Overwatch's PTR test server is getting a fair hammering at the moment, thanks to the arrival of new hero Sombra, a new Arcade mode, and the first details of how Overwatch's Season 3 will actually play out. There's a lot to mess around with, in other words, and so there are some queuing and connection errors occurring right now.
We've been meaning to put together a guide on getting started with the PTR for a while now, and given the exceptional demand to do exactly that this week, we decided to get it ticked off the list. From here you'll find answers and information for downloading and installing the PTR, what you can expect to find when you get there, and limitations around career progress.
If there's something you'd like to see added to this guide, let us know in the comments and we'll research the details and update this article.
How to download and play on the PTR server
This bit's nice and easy if you want to actually mess around with the new features under development. To install the Overwatch PTR on your PC, simply go into the Battle.net desktop launcher and select Overwatch from the list of available games (you'll need to actually own the game to participate).
Next, just click on the dropdown box titled Region / Account and select the option called PTR: Overwatch in order to begin the installation process. Just be aware that you'll need at least the same amount of storage space as the live game installation requires in order to complete this process.
Note that - for the timebeing at least - you can only participate in PTR testing if you play the game on PC. There is no PlayStation 4 or Xbox One equivalent for those of you playing on consoles we're sorry to say. If this changes in the future, we'll update this section of our PTR guide with download instructions for other platforms.
When we tried to log in when the latest Sombra patch was added, we had around 2,000 people ahead of us in the queue. The good news is that the waiting time passes relatively quickly, but there's really very little you can do other than wait or just try to connect later on.
You'll find that things do get smoother once the patch has been out even for a matter of hours but it seems that the test servers are simply not as robust as live servers when it comes to handling concurrent capacity. One of the developers popped up on the forums recently to inform people that higher capacity was being explored.
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What happens to unlocked items on the PTR?
When you log in to the PTR you'll be presented with what should be an up-to-date clone of your live account. Although you can carry on unlocking items and levelling up on the PTR as you normall would, this progress will not carry over to the live game in the other direction.
The PTR is purely for testing, rather than progress, so don't expect to take those fancy Legendary skins back to the live game with you when the testing period ends.
Unexpected server error
You may have difficulties actually getting online with the Overwatch PTR, but this is usually because too many people are attempting to connect at the same time, or your live player profile has yet to be cloned for the PTR.
The live game is one thing, but errors are to be expected here. All you can really do is try to reconnect or wait a little longer before trying to get back in.
If we learn of any specific fixes or workarounds, we'll add them all here. It's a fact of Overwatch that the vast majority of errors you'll encounter with the game, regardless of the platform you play it on, lie at Blizzard's end and there's not much you can do other than wait. You may want to track the official Overwatch Twitter account for known issues and updates though.