blizzcon 2016

How Overwatch's New Arcade Mode Works

by Suriel Vazquez on Nov 04, 2016 at 11:52 AM

Buried under the news of Sombra's reveal at Blizzcon was the introduction of Overwatch's new Arcade mode (not to be confused with the Brawl type of the same name, now called "Total Mayhem"), which will offer a number of new game modes to play and allow everyone to earn three more Loot Boxes per week.

Taking the feedback that the current Brawl system, "didn't have enough oomph to it," (as Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan said), the Arcade is actually a sub menu, which houses a number of new modes, including the current Brawl. The Arcade mode will offer different kinds of a modes, which will be cycled in and out.

Whenever a player wins a match of a new game mode for the first time, they'll receive a single Loot Box. In addition, winning three matches of any game mode in the current Arcade rotation will net players an additional loot box and they can earn three loot boxes this way per week. The weekly timer will reset at the same time for everyone.

But what new modes are there in the Arcade? First, there's a new one-versus-one Mystery Duel mode, which will pit two players against each other in a best-of-nine match. Both players will play as the same hero in this mode, chosen at random each round. Another mode opts for a three-versus-three set up and uses a Counter-Strike-style elimination in a best-of-five format where teams can pick a single, unchanging team composition each round. To accommodate the less crowded mode, Blizzard built a new map, Eco Point, which acts as Mei's home base. The map is smaller than most other maps and was made for the short-lived matches of Elimination and Mystery Duel.

On top of that, some Brawl mainstays will make a return. The six-versus-six Mystery Hero Mode returns, and a new mode called "No Limits." When the Arcade update hits, Quick Play will stay the same, one hero per team limit from Competitive, while No Limits lets players stack up to six of the same hero. Finally, all the other brawls, like Super Shimada Bros. and We're All Soldiers Now, are funneled into a single playlist, called "All Brawls," and teams will cycle between all the Brawls between matches. A couple of new Brawls will enter the fray as well, including one which limits the map Ilios with the giant pit in it and that only lets you play as Lucio and Roadhog. Because all the new modes will split the playerbase, the client will let players know when they're playing in a low-popularity mode, and if a mode is consistently unpopular, it will be cycled out.

The Arcade mode will also host the seasonal modes, like Junkenstein's Revenge and Lucio Ball, though Kaplan did not make it clear whether these Brawls would rotate in and out like other modes, or if they'd only return during the appropriate times.


I didn't feel Overwatch lacked variety (I appreciated the focused nature of Quick Play and Competitive), but this introduces is a ridiculous amount of new ways to play Overwatch. I'm really excited to play the new three-versus-three mode, and I hope enough people play it to keep the mode in rotation for a long time.