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The Overwatch PTR is Live!

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The first launch of the Overwatch PTR is now live! This will allow testing for future Overwatch patches before they become available on public servers.

If you're one of the people hoping to get in and experience the PTR, you can find guides from the official site below on how to join up and test.

Blizzard LogoHow to Participate in the PTR

To participate in the public test, you must have an Overwatch game license for Windows PC attached your Battle.net account in good standing (i.e. it hasn't been suspended or banned). 

Step 1: Restart the Battle.net desktop app.
Step 2: Navigate to the Overwatch tab on the left-hand menu.
Step 3: Select "PTR: Overwatch" from the REGION/ACCOUNT drop-down menu.
Step 4: Click "Install" to begin the installation process.
Step 5: Once the PTR client is installed and updated, click "Play" to begin!

Note: In order to access the PTR, you must have installed Overwatch and logged into the game at least once. If the PTR is not available for you after following the steps above, trying logging into Overwatch, exiting the game client, and then launching the PTR again.

(source)

They've included a number of FAQs that have also been asked in advance of the PTR, so check them out in case it answers one of your pending questions!

Blizzard LogoPTR FAQs

Q. On which platforms is the PTR available?
A. The PTR is available on Windows PC only. 


Q. What regions are eligible to participate in the PTR?
A. Accounts from all regions (excluding China) are eligible to participate; however, the PTR will be hosted on our Americas region. As a result, if you plan to play the PTR from a region outside the US, please anticipate lowered performance and increased latency. 


Q. Is there a cap to how many players can participate on the PTR?
A. The PTR can currently support 10k concurrent players (or players logged into the PTR at the same time). If we happen to reach this cap, any new players attempting to log in to the PTR will be placed into a queue.


Q. What languages will be supported on the PTR?
A. The PTR is available in all supported languages, though some content may not be fully localized yet.


Q. Will any account progress from live game will transfer over to the PTR?
A. Yes. A copy of your account from the live game will be transferred over to the PTR automatically, and all progress will transfer over with it. Please note that this copy is pre-made, though, and based on an earlier snapshot of your account.  As a result, depending on when you last played, your PTR account may not be as up-to-date as your live game account.


Q. Will any progress I make on the PTR transfer over to the live game? 
A. No. Any progression earned during the PTR—including levels, achievements, stats, skill ratings, loot boxes (including rewards from loot boxes), currency (including Competive Points), and cosmetic items unlocked with currency—will not transfer over to the live game.


Q. Will I be able to purchase Loot Boxes on the PTR?
A. No. All real-money purchases are disabled on the PTR. 


Q. Where can I share feedback about the upcoming patch content?
A. This iteration of the PTR is intended to make sure the upcoming patch is working correctly before it's released, so we'll be primarily focused on uncovering major bugs and technical issues. Though you are still welcome to share your feedback through our normal channels, it's unlikely that we'll be able to incorporate changes based on PTR feedback in this patch cycle.

(source)

The final post that was included in the update was the actual patch notes for the PTR. There are a number of notable updates on the horizon, including changes to the Widowmaker ultimate's sound line, changed the control system for gamepads that had caused so many problems and the awaited Competitive Play.

Blizzard LogoPTR Patch Notes

PATCH FEATURES

New Feature: Competitive Play

Once you hit level 25, you’ll have access to our newest feature: Competitive Play. This mode was designed to be a more serious experience, allowing players to hone their skills and perfect their strategies. But before diving into the fray, you’ll need to play 10 placement matches. These will allow our matchmaking system to gather enough information about your abilities to assign a skill rating.

With your newly acquired skill rating, you’ll be matched against players of a similar ability level. And if you play well and win games, the competition will become increasingly fierce throughout the two-and-a-half-month season. Plus, your performance will be rewarded with unique in-game items like sprays, player icons, and Competitive Points (which can be traded in for cosmetic Golden Weapons).

We’ve also made a number of changes to Overwatch's match format for Competitive Play. Some of these changes are simple interface changes, while others ensure that maps and modes don't favor one side or another—plus we’ve added a sudden death mechanic that ensures tied games are broken as fairly as possible. 

Because Competitive Play is more serious in nature, we want to make sure that player behavior is acceptable. This means that the penalties are more severe than in the Quick Play or Weekly Brawl! modes. Leaving a game early or stepping away from your computer will make you ineligible to join a game until the previous game has ended, and continued infractions could result in restrictions or removal from Competitive Play.

GENERAL UPDATES

Gamepad Controls

  • Players can now swap the left and right sticks on a control pad
  • "Legacy" controls option has been added:
  • Left stick up/down moves forward/backward
  • Left stick left/right turns left/right
  • Right stick up/down aims up/down (these can be inverted)
  • Right stick left/right strafes left/right
  • Sticks can also be switched
  • Improved dead-zone controls, giving players increased accuracy during off-center and diagonal stick movement

Miscellaneous

  • When activating Widowmaker's Ultimate ability, Infra-Sight, her voice line will now be audible map-wide
  • "Weapons" section added to the Hero Gallery
  • Added McCree as an AI hero in Practice vs. AI, Play vs. AI, and Custom Game modes
  • Added a variety of a social options to the hero selection and end of match screens
  • Removed "Prefer"/"Avoid" player system

BUG FIXES

General

  • Fixed a bug that would cause players’ weapons to auto-snap straight up or down when the crosshair was aimed between 85 and 90 degrees
  • Fixed a bug that caused players who backfilled and then completed a game to sometimes receive a loss on their Career Profile and not receive their XP bonus for backfilling
  • Fixed a bug that would move players toward the source of a knockback rather than away from it
  • Fixed a bug that caused Hearthstone-themed sprays to ignore localization
  • Fixed several framerate issues that could occur when cycling through the hero selection menu
  • Fixed a variety of issues with and made several improvements to ambient lighting 
  • Made some improvements to how AI heroes respond to one another 
  • Made a variety of performance and optimization improvements across the game
  • Unicode keys for non-English keyboards are now displayed properly in the keybinding interface

Maps

  • Players can no longer be resurrected in out-of-play areas on Ilios

Heroes

  • Fixed a bug with the "Junkrat RIP-Tire Kills—Average" lifetime statistic
  • Fixed a bug that would sometimes cause projectiles to hit Reinhardt instead of his Barrier Field
  • Fixed a bug that allowed Torbjörn to pick up Scrap while dead

(source)

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