You’ve come to the right place if you are interested in learning more about Overwatch ranks and what each rank in Overwatch means. Although Overwatch has a few points of similarity to other shooting games, Overwatch’s rank system is a little bit more unique than others. It is thus imperative to learn more about Overwatch’s matchmaking and its competitive ranks system.
Competitive Overwatch shouldn’t be taken lightly, as achieving a high Skill Rating (SR) requires a calm, collected mindset as well as a lot of game sense and skill. Although ranks in Overwatch aren’t quite as wide as they are in other online competitive games, it is still difficult to climb the ladder. It starts at Bronze (1500 SR), and increases one rank every 500 SR points.
Considering that most players will gain between 20 & 25 SR per win, it is quite difficult to climb the ladder in Overwatch, which is why we have released this article to help you understand more about how the system functions. Although you might be feeling unconfident now, we hope that reading through will help you feel more confident in your chances of climbing.
Overwatch has a total of Seven ranks:
Silver: 1500 to 1999
Gold: 2000 to 2499
Platinum: 2500 to 2999
Diamond: 3000 to 3499
Masters: 3500 to 3999
Grandmaster: 4000 and higher
Based on Overwatch creative director Jeff Kaplan’s post from February 2018, player distribution across the ranks is somewhere along these lines:
Even though it is a relatively old post from 2018, it is still close to being accurate as the base that the player distribution forms around. Bronze is the beginner tier, which is normally loaded with new players. On the other end of the spectrum, Grandmaster hosts the best of the best players.
Clearly, the vast majority tend to hover between Silver & Platinum, with the most players in any individual rank being in Gold. It is safe to call this the Casual area of Overwatch, where teamplay is seldom a possibility, but not completely non-existent either.
Accessing Overwatch ranked
For players who haven’t played ranked before, there are a few requirements that you should keep in mind before you try accessing Overwatch rank play. First, you must be at least Level 25, which you can reach through playing Quick Play or Arcade. These are the casual modes in Overwatch, considered “for fun” more than anything.
This is necessary since Overwatch’s hero roster is constantly being expanded, each with their own unique abilities. If you hop into Competitive Overwatch ranked right away, you would be getting overwhelmed by the amount of information you are still lacking, and that can cause a negative experience both to you and to your teammates. You can consider it practice, a rite of passage of sorts, before entering the grueling lands of Overwatch ranked, Competitive.
Upon hitting level 25, the Competitive option will be selectable in the “Play” menu, signalling your ability to begin playing Overwatch ranked. You’ll have 5 placement matches per position (DPS/Tank/Support), which will ultimately determine your starting rank. Most players start around the Silver/Gold territory. Keep in mind that Overwatch’s ranked matchmaking system takes wins and losses into account more than kills and deaths, so your first priority should be being a team player if you want to have a high rank.
The meaning of each Overwatch rank
Every Overwatch rank has its own unique playstyle. In Bronze and Silver, you will frequently meet players who are only interested in playing their favorite heroes. Not surprising, considering this is the most casual tier in Overwatch ranked.
Going into Gold, you will start to see a wide range of players, some of them aiming to climb into the highest echelons of the ladder, while others are still just starting out or have recently been promoted from Silver. In either case, you will meet some people who are more interested in playing an individual-based game, while other people will be more interested in crafting a strong team composition. You will also see players who are ‘maining’ a specific hero, which means they play the same hero almost exclusively in order to maximize their potential skill level on that hero and his respective role.
Once you’ve made it into Platinum, you will begin to notice the importance of mics. Players here have climbed out of the bottom half of the ladder, so achieving the >15% of Diamond+ begins to seem more realistic. Here, you’ll see people formulating strategies involving enemy team compositions, maps as well as game modes. People will hold their Ultimates, eager to merge them with those of their teammates, and will have a good idea on exactly when to join a fight and also when to retreat.
Diamond houses roughly 10% of Overwatch’s ranked player base at any given time. It’s a big bump from Platinum, since Platinum is still next to Gold in the Overwatch ranks. Upon hitting Diamond, it becomes very rare to see a player who does not use some form of communication with their teammates. In this Overwatch rank, teams who don’t cooperate will meet their doom, swinging back down the ladder to Platinum.
Masters is the initial Overwatch rank which begins to approach professional territory. Almost all of the players here display supreme game sense and mechanics. Most Masters+ players will have already selected a main hero, or at least a main class (between damage, support and tank), which they will rarely abandon for a competitive ranked game.
Being the top 1% bracket, Grandmaster is the Overwatch rank where the elite exist. In Grandmaster, you will be regularly playing with and against Overwatch League professional players and the most popular Twitch streamers in the world. This is the peak of competitive Overwatch ranked.
What should I do to rank up in Overwatch
As previously mentioned, the single method to climb in Overwatch ranks is to win. Finishing a game with five gold medals is irrelevant if your team loses, as you will still lose SR. Accordingly, it is considered ideal to group with friends or players you have recently been matched with. That way, you can plan ahead your strategy as a team, which is better than being matched randomly with players who are more interested in their own ideas.
Keep in mind however, that if you’re queueing up as a group, you’ll be matched against groups. Which means that even if you have the room to execute a few impressive plays with your teammates, the enemy squad will likely be capable of the same as well. Regardless, this does add to the enjoyment of Overwatch, being more team-based. While losing always sucks, it is a little less bad when you lose in a squad. As for winning, you will gain that precious SR and be that much closer to your Grandmaster dreams.