New characters, epic skins, hero missions, and free-to-play? Overwatch 2 releases on October 4. Here’s all you need to know.
Blizzard’s first-person team-based hero shooter sequel was unveiled at Blizzcon 2019. The newest Overwatch game has all the familiar characters, but also several new ones. Here’s all you need to know about the fall game.
Overwatch 2 early access begins in 2022. This just includes PvP, with PvE coming in 2023. Overwatch 2 is coming to Nintendo Switch, PS5, and Xbox X|S.
Free-to-play Overwatch 2?
Yep! Overwatch’s forthcoming sequel will be free-to-play and eliminate loot boxes. Instead, there will be an in-game store, new PvE content, and battle passes with cosmetics and other rewards.
Overwatch 1 free-to-play?
Once Overwatch 2 launches, Overwatch 1 will be obsolete. As a free-to-play game, it’s an update. All Overwatch gamers can now play together.
Cross-play for Overwatch 2?
Certainly. Overwatch 2’s cross-play lets you play with pals on any console.
Sweet. What’s a battle pass?
Overwatch 2 will adopt a seasonal approach on October 4, delivering a new theme and 80 tiers of content every nine weeks. Battle passes provide players access to new content.
Every season, players earn a free battle pass. As you play during the season’s nine weeks, you’ll receive exclusive goodies, including a new hero at tier 55 every other season.
Premium battle passes cost 1,000 Overwatch Coins ($10). This battle pass includes all the benefits from the free battle pass plus the new hero and more cosmetic items. It boosts your XP by 15%, so you’ll level up faster than with the free pass.
Blizzard has promised that all past season heroes can be obtained through weekly challenges or purchased with Overwatch Coins.
You can earn Overwatch Coins by completing challenges instead of buying the premium battle pass. These are listed with their monetary worth in a different menu in the Overwatch 2 hub.
If you complete a task, you gain points. Challenges include “win a game” and “play 10 games as heroes outside of your top three.” You can obtain a premium battle pass by completing a specified number of weekly challenges.
The first PvP beta for Overwatch 2 was in spring 2022, offering players time to test out redesigned characters and Sojourn, the game’s newest DPS hero. During GameSpot’s test, the PvP felt more like “Overwatch 1.5” than a wholly fresh experience, but returning to the franchise was still fun.
Blizzard provided a report after the beta test documenting hero usage, victory rates, and buffs and nerfs. Sojourn’s beta usage rate peaked at 80%, according to the blog. As more players tried out the newest damage hero, this number dropped quickly. Orisa, Doomfist, Bastion, and Sombra were the most-used reworked characters.
Blizzard ran one more beta test in June, featuring a first glimpse to Junker Queen and a new area. Kiriko won’t be available till launch.
Overwatch 2’s fighting will be different. In Push, two teams struggle to guide a robot into enemy territory. The team that drives the robot farthest into the opponent’s territory wins. As the robot progresses down the linear road toward enemy lines, it must push barriers to unlock checkpoints. Checkpoints temporarily halt the robot but open fresh spawn spots.
The game will switch to 5v5 from 6v6. Teams will have one tank character each.
Overwatch 2 will offer new PvP maps for Push and all “core” game modes. The new maps will also be added to the original Overwatch. Blizzard has mentioned numerous future maps, shown two in May 2021, and debuted Esperança a few weeks before its release.
Blizzard’s Push mode videos show showcase Rome, Toronto, and New York.
Overwatch 2 maps include:
Blizzard also shared videos of new maps to give you a better idea.
Overwatch 2 has story missions. They’ll be PvE missions with a limited, contextually-relevant array of characters. Every story mission has an intro and outro video.
Hero missions are another new PvE feature, designed to be “truly replayable” because to three factors: various settings, which will transport players across new and old maps; shifting objectives; and distinct adversary groups, such as Null Sector, Talon, and “other dangers.” Certain objectives or opponent types may require certain characters to counter, Kaplan said at BlizzCon 2019.
Tired of teammates not delivering? Overwatch 2’s new ping system improves team communication. The new technology allows players to precisely ping enemy locations, allowing for more strategic manoeuvres. Blizzard “Every Voice Matters inspired Overwatch’s ping system. The Overwatch team sought to embody this Blizzard value.”
