Overwatch 2 is moving to a free model with combat passes and new content every season. Players will receive a new hero or map every nine weeks, with developers committing to updates forever.
Why it matters
While the changes in Overwatch 2 may seem small on the surface, they fix the biggest flaw of the original game: the inability to support long-term updates. The changes have also been prompted by significant upgrades under the hood that should mean fans will never have to endure a drought of content again.
Applications for the second Overwatch 2 beta are now open to PCs and players on consoles, and the game is scheduled to begin early access on October 4th.
Overwatch 2 has been announced with a bang (and) at BlizzCon in 2019, but that announcement was followed by two years of virtual silence. Overwatch players have been given hope for a new game, but have been waiting for months with no news on how the game is progressing. The original game stopped publishing new heroes and competing maps, making Overwatch 2 increasingly feel like a false promise – something that would was it because of the global pandemic, a or .
But now we are finally getting a steady stream of information about Overwatch 2 and what it is like compared to its predecessor. At the unveiling event on June 16, we got the most detailed look at the future of Overwatch ever, and fans should be hoping for the shooters to return to fame. The developers talked about the transition of the game to the live service model, stating that this will allow them to continue delivering new game content in the years to come.
Would I have liked these changes to have happened before and without years of substantive drought? Yes, absolutely. But the changes also seem like the right direction to play – tackling the problems that plagued Overwatch in later years.
Here’s why fans should finally be hoping for Overwatch 2, including plans for the first two PvP seasons, the end of the loot boxes, and the introduction of a new tank hero I’ll be cheating on in the foreseeable future: Junker Queen.
Overwatch release date 2
Overwatch 2 is scheduled for. 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 a.m. Pacific time 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 aon Tuesday, June 28, at 11 a.m. Pacific time. The beta should run until July 18 at 11:59 p.m. Players will be able to play as the Junker Queen and play on a new map, Rio – the home of the hero supporting Lucius. You can sign up for the Overwatch 2 beta page. If you really want guaranteed access to the beta and don’t mind investing some money, you can buy a Watchpoint Pack for $ 40 and unlock exclusive skins for Cassidy and Soldier 76, as well as a premium combat pass for Season 1, another exclusive icon player and some currency in the game.
Overwatch 2 content roadmap
Developers of Overwatch 2 announced a series of changes in the game at Thursday’s event. Outside of switching to 5v5, which mostly, no single change looks like a titanic shift. However, the sum of the changes should create a gaming experience that combines familiar free game structures with unique, vibrant Overwatch play.
Here’s what we know so far:
- PvP will get new seasons every nine weeks, with a new hero or map added at the beginning of each season. The developers said the goal is to give each season its own special feel, which can include large balance patches. Their goal is 3-4 new heroes a year.
- No more loot boxes: Each season will have its own combat pass, which will include a variety of cosmetics, including new character skins.
- The ranking system is changing. The skill rating system, or SR, is being replaced by a new system designed to give players a better sense of progress, including more levels within each rank.
- Players will get new tools to help them improve, including a new post-match report designed to tell you more about how you work.
- The game adds mythical skins – a level above the legendary skins that will allow players to customize each skin. Mythical skins also come with unique cosmetic effects in the game.
New details about seasonal plans could secretly be the biggest news from Thursday’s event. In a live game, the seasons start and end quite randomly, with nothing to differentiate one from the other. Getting a new hero or map (or both) along with big balance changes every nine weeks will finally give each Overwatch season its own identity and, most importantly, give players a reason to keep playing season after season.
Ahead of the unveiling event, I asked Overwatch 2 director Aaron Keller what would help the game stand out from other free titles that follow similar seasonal releases. His answer: Overwatch is special. “I think that’s what set the original game apart – I think magic is still part of Overwatch 2,” he said. Keller also thinks the game will continue to appeal to fans with its fast-paced gameplay, unique heroes, and long array of exciting releases once the game launches.
As someone who has been playing this game for five years, I can’t help but agree.
Overwatch vice president and commercial presenter Jon Spector added that the biggest opportunity for Overwatch is that players want more: “They want more heroes and they want more maps and they want to try new ways of playing and they want to see the story go on and on. “The free-to-play model will allow the team to constantly add new content to the game in a way that the original game could not maintain over the years. A one-time purchase no longer does, which is why games like Destiny 2, Apex Legends, Valorant and many others have accepted the structure of free games and paid cosmetics.
Getting rid of the loot box is also a welcome change and helps to separate Overwatch from the more malicious aspects of the recentto launch. But we’ll still have to wait for the details of the overall business model for Overwatch 2.
Overwatch 2 new hero: Junker Queen
Nearly five years after she first appeared on posters on Junkertown’s escort map, the Queen of Junkertown will be a character that can be played in Overwatch 2. The latest tank hero is ready to rush into battle and inflict some damage. Her abilities will allow her to accelerate forward, wound enemies, and even bring them close to her. Everything we’ve seen so far screams an aggressive style of play in the face.
Blizzard also debuted as the first feature film of the game since the announcing trailer for Overwatch 2 from 2019. The new film focuses on Junker Queen and her rise to power.
We also saw hints of another hero at work, probably a support hero. The trailer for the release date showed a brief flash of the blue fox spirit leading the team forward towards the spectral gates.
Overwatch 2 desperately needs more support. When the Junker Queen arrives in the next beta, tank players will have 10 heroes to choose from, both players for damage will choose from a list of 17 heroes, and two supports will be split between just seven heroes – roughly half as many hero-per-player options as and other roles.
I asked Geoff Goodman, the hero’s chief designer for Overwatch 2, about that imbalance. He said that the team is aware of the problem, that Overwatch over time has had a tendency towards tanks and support in new releases of heroes, but that the team is now discussing the possibility of speeding up the process. This could potentially mean successive releases of support heroes. “We want to add more support,” he said, “and we have some coming after the release.”
Overwatch 2 PvE
The announcement video didn’t say much about the PvE side of Overwatch 2, but the developers said PvE events will begin in 2023 as part of the live service. That’s as far as we know at the moment, but the developers said they would reveal more information before launch.