The big bug Blizzard is fixing with Overwatch 2

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What’s happening

Overwatch 2 is moving to a free-to-play model with Battle Passes and new content each season. Players will get a new hero or map every nine weeks, with developers committed to ongoing updates.

Why it matters

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

What’s next

Registrations for the second beta of Overwatch 2 are now open for PC and console players, and the game is scheduled to hit Early Access on October 4th.

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 hopes for a new game but waited months with no news on the game’s progress. The original game stopped releasing new heroes and competitive maps, making Overwatch 2 feel more and more like a false promise – something that was about to come true infinitely delayedwhether this was due to a global pandemic, a Workplace reportedly drowning in harassment or Migration in the management floors.

But now we’re finally getting a steady stream of information about Overwatch 2 and how it compares to its predecessor. A reveal event on June 16 gave us the most in-depth look at the future of Overwatch yet, and fans should be hopeful as the shooter returns to glory. The developers talked about the game’s transition to a live services model and how it will allow them to continue bringing new content to the game for years to come.

Do I wish these changes had happened sooner and without a multi-year content drought? Yes absolutely. But the changes also seem to point in just the right direction for the game — solutions to the problems that have plagued Overwatch in later years.

Here’s why fans should finally have hope for 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 tricking for the foreseeable future: Junker Queen.

Overwatch 2 release date

Overwatch 2 is planned Released in Early Access on October 4th. It will be available for PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Players who purchase the game before June 23 at 11:00 am PT will also receive the Founder’s Pack, which includes skins for Sombra and Doomfist, as well as an exclusive player icon and an unannounced gift.

Can’t you wait that long? Overwatch 2 gets a second beta on Tuesday, June 28 at 11 a.m. PT. The beta is expected to run until July 18th at 11:59pm PT. Players can play as Junker Queen and play on the new map Rio – home of support hero Lucio. You can register on the Overwatch 2 Beta website. If you really want guaranteed access to the beta and don’t mind spending some cash, you can buy the Watchpoint Pack for $40 and get exclusive skins for Cassidy and Soldier 76, as well as the Season 1 Premium Battle Pass, another one exclusive player, unlock icon and some in-game currency.

Overwatch 2 Content Roadmap

Overwatch 2 developers announced a number of changes to the game at Thursday’s event. Outside of the switch to 5v5, which is mainly shakes the pace of the game, no individual change feels like a titanic shift. The sum of the changes, however, should result in a gaming experience that blends familiar free-to-play structures with Overwatch’s unique, vibrant gameplay.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • PvP gets new seasons every nine weeks, with a new hero or map being added at the start of each season. The developers said the goal is to give each season its own distinct feel, which could include important balance patches. They aim for 3-4 new heroes per year.
  • No more loot boxes: Each season will have its own Battle Pass, which will contain different cosmetics, including new skins for 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 sense of progression, including multiple tiers within each rank.
  • Players get new tools to help them improve, including a new post-game report that tells you more about your performance.
  • The game adds Mythic skins – a tier above Legendary skins that allows players to customize any skin. Mythic skins also have unique in-game cosmetic effects.
Genji Mythic skin concept art

Mythic skins allow players to customize their colors.

blizzard

The new details on the season plans could secretly be the biggest news from Thursday’s event. In live play, seasons start and end fairly randomly, with nothing distinguishing them from each other. Getting a new hero or map (or both) every nine weeks along with big balance changes will finally give each season of Overwatch its own identity and, most importantly, give players a reason to keep playing season after season .

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

As someone who has been playing the game for five years now, I can only 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.

blizzard

Jon Spector, vice president and commercial director of Overwatch, added that the biggest opportunity for Overwatch was that players want more: “They want more heroes and they want more maps and they want to try new game modes and they want to see how.” the story goes on and progresses. ” The free-to-play model allows the team to continuously add new content to the game that the original game couldn’t sustain over the years. A one-time purchase is no longer enough, which is why games like Destiny 2, Apex Legends, Valorant and many others have embraced the free-to-play, pay-for-cosmetics structure.

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

Overwatch 2 new hero: Junker Queen

Almost five years after she first appeared on posters in the Junkertown escort map, the Queen of Junkertown will be a playable character in Overwatch 2. The newest tank hero is ready to charge into battle and deal damage. Her abilities allow her to dash forward, injuring enemies and even pulling them close. Everything we’ve seen so far calls for an aggressive, direct playstyle.

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

The Junker Queen puts a shotgun on her shoulder

mohawk? Check. Weapons? Check. Section? Check.

blizzard

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

Overwatch 2 desperately needs more support. 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 down to just seven heroes – about half as many hero options per player as the 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 trended towards tanks and supports for new hero releases over time, but that the team is now discussing the possibility of expediting this process. That could potentially mean back-to-back releases from support heroes. “We want to add more support,” he said, “and we have quite a few to come post-release.”

Overwatch 2 PvE

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

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