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Overwatch's First Beta Weekend Is Days Away

A large group of PC gamers are about to get a chance to play Overwatch. Blizzard plans to hold a stress test for the multiplayer shooter this weekend.

This beta weekend, the first for Overwatch, will kick off on Friday, November 20 at 9 a.m. PST and run until Monday, November 23 at 9 a.m. PST. Players from North America and Europe who opted into the beta through their account settings will be eligible for the test. Testers will be chosen based on their system specs, how long ago you signed up, and "an element of luck."

Speaking of system requirements, here's what you need to run the game:

Minimum (targeting 30fps):

  • Operating system: Windows® Vista/7/ 8/10 64-bit (latest Service Pack)
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i3 or AMD Phenom™ X3 865
  • Video: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 460, ATI Radeon™ HD 4850, or Intel® HD Graphics 4400
  • Memory: 768 MB VRAM, 4 GB System RAM
  • Storage: 7200 RPM with 5 GB available HD space

Recommended (targeting 60fps on Medium settings)

  • Operating system: Windows® Vista/7/ 8/10 64-bit (latest Service Pack)
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i5 or AMD Phenom™ II X3, 2.8 GHz
  • Video: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660 or ATI Radeon™ HD 7950
  • Memory: 2 GB VRAM, 6 GB System RAM
  • Storage: 7200 RPM with 5 GB available HD space

Blizzard will begin flagging accounts for beta access on Thursday during a maintenance period. Apparently there won't be any beta key giveaways, or at least not this time around. There are three ways to tell whether you're invited to the test or not:

  • Blizzard sends you an email invitation to the address you registered for your account
  • An Overwatch beta license is visible under the Game Accounts section of your Account Management.
  • There's an Install button on the Overwatch tab of your desktop app.

One note about emails, though: there are bound to be some shady characters sending out fake invites in an attempt to trick gamers into divulging personal information. If you don't think an Overwatch email is legitimate, don't click on any links in the message. Instead, just directly check your account or desktop app to see if you have access to the test.

During the beta test weekend, all players will have access to the entire roster of 21 heroes. This includes D.Va and the other two new additions. However, you'll only be able to play three maps from the full version: Hanamura, King’s Row, and Watchpoint: Gibraltar. Blizzard limited the content of the beta because this weekend is first and foremost a hardware test:

Since this is a stress test, we're primarily interested in your technical feedback, like how Overwatch runs on your system, your experience with the beta servers, critical bug reports, and other game-impacting problems. One of our goals is to push our hardware to the limit, so don't be surprised if you experience performance issues or run into unexpected downtime—that’s all part of the process.

Blizzard didn't say how many players will be invited to play this beta weekend. It's also unclear how many of these stress tests they'll hold. The developer did mention in the beta FAQ, though, that the next weekend test probably won't be until 2016. Furthermore, they don't guarantee that everyone who signs up for the beta will get into one of these tests.

Last month, Blizzard started the closed beta with a much smaller pool of players who can test a wider range of the game's content. These closed beta participants also have access to the stress test weekends. Blizzard will be periodically adding more players to the closed beta over time.

Overwatch will officially launch in Spring 2016. Though the beta is limited to the PC, the game will also be available on PS4 and Xbox One.

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.