Story missions have the new item system. Overwatch 2’s item system will work like Apex Legends and PUBG’s: temporary item pickups you can use during the mission. Corrosive grenades, healing stations, and barrier fences are examples. Quality-tiered items exist.
Overwatch 2 will add a hero-only advancement system. It’s a PvE, non-competitive gameplay feature that lets heroes level up and unlock combat talents. Tracer’s talents were unveiled at BlizzCon 2019, but Kaplan noted that the progression system is still early and could change.
Overwatch 2’s PvE-exclusive progression system includes Tracer Talents.
Overwatch 2’s PvE-exclusive progression system includes Tracer Talents.
Tracer’s skills include:
Adaptive Reload (Pulse Pistols reload when using any ability)
Sequence (Pulse Bomb causes secondary explosions on enemies that are damaged by it)
Flash 10 (Blinking through enemies damages them)
Backwards (Recall causes damage to all recently damaged enemies)
Vortex 20 (Enemies are pulled toward the point of Recall and snared)
Speedkill (Killing blows speed up your cooldowns)
Overwatch 2 director Aaron Keller discussed why the talent system won’t be featured in PvP.
“We’ve made some fantastic PvE talents that are exciting to utilise. Tracer’s talent is stopping time. Wow. This doesn’t function in PvP “Keller elaborated. “In the original game’s development, we worked on a talent system. It was hard to tell what kind of hero you’d face. Is this Reaper who heals while I fight? In our fast-paced game, you must always know who you’re against.”
First Canadian Overwatch hero, Sojourn.
First Canadian Overwatch hero, Sojourn.
Overwatch 2 will add new and returning playable heroes. Every hero from the first Overwatch will return.
Overwatch 2 heroes include:
Sojourn is the first Black woman and Canadian hero in Overwatch 2, says Kaplan.
Sojourn is a mid-range specialist with amazing mobility and artillery skills. His primary weapon is a railgun that creates energy with each successful hit. Sojourn is well-suited for marksmen, who may use their accuracy to unleash devastating hits with the railgun’s secondary firing mode.
Sojourn possesses an area-of-effect ability that snares adversaries and drains their health, a rocket-powered slide, and an ultimate ability called Overclock. Sojourn’s Overclock bullets pierce foes. Blizzard compared her secondary railgun fire to a “hitscan variant” of Genji’s Dragon Blade strike.
Junker Queen is the not-so-benevolent ruler of Junkertown, where Roadhog and Junkrat live. Junker Queen, the game’s newest tank, has a mohawk, six-pack abs, a shotgun, and a battle axe.
Junker Queen’s play equipment shows her resolve to survive and prosper in the Australian outback. Blizzard describes Adrenaline as Junker Queen’s “tank identity.” The passive ability allows her to heal over time by damaging other players, promoting a more aggressive playstyle.
Scattergun and Carnage are Junker Queen’s close-range attacks. Junker Queen’s shotgun discharge is called Scattergun, while her axe swing is Carnage.
Junker Queen’s moves can alter the course of combat when she’s not blasting enemies. Junker Queen’s Commanding Shout increases her health and movement speed, like Lucio’s. Rampage, Junker Queen’s ultimate power, lets her lunge at enemies with her magnetic gauntlet. Rampage is the first anti-heal ability since Ana’s biotic grenade.
Kiriko, a healer with DPS, is the final hero at launch. Kiriko, the “Protector of Kanezaka,” is a Japanese ninja who trained with Hanzo and Genji under her mother’s supervision. Kiriko’s skills stem from Shinto spiritual artefacts like ofuda and suzu, and her character embodies the combination of the spiritual realm with “youthful wisdom.”
Kiriko’s main move is healing. She does this by transmitting homing ofuda to her teammates. Her secondary skill allows her to target and launch kunai with lethality rivalling DPS heroes. Her Protection Suzu ability “cleanses” an area of debuffs and attacks by ringing a Shinto bell. Sombra’s hack, Reinhardt’s Shatter, Ashe’s Burn, Ana’s Sleep Dart, and Junkrat’s RIP-Tire.
Kiriko is the first character in Overwatch who can phase through walls with Swift Step. Her ultimate, Kitsune Rush, summons a spirit fox to speed up her teammates’ movement, attack, and cooldown.
