Overwatch level system is a never-ending experience as players continually gain levels. There is no cap at the moment.
There are a variety of ways to gain experience and to level up your account which allows Overwatch to cater to a myriad of players. While that may seem silly to endlessly level up, but players will continually receive loot boxes with a chance to receive their favorite skins.
Overwatch Level System: How Does It Work?
Experience is gained by completing Practice vs. AI, Play vs. AI, Quick Play, Arcade (including the Game Browser) and Competitive Play games. How much experience you earn is all dependent on different factors like round length, victory or defeat, and individual participation.
Base Experience Earned
By far the most experience one can earn is playing in Competitive mode. This game mode gives 115 percent experience. As an example, instead of receiving 150 experience for a Match Finish you receive 173.
Overwatch also has multiple ways to give players bonuses as they play. There is a consecutive match bonus though it's not applied to competitive matches. There is a group bonus of 20 percent and a first win of the day bonus.
Overwatch Level System - Medals
The always coveted end-game medals also give bonus experience to players. Players can receive gold, silver, and bronze in multiple categories: Eliminations, Objective Kills, Objective Time, Damage Done, Healing Done. Depending on which category and medal, you'll receive different amounts of bonus experience.
Overwatch Level System - Level Progression
After players hit level 100, they will receive a promotion which changes their portrait borders and starts them over at level one. It will still require you to receive 20,000 experience to level up.
This is the main form of verification of experience for players as someone can be level 22 but have a gold or platinum portrait.
Here are the portrait changes.
"From level 1 to level 100, the border will be bronze, without any star. After the promotion at level 101, players will get one bronze star under the portrait border. Players will get one more bronze star at level 201, and again at level 301, 401, 501, up to 5 bronze stars. At level 601, or the sixth promotion since the start, the portrait border is changed to silver, and the five bronze stars are removed. At level 701, players will get one silver star under the portrait border. Players will get one more silver star at level 801, and again at level 901, 1001, 1101, up to 5 silver stars. At level 1,201, or the sixth promotion since getting the silver portrait border, the portrait border is changed to gold, and the five silver stars are removed. At level 1301, players will get one gold star under the portrait border. Players will get one more gold star at level 1401, and again at level 1501, 1601, 1701, up to 5 gold stars. At level 1801, or the sixth promotion since getting the gold portrait border, the portrait border is changed to platinum-and-gold color, and the five gold stars are removed."
"The portrait borders are also changed a bit in its design. At level 1901, players will get one gold star under the portrait border. Players will get one more gold star at level 2001, and again at level 2101, 2201, 2301, up to 5 gold stars. At level 2401, or the sixth promotion since getting the platinum-and-gold portrait border, the portrait border is changed to a similar new platinum design except for the border now shines (mainly referred to as the diamond border), and the stars now alternate from diamond to gold. The five gold stars are also removed from the previous promotion. At level 2501, players will get one star under the portrait border. Players will get one more star at level 2601, and again at level 2701, 2801, 2901, up to 5 stars. These stars will alternate with diamond and gold every star."
The portrait border stops changing at level 2901, though, players can continue leveling up.
Your level does nothing for gameplay besides unlocking competitive play at level 25. Once that is achieved, players simply unlock portraits and gain lootboxes as a reward for gaining levels.
Photo courtesy of Blizzard