The long-awaited Competitive Play mode for Overwatch is now available for testing. If you're the beta type, find the Overwatch tab in Battle.net, select "PTR: Overwatch" from the Region/Account menu, and get to playing.
If you haven't been keeping up, Competitive Play means ranked matches with rewards (including golden weapons). While the jist of it has been known for awhile, with the beta launch comes some new details.
First up: you'll need to play 10 placement matches before diving in. Once complete, you'll be assigned a skill rating and then be matched against players of a similar rating when actually playing competitive matches. If you do well enough throughout a given season, you'll be matched against higher skill players as it progresses.
The next tidbit pertains to leavers. Blizzard is taking the word 'Competitive' very seriously, punishing those who bail mid-match by rendering them unable to join a game until the match left is complete. And if you continually bail, you'll be banned from the mode for increasing periods of time, up to an entire season.
Lastly, Competitive Play features a sudden death mechanic to break ties. Not to be confused with Overtime, sudden death simply means Competitive operates on a best 2 out of 3 setup. Each round takes place on the same map, which some have criticized, saying third rounds should take place on a different map and/or feature a special mode to deemphasize map balance issues. While Blizzard states it has tweaked things to ensure maps and modes don't favor one side over the other in this mode, the word from the player base makes it sound like there's still work to be done.
The new mode is expected to go public sometime next week.