Blizzard’s Overwatch closed beta launches on October 27th

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Blizzard announced that players can get a first look at its online competitive first-person shooter Overwatch when a closed beta launches for Windows PCs later this month.

The beta marks the first time that Overwatch will be publicly playable, following its reveal at BlizzCon 2014.

Overwatch is a squad-based FPS that pits teams of six players against one another in a series of competitive arena matches. The game boasts a wide variety of playable characters, each of whom boast a unique weapons loadout and supplementary abilities that help out nearby teammates mid-battle.

“We’re aiming to accomplish two primary goals with our public beta test,” Blizzard notes. “First, get tons of top-notch feedback on the gameplay — including balance, feel, and fun — to help us make Overwatch the best team-based shooter on the planet. Second, we want to hammer the heck out of our tech, including stress-testing our server infrastructure and making sure the game runs great on the widest variety of systems possible.”

Overwatch‘s upcoming beta will divide players into two groups. Closed Beta participants will “discuss and dissect every hero, map, ability, and other aspect of the game on our upcoming beta forums,” Blizzard explains, while players accepted into Beta Test Weekends will serve as a stress test for the game’s servers.

Closed Beta spots are “extremely limited,” Blizzard notes, in order to encourage constructive feedback. Additional Closed Beta openings will be available periodically as testing continues, but Blizzard warns that many players who apply will only be eligible for Beta Test Weekends.

Beta Test Weekends will feature a limited number of playable maps and characters, and will roll out in many different regions throughout the duration of Blizzard’s testing phase. The first Beta Test Weekend is scheduled to kick off after BlizzCon 2015 wraps up in November.

Players can sign up for Overwatch‘s Closed Beta and Beta Test Weekends at Blizzard’s website.