Now that season 3 of competitive Overwatch is well underway, it's time to start planning your strategy to get into the top 500 skill rating tier.
If you're not familiar, everyone who's completed their placement matches in the competitive mode of Overwatch is given a ranking that corresponds to a skill tier — bronze, silver, gold, platinum, etc. — and the very top tier is simply called "Top 500." Here's what you need to know about how it's calculated, what rewards you get for achieving a top 500 ranking and how to check your stats.
Overwatch Top 500 List: How is it calculated?
Though you might assume that the top 500 players are calculated simply by lumping together the players with the 500 highest skill ratings, it's a little more complicated than that.
According to this tweet from the official Overwatch account, the top 500 ranking also factors in a player's matchmaking rating, or MMR — a hidden ranking that's used to match you with players of a similar skill rating in quick play and the arcade modes. Also, in order to qualify for the top 500, you need to have completed at least 50 competitive matches.
Even though there are millions and millions of Overwatch players, there are several separate pools in which top 500 players exist, based on platform and region. For example, a top 500 player on PC in the U.S. is not in the same group as a top 500 player on PS4 in South Korea. Put another way, there are far more than 500 players around the world with a top 500 ranking. Achieving the top 500 rank is still probably nearly impossible, though.
So, besides bragging rights, what's the point of striving for a top 500 ranking? Let's discuss.
Overwatch Top 500 List: What are the perks?
If you've played competitive mode, you've probably seen the metallic badges beside each player's name. These correspond to a player's skill tier: bronze, silver, etc. Here's the badge you get when you finally achieve a top 500 ranking:
Reaching the top 500 also unlocks a special animated spray unique to that particular season. Here's the animated spray for season 3:
The nice thing about this spray is that you only have to enter the top 500 ranking once at some point throughout the season. For example, if you have a hot streak and make the top 500 but then lose your next 10 games and drop out, you'll still have the spray forever.
Overwatch Top 500 List: How do I check my stats?
Though your MMR is a hidden statistic, your competitive SR is a good indicator of how close you are to achieving a top 500 ranking. If you're not in the skill tiers immediately below the top 500 — master and grandmaster — your chances of reaching top 500 are pretty slim.
More Overwatch news, updates, tips and tricks
For more on Overwatch, read our guide to the new Mei-centric brawl, check out all the updates in patch 2.01, read the fandom's reactions to that Zenyatta Nutcracker skin, uncover the hidden details in the Winter Wonderland event and check out all the other unlockable goodies you can earn for Overwatch's other characters.
Dec. 15, 2016, 2:11 p.m.: This story has been updated.