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Overwatch Game Mode and Map Guide

Last updated on Apr 29, 2016 at 15:38 by Vlad

Table of Contents

1. Overview

Overwatch games (whether they be Quick Play, Competitive Play, or even Custom Games) revolve heavily around the Game Mode of the map being played. Killing players of the opposing team is not a goal in itself, but simply a way to facilitate securing the objectives of the Game Mode.

In this guide, we will go over the Game Modes currently in Overwatch, explaining how each works, and we will also quickly describe the maps that belong to each Game Mode.

2. Point Capture

Point Capture is a Game Mode in which one team is assigned the Attacker role, while the other team is the Defender. All Point Capture maps are comprised of two Points (labeled A and B), the capturing of which is the objective of the Attackers, while the Defenders must prevent the Attackers from capturing the points.

Attackers have 5 minutes to capture point A (and failing to do so results in a Defender victory), and upon capturing point A, another 5 minutes is added to their remaining time, during which time they must capture point B (which is unavailable for attack for as long as point A has not been captured).

Once both points are captured (Attacker victory) or the timer runs out (Defender victory), the second half of the map begins with the roles of Attacker and Defender being reversed.

The mechanics of point capture are fairly simple. If the attacking team has at least 1 player present on the point, while no defender is also on the point, then the point will slowly move towards attacker control. The rate at which this is happening is indicated by a scale on the user interface.

The more attacking players are present on the point at the same time, the faster the point will be captured. About 5 seconds after no attacking players are on the point, existing progress towards full capture will decay over time (rather quickly). That said, each point has 2 intermediary checkpoints on the way to full control (also indicated on the user interface) which effectively save the attacking team's progress and below which, once reached, progress cannot devolve.

If at least 1 defender is present on the point at the same time as 1 or more attackers, the capture progress will neither advance nor decay — the point will be in a contested state during which its progress is effectively frozen. This state persists until such a time as all players of one team are removed from the point.

Finally, it is worth noting that once point A has been captured, the attackers will spawn in a new location that is more advanced and therefore closer to Point B.

2.1. Maps

There are currently 3 Point Capture maps in Overwatch.

  • Hanamura
  • Temple of Anubis
  • Volskaya Industries

3. Payload

Payload is a Game Mode in which the Attacking team must push a vehicle along a predetermined path in a given amount of time. The attackers start off with 5 minutes, to which time is added as the payload reaches certain checkpoints along its path (there is a slight variation in the checkpoint set-up, so we detail it below).

As with the Point Capture Game Mode, once the payload reaches its final destination (Attacker victory) or the timer runs out (Defender victory), the second half of the map beings with the roles of Attacker and Defender being reversed.

For the payload to be pushed forward, at least 1 attacker must be in a small radius around it. If this is the case, the payload will move forward slowly. The more attackers are around the payload at a given time, the faster it will move.

Similarly to Point Capture, when there is at least 1 defender around the payload at the same time as 1 or more attackers, the objective will be contested, and the payload will not move at all.

Furthermore, if there are no attackers near the payload, after a short amount of time, the payload will very slowly move backwards. This happens regardless of the presence of any defenders on the payload, and the payload cannot regress past a checkpoint that the attackers had already reached.

In this Game Mode, the attackers also benefit from a new spawn point with each checkpoint that the payload reaches. Moreover, as the payload reaches a certain checkpoint, the defenders will be pushed back to spawning as far back as possible, effectively at the location of the payload's final destination.

3.1. Maps

There are currently 3 Payload maps in Overwatch.

  • Dorado has 2 checkpoints. The first adds 3 minutes to the timer, while the second checkpoint adds 2 additional minutes.
  • Route 66 also has 2 checkpoints, but each one adds only 2 minutes of additional time.
  • Watchpoint: Gibraltar has 3 checkpoints, but the first checkpoint does not result in a new spawn location for the attackers or defenders. Each of the 3 checkpoints on this map adds 2 minutes of additional time.

4. Hybrid

The Hybrid Game Mode is, as the name implies, a Hybrid between the Point Capture and Payload Game Modes. In Hybrid, the attackers start out with the objective of capturing a point in the alloted amount of time (5 minutes). Once this happens, a payload will be unlocked at the location of the captured point, which the attackers must then push forward to its final destination.

