The Overwatch Arcade adds multiple new game modes and weekly rewards

We heard about the new Overwatch Arcade earlier today during the BlizzCon 2016 opening ceremony, but nothing about how it actually works. Consider that oversight cleared up: Game director Jeff Kaplan took to the stage at the "Overwatch: What's New" panel to reveal that it will be a new option on the Play Menu providing gamers with a number of different ways to do battle, and earn rewards for doing so. 

Whenever a new mode is added to the Arcade, players will be given a Loot Box simply for jumping in and playing. But there will be weekly rewards on top of that: Play and win three matches, and you'll get a Loot Box, up to three per week. And it doesn't matter what mode you're playing: Three wins in any Arcade game type earns the reward. 

The Arcade will feature a number of new game types, and some that aren't so new:  

  • Mystery Duel, a 1v1, best-of-nine contest in which players are randomly assigned a different hero each round—the same hero for both players, so no complaining about imbalance
  • Elimination, a 3v3, best-of five battle with no respawns that only allows changes to team composition between rounds
  • Mystery Heroes, a 6v6 fight on normal Quick Play maps, in which players are assigned heroes at random
  • No Limits, a 6v6 battle with no limits on character stacking (because a single-hero limit is coming to Quick Play—more on that below)
  • All Brawls, a playlist of popular older Brawl modes and a few new ones, which cycles to a new mode at the end of each round

The single-hero limit, which keeps teams from having more than one instance of a hero in their lineup, was added to Competitive Play in the summer. At the time, principal designer Scott Mercer said the limit is "not going to affect Quick Play," but Kaplan explained during the panel that, as players have grown more knowledgeable and sophisticated, having the single hero limit in Quick Play as well is necessary for the ongoing "health and security" of the game.

The Overwatch Arcade is expected to come to the PTR on November 7 or 8. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.