In the very first beta phase for Overwatch there was a very un-Blizzard-like absence of systems to mark your progress through the game, but all that's changed now. As you play through the second beta - and live game - you'll be able to unlock a vast array of cosmetic customisations for every single Hero.
These items are randomly awarded from Loot Boxes that drop at the end of every match, or they can alternatively be crafted using the credit currency system. Keep reading for more details on how each part of this process works - it's really simple stuff.
Editor's note - April update: We've added some useful information to this guide, including the amount of information needed to hit each new level in the game, and a breakdown of how XP is rewarded for participating in matches.
Levelling up in Overwatch
You level up in the game by earning experience points (XP) from both Play vs AI and Quick Match games. You'll receive more of these points by participating in Quick Match battles, due to the greater difficulty involved. While stats are tracked for individual Heroes, note that you level up on an account basis.
Exactly how many points you receive is determined by a number of factors: whether you won or lost the match in question, any particular merits you received for your individual performance, and so on. Note that there are no currently known limits on how high you can raise your player level in Overwatch.
Here's the latest info on how XP is calculated in the game.
- You receive 4.01 XP for each second you are active in a match.
- You will receive a bonus XP reward based on your highest medal earned. A Gold Medal is worth 150 XP, Silver is worth 100XP, and Bronze Medals only net you 50 XP. Medal rewards do not stack!
- 250 XP is rewarded if you stuck around until the very end of a match, win or lose.
- Finally, you get a bonus 500 XP if you win the match in question.
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How Loot Boxes work in Overwatch
Why go to all the bother of levelling up though? Well, each time you do you'll receive a Loot Box, each one of which contains a handful of special cosmetic items which belong to one of four classifications: Common, Rare, Epic and Legendary. You can expect to receive at least one Rare item or better from every box you earn.
The contents of the boxes are randomised, which means you'll sometimes receive duplicates of items that are already in your collection. In this instance, you will instead be granted a certain value of credits which can be accumulated over time and then used to unlock cosmetic items that you don't currently own. It's a great way of making sure you always have something new to work for.
How much XP do you need to get your greedy hands on a new Loot Box to open though? Here's the latest breakdown on the XP threshholds for levelling up in Overwatch.
|Level||XP Needed to Level Up|
How to customise Heroes in Overwatch
Once you've unwrapped your loot, simply head to the Hero Gallery from the main section of the game menu, then select the Hero you're interested in customising. If you haven't looted the particular option you're interested in yet, you'll also have the option to spend your credits and unlock it immediately - that's assuming you have enough money in the bank, of course.
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Buying Loot Boxes with real money
At the time of writing this article, the only way to earn Loot Boxes is by levelling up your account. Blizzard has stated, however, that it intends to allow players to purchase Loot Boxes with real money once the game is live. There'll be more details on this important issue in the weeks and months ahead, and we'll be sure to update this article as soon as we know more.
Overwatch customisation options are cosmetic only
If you're worried that all of this talk of real-money Loot Boxes means some will gain a competitive advantage via their wallets, then don't be. Blizzard has stated on numerous occasions that all items added to the game will be strictly cosmetic, and will never provide an advantage in play for those with the deepest pockets.