The Big Mistake Blizzard Fixes With Overwatch 2

What is happening

Overwatch 2 is moving to a free-to-play model with battle passes and new content every season. Players will receive a new hero or map every nine weeks, with the developers committing to updates in perpetuity.

why is it important

While the changes in Overwatch 2 may seem small at first glance, they fix the original game’s biggest flaw: an inability to support long-term updates. The changes are also fueled by substantial under-the-hood upgrades that should mean fans never have to suffer from a content drought again.

And after

Registration for the second Overwatch 2 beta is now open for PC and console players, and the game is set to launch in Early Access on October 4.

Overwatch 2 was announced with a bang (and some controversy) at BlizzCon in 2019, but that announcement was followed by two years of virtual silence. Overwatch players had hope for a new game but waited for months without any news on the progress of the game. The original game stopped releasing new heroes and competitive maps, which made Overwatch 2 looks more and more like a false promise – something that would become infinitely retardedwhether it is due to a global pandemic, a workplace allegedly drowned in harassment Where turnover in the ranks of management.

But now we finally get a steady stream of information about Overwatch 2 and how it compares to its predecessor. At a reveal event on June 16, we got the most detailed look into the future of Overwatch ever, and fans should look forward to the shooter’s return to glory. The developers spoke about the game’s transition to a live-service model, detailing how this will allow them to continue delivering new content to the game for years to come.

Would I have liked these changes to happen sooner and without a multi-year content drought? Yes absolutely. But the changes also seem like exactly the right direction for the game – fixes to the issues that plagued Overwatch so much in its later years.

Here’s why fans should finally look forward to Overwatch 2, including plans for the first two PvP seasons, the end of loot boxes, and the introduction of a new tank hero I’ll be cheating on for the foreseeable future: Junker Queen.

Overwatch 2 release date

Overwatch 2 should released in early access on October 4. It will be available on PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Players who purchase the game before 11:00 a.m. PT on June 23 will also receive the Founders Pack, which includes skins for Sombra and Doomfist, as well as an exclusive player icon and an as yet unannounced gift.

Can’t wait that long? Overwatch 2 gets a second beta Tuesday, June 28 at 11 a.m. PT. The beta is scheduled to run until July 18 at 11:59 p.m. PT. Players will be able to play as Junker Queen and play on the new map, Rio – home to support hero Lucio. You can register on the Overwatch 2 beta site. If you really want guaranteed beta access and don’t mind putting the cash in, you can purchase the Watchpoint Bundle for $40 and unlock exclusive skins for Cassidy and Soldier 76 as well as the premium Battle Pass for season 1, another exclusive player. icon and in-game currency.

Overwatch 2 Content Roadmap

The Overwatch 2 developers announced a series of in-game changes during Thursday’s event. Apart from the move to 5v5, which mostly shakes up the pace of the game, no individual change looks like a titanic change. However, the sum of the changes should create a gameplay experience that blends familiar free-to-play structures with Overwatch’s unique and dynamic gameplay.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • PvP will have new seasons every nine weeks, with a new hero or map added at the start of each season. The developers said the goal is to give each season its own feel, which may include major balance fixes. They aim for 3-4 new heroes per year.
  • No more loot boxes: each season will have its own battle pass, which will include various cosmetics, including new skins for the characters.
  • The ranking system is changing. The Skill Rating, or SR, system is being replaced with a new system designed to give players a better idea of ​​progression, including multiple tiers within each rank.
  • Players will receive new tools to help them improve, including a new post-game report designed to tell you more about your performance.
  • The game adds mythic skins – a level above legendary skins which will allow players to customize each skin. Mythic skins also come with unique in-game cosmetic effects.
Genji mythical skin concept art

Mythic skins allow players to customize their colors.

Snow storm

New details on the season plans may be the biggest sneak peek news from Thursday’s event. In live play, seasons start and end quite arbitrarily, with nothing to distinguish them from each other. Getting a new hero or map (or both) along with major balance changes every nine weeks will finally give each season of Overwatch its own identity and, most importantly, give players a reason to keep playing the season. after season.

Ahead of the reveal event, I asked Overwatch 2 Game Director Aaron Keller what will help the game stand out from other free-to-play titles that follow similar seasonal releases. His answer: Overwatch is special. “I think what made the original game stand out – I think the magic is still part of Overwatch 2,” he said. Keller also believes the game will continue to entice fans with its fast-paced gameplay, unique heroes, and long string of exciting releases once the game launches.

As someone who’s been playing the game for five years now, I can’t help but agree.

Game Overview and Content Roadmap for the First Two Seasons of Overwatch 2

Players will see four new heroes and seven new maps in the first two seasons.

Snow storm

Overwatch Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Jon Spector added that the biggest opportunity for Overwatch was that players wanted more: “They want more heroes and they want more maps and they want to try new modes. game and they want to see the story continue and progress.” The free-to-play model will allow the team to continually add new content to the game in ways that the original game couldn’t support over the years. year. A one-time purchase doesn’t do that anymore, which is why games like Destiny 2, Apex Legends, Valorant, and more have adopted the free and paid structure for cosmetics.

Getting rid of loot boxes is also a welcome change and helps separate Overwatch from the more maligned aspects of recent Diablo Immortal launch. But we’ll still have to wait for details on Overwatch 2’s overall business model.

Overwatch 2 New Hero: Junker Queen

Almost five years after her first appearance on Junkertown escort map posters, the Queen of Junkertown will be a playable character in Overwatch 2. The new tank hero is ready to rush into battle and dish out damage . Her abilities will allow her to speed up, damage enemies and even drag them close to her. Everything we’ve seen so far screams an aggressive and direct style of play.

Blizzard also debuted the game’s first cutscene since the Overwatch 2 trailer in 2019. The new cutscene focuses on the Junker Queen and her rise to power.

Junker Queen shoulders a shotgun

Mohawk? Check. Weapons? Check. Abs? Check.

Snow storm

We’ve also seen hints of another hero in the works, likely a support hero. The release date trailer showed a brief flash of a blue fox spirit leading a team to the spectral gates.

Overwatch 2 desperately needs more supports. When Junker Queen arrives in the next beta, tank players will have 10 heroes to choose from, both damage players will choose from a roster of 17 heroes, and two supports will split between just seven heroes – roughly half the number of heroes. hero options per player than other roles.

I asked Geoff Goodman, lead hero designer for Overwatch 2, about this imbalance. He said the team is aware of the issue, that Overwatch has shifted towards tanks and supports over time in new hero builds, but the team is now discussing whether to speed this up. process. This could potentially mean back-to-back Support Hero releases. “We want to add more supports,” he said, “and we have some coming after release.”

Overwatch 2 PvE

The announcement video didn’t say much about the PvE side of Overwatch 2, but the developers did say PvE events would begin in 2023 as part of the live service. That’s all we know at this time, but the developers said they’ll reveal more information ahead of launch.

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