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Blizzard’s developers have decided that competitive mode could use a little more chaos today. In a surprising move, the developers have unlocked Sigma for use in competitive Overwatch the same day he was released on the live servers. Role Queue Beta Season, a mini-season of competitive mode intended to test the role queue system, also began today.
Sigma, a main tank hero who has the power to put forth barriers and use gravity to harm enemies, was supposed to be released in competitive mode on Sept. 1. Season 18 of competitive Overwatch also begins on Sept. 1. During previous hero releases, the developers have given players two weeks to get used to a hero in quick play or arcade modes before unlocking them for competitive play. This time, players need to adapt much more quickly.
Sigma’s release in competitive mode was a surprise to many and seemed unintended at first. When the newest patch dropped on the Overwatch live servers today, Sigma wasn’t available in competitive mode, as is standard. About an hour after the patch went live, though, Sigma was suddenly available in competitive mode.
Streamer and former Overwatch League player Brandon “Seagull” Larned experienced the surprise live on his stream when another player selected and used the newest hero before a competitive match. “They just enabled that, because it wasn’t enabled two games ago,” Seagull said, amid his team yelling “what?” over and over again.
Blizzard’s customer service Twitter made an update about role queue not working as intended for quick play and received a few comments inquiring about Sigma’s presence in competitive mode. The account said that his presence is “intended for the Competitive Beta Season.”
While this isn’t standard practice for developers, it makes sense. The Role Queue Beta Season, which lasts until Sept. 1, is essentially one big test of how role queue affects competitive players. The developers have already said that statistics from this season won’t apply to a player’s permanent competitive mode record. If players experiment with Sigma in competitive mode and fail, there will technically be no long-lasting consequences.
For now, players will have to get used to Sigma and his formidable abilities quickly. The Role Queue Beta Season lasts two weeks and is intended to give players a chance to get used to the new role queue system. Competitive points can be earned as usual, regardless of whether you decide to try Sigma on a whim.