares your skill against other players based on a number of factors each time you win or lose a game, or if you take a long break. It doesn't go up or down a set amount and it's constantly changing as people play and learn and the game changes. In order to keep the system free of manipulation by players who want to min-max it, Blizzard can't ever explain exactly how it works.

MMR inherently doesn't match up with your visible rank, or skill tier. A player could have a high Platinum MMR but appear to be Gold on their profile, so don't fret if you see someone with a similar disparity in your ranked games.

After all, competitive ranks are an elaborate form of a leaderboard you'd see in a game at the arcade, except it's full of millions of players and is constantly shifting. What determines how well you play is entirely decided on by Blizzard. To climb the ranks, the only consistent thing you can do is work on developing the skills that higher rank players have and adapt your play as the game changes.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.