Overwatch 2 makes significant changes to competitive play in season 9

Overwatch 2
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Overwatch 2 season 9 is set to introduce a series of quality-of-life improvements to the game, including big changes to competitive play.

Season 9 of the online first-person shooter is set to release today (February 13) and ahead of time, Blizzard Entertainment has shared a full breakdown of what to expect from the major update.

The most notable changes arriving this season are applied to competitive play, which has been completely reworked. Players can expect a soft reset of their rank giving them the "opportunity to climb higher while maintaining a standard in match quality". 

Placements are also back and Competitive Overview is "now more transparent than ever," and will offer skill modifiers to help players understand their progress as they climb through the ranks.

Speaking of ranks, Overwatch 2 will introduce a new rank above Grand Master, called Champion, the highest you can now achieve, and for all those hours spent grinding competitive play, a new Jade Weapon Variants collection will also be added.  Jade Variants can be unlocked as players earn new Competitive Points, just like the Gold Variants that have been present since the first Overwatch game.

Overwatch 2

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

A new season also means a new battle pass with over 80 tiers of rewards, including a batch of new character skins, such as Survivor Soldier: 76 and Tentacle Horror Torbjörn, as well as skins specially designed for Valentine's Day.

Additionally, there's a new non-canon co-op event, Cosmic Crisis, which features challenges and branching objectives, where players will be tasked with completing each unique mission as Sigma, Roadhog, Soldier: 76, Mei, Torbjorn, Widowmaker, Lifeweaver, Moira, Ana, and Illari.

A new multiplayer experience in Hero Mastery called Gauntlet will require teams to fight against waves of incoming enemies while defending their tower from damage, but the mode will feature a new experience every time, with new enemy waves, objectives, and upgrade options. 

Junkertown has also received a big update, with the first section of the map - which was originally a big open space - now containing new buildings for cover advantages as the payload passes by. Alongside a new night-time lighting theme, Blizzard has also replaced the outhouse with a tall water tower to block the line of sight from the opening above the gate offering, offering new strategies. 

There are also big changes to heroes across the board this season, for instance, the health pools of all heroes have been increased and Blizzard has made adjustments to how damage is dealt by making it more consistent by increasing the projectile size. The full list of hero changes can be found in the patch notes, which feature significant buffs to Pharah by lessening her reliance on Mercy and changing up her air movement and downtime.

For more, check our list of the best FPS games as well as the best co-op games available right now.