Each of the 3 Hybrid maps has 2 checkpoints for the payload to reach along its path, with each checkpoint adding 2 minutes of additional time.

The individual elements of the Hybrid Game Mode work exactly as they do in their original Game Modes.

4.1. Maps

There are currently 3 Hybrid Maps in Overwatch.

  • Hollywood
  • King's Row
  • Numbani

5. Control

The Control Game Mode is different from all other 3 Game Modes in that both teams have the same role and the same objective within a given round. The objective of Control maps is to maintain control of a single point, located in the center of the map, equidistant from the spawn points of both teams. Each team has their own Control Counter for the control exhibited over the point, and the first team to reach 100% wins the round.

30 seconds after the start of the round, the point becomes unlocked, allowing teams to capture it. Capturing this point works similarly to capturing a point in the Point Capture or Hybrid Game Modes, with the exception that there are no intermediary checkpoints along the path to full control of the point (so even almost full control can revert down to nothing). Once a team captures the point, they have control over it which in turn increases their Control Counter at the rate of about 1% per second. The progress on the Control Counter never decays throughout a round, even when control has been lost to the other team.

Effectively, the teams will fight over the point for the duration of the game, with the team that does not have control attempting to wrest it from the controlling team before they reach 100% control.

It is worth noting that once a team has control of the point, they do not need to stand on the point for them to maintain control (unless a player of the opposing team is on the point to recapture it).

Each Control map has 3 different sub-areas, with each round taking place in one of these sub-areas. The maps are played in a best of 3 format (best of 5 in Competitive Play), with the order in which the sub-areas are played being chosen at random.

5.1. Maps

There are currently 3 Control Maps in Overwatch.

  • Ilios
  • Lijiang Tower
  • Nepal

6. Overtime

An important concept that applies to all Game Modes and maps is that of Overtime. The system is not entirely intuitive, so we feel it best to explain it here.

The purpose of Overtime is to prevent a team from losing a round while they are in control of or contesting the objective. This works slightly differently depending on the Game Mode, so we will break it down. However, it is true for all Game Modes that there is no limit to the amount of times Overtime can be triggered in a given round, nor to the total amount of time that the game can extended by due to Overtime.

6.1. Point Capture

On Point Capture maps, Overtime is triggered whenever the game timer expires but the attacking team still has at least 1 player on the point. When this first happens, an Overtime bar appears on the user interface. As soon as there are no attackers on the point, the Overtime bar begins to burn out over a few seconds. If the attackers do not manage to get on the point again before the Overtime runs out, the game ends.

6.2. Payload

On Payload maps, Overtime is triggered whenever the game timer expires but the attacking team still has at least 1 player pushing the payload forward. Overtime begins to run out as soon as no attackers are on the payload. It is interesting to note that, theoretically, it is possible for a team to push the entire length of the payload's path exclusively during Overtime, as there is no hard limit in place to prevent this.

6.3. Hybrid

On Hybrid maps, Overtime is triggered in exactly the same way as in the cases of the above two game modes.

6.4. Control

On Control maps, Overtime is triggered if the point is being contested when one team's Control Counter reaches 99%. This effectively prevents the round from ending, allowing the other team the chance to take over the point and bring up their own Control Counter. As soon as the point is no longer being contested by the losing team, the Overtime will burn out over a few seconds, at which point the team that is at 99% will win the round.

7. Competitive Play Tiebreaking

While not strictly related to Game Modes, we felt it useful to explain how the winner is determined in the game's Competitive Play system, in case of a tie. This applies to the Point Capture, Payload, and Hybrid Game Modes (the Control Game Mode is, as we mentioned earlier, simply a best-of-5).

If team A wins one round of a game, and team B wins another round, the game considers this to be a tie regardless of how each team performed in each round. This means that, for example, if team A attacks during the first round of Hanamura and captures Point A quickly, and then spends the rest of the game assaulting Point B (and coming within a few seconds of capturing it), while team B fails to even capture Point A during the second round of the game, the game is still considered to be a tie. This applies similarly regardless of how far each team is able to push their own Payload.

In order to settle a tie, a third round is played. A random sub-area of a random Control map is chosen, and whichever team reaches 100% on their Control Counter first is considered the winner of the game.

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