All accomplishments and cosmetics from Overwatch will carry over to Overwatch 2. Kaplan: “We want all Overwatch cosmetics in Overwatch 2 Your progress counts. Nobody is left behind.”
Merge console accounts with Battlenet to transfer skins and progress. GameSpot provides a step-by-step instruction.
Overwatch 2 heroes have new skins. Here’s all we’ve seen:
Overwatch 2 Redesigns: Changes in character looks
Overwatch 2 adds “mythic skins” in addition to these skins. Overwatch director Aaron Keller says these skins are a category above legendary skins, with dynamic visual effects and customizability.
“With mythic skins, we’ve added to our legendary skins,” Keller remarked. “Overkill. Mythic skins can have different components and aesthetics changed. Season 1 begins with our Genji mythological skin. He has color-changing tattoos. He can have different weapons. When you activate his ultimate, his mask lifts up to reveal cool [visual] effects.”
Overwatch 2 and existing players
Overwatch and Overwatch 2 gamers can play classic PvP together to keep the community together. Overwatch will get new maps, heroes, and the competitive mode Push. Overwatch 2 will include new PvE components.
Overwatch 2’s engine is a “updated” version of the original’s. Overwatch 2 will have new HUDs and redesigned heroes. BlizzCon 2019 panellists want Overwatch 2 to “look fresh and great.”
Since then, we’ve seen some Overwatch 2 hero changes. Blizzard presented Sombra and Bastion changes. Below are changelog trailers.
Sombra’s hacking ability will cool after three seconds, making her more aggressive. Hacking temporarily disables characters’ abilities and increases their damage by 50% for eight seconds. Her Ultimate no longer effects shields, but now hits foes for 40% of their health. They’ll also be hacked, causing extra damage.
Bastion’s adjustments remove the robot’s self-repair and tank transformation abilities. Bastion’s alternative fire fires an explosive shell for area denial, and its Ultimate transforms it into an artillery gun that can fire three shells anywhere on the map. Sentry mode was reworked. Bastion may move when changed, converting him into a gatling cannon. Although the ability has a cooldown, Bastion players will still need it.
Mei and Winston’s weaponry have been updated. Blizzard showed off Mei’s deadlier blaster, which no longer freezes enemies, and Winston’s sniper-like Tesla cannon in a tweet.
Orisa has three new abilities and lost her Protective Barrier, making her a frontline fighter. Doomfist is being turned into a tank with higher health and Power Block.
Jeff Kaplan’s resignation
Jeff Kaplan left Blizzard in April 2021 after nearly 20 years. Kaplan has been the public face of Overwatch since before its 2016 release. His departure is a huge shakeup for Overwatch and its sequel.
Aaron Keller is Overwatch 2’s new director. Read our interview with him below.
Activision Blizzard has been under criticism for sexual harassment, discrimination, and workplace misbehaviour. The California Department of Fair Housing and Employment sued Activision Blizzard in July 2021, stating the firm “fostered a sexist atmosphere” in which women were paid less than men and minorities were discriminated against. The claim says misogyny has “plagued the male-dominated gaming industry for decades” and seeks to “remedy, prohibit, and deter” Activision Blizzard from breaching California’s civil rights and equal pay statutes.
The suits sparked widespread and company-wide outrage. Employees walked out to protest Activision Blizzard’s workplace conditions and leadership. Jen Oneal announced she would step down at the end of 2021, disclosing she made less than Mike Ybarra while holding the same post. The organisation just appointed a Head of Culture to improve diversity and inclusion.
Blizzard has more litigation, charges against CEO Bobby Kotick, and leadership actions. The whole timeline is available.
Microsoft bought Blizzard amidst its legal struggle. Microsoft announced its intent to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion on January 18. The deal is the largest in gaming history and makes Microsoft the third-largest gaming firm in the world. The agreement is still being reviewed, but it’s expected to be approved.
Activision Blizzard will “accelerate” Microsoft’s cloud gaming initiatives and boost Xbox Game Pass, says CEO Phil Spencer. Spencer also addressed Blizzard’s reputation for wrongdoing, saying, “We respect studio cultures. We think creative achievement and autonomy go hand-in-hand with dignity and respect. We expect this from teams and leaders. We’re excited to bring our inclusive culture to Activision Blizzard.”
If the acquisition goes through, CEO Bobby Kotick will leave.