Spectator Mode is the method by which players can observe matches rather than participating in them. There are three scenarios in which spectator mode is used.
If a player is waiting to respawn and has skipped the killcam, they will be allowed to spectate their teammates until they respawn. In all gamemodes except Elimination, the spectator is locked in a third-person perspective and cannot rotate the camera manually.
If a player joins a group that is already playing a match, that player will be allowed to spectate the team until someone leaves. The spectator will be able to switch between first-person and third-person perspectives.
When setting up a Custom Game, up to 12 players may be put onto the spectator team. These spectators may be assigned teams or be left neutral, allowing them to spectate anyone and to have their own, free-roaming camera. Neutral spectators will also be able to see every player's hero, health, and ultimate charge at once.
November 16, 2017Patch:Made several visual adjustments to revamp the spectator mode HUD including an improved spectator mode UI, a new unit frame style, and an animated ultimate indicator; Lúcio now has an effect above his head to indicate which song he's playing in spectator mode.
December 13, 2016Patch:Fixed a bug that forced players to join Play vs. AI matches when attempting to spectate a friend
November 15, 2016Patch:The number of observer slots in Custom Games has been increased from 6 to 12; Fixed a bug that occasionally produced incorrectly colored health bars when spectating Custom Games
October 11, 2016Patch:Static cameras are now supported in spectator mode; Camera movement in Spectator Mode has been improved; Spectators are now able to see the Assemble Heroes countdown timer on all maps during a Custom Game; You are no longer able to see your killer’s red outline while spectating your team before respawning
September 1, 2016Patch:Made several minor adjustments to typography in the Spectator UI; The spectate option now becomes unavailable (the button will be greyed out) when all spectator slots have been filled in a Custom Game lobby
August 16, 2016Patch:Fixed a bug that was blocking spectator cameras from passing through some doors and force fields
March 8, 2016 (beta)Patch:The “On Fire” mechanic while viewed through the Spectator Mode UI should scale down appropriately with the size of hero portraits
February 18, 2016 (beta)Patch:Projectiles will now appear to line up more correctly with targets when viewing a player in Spectator Mode
February 9, 2016 (beta)Patch:Scrolling the Mouse Wheel will now zoom you in and out of third-person view; When spectating in third-person, right-clicking will now detach the camera at its current location; The third-person camera will now orient based on where the spectated player is aiming