Overwatch 2 was first announced back at BlizzCon 2019, and after a dramatic two years of delays and one very controversial resignation, the long-awaited sequel is finally here. Not only will Overwatch 2 replace its predecessor entirely, the game will become free-to-play on PC, Xbox, PS4, PS5 and Nintendo Switch starting 5th October 2022 in Malaysia.
And that’s only the start of the hefty changes Blizzard has made to Overwatch 2 — some of which may even surprise long-time players! Here’s a breakdown of every single update before it rolls out on launch day.
New Seasonal Model — Introducing Free & Premium Battle Passes
The first big change: Overwatch 2 will be shifting to a seasonal model with new content refreshing every nine weeks. Each season will introduce either a new hero or a new map, plus a Battle Pass with its own unique theme and 80+ unlockable cosmetics. The Battle Pass is free by default, giving everyone the chance to unlock new heroes like Kiriko; albeit free-to-play players will need to grind to Tier 55 to do so.
Players can unlock more rewards by upgrading to the Premium Battle Pass for 1,000 Overwatch Coins (or MYR46). The Season 1 Battle Pass comes with instant access to Kiriko, a total of 80 tiers to unlock, and premium cosmetics like a Mythic-Tier Cyber Demon Genji skin, five new Legendary skins, and one Epic skin. Premium Battle Pass owners will also enjoy a season-long Battle Pass EXP boost.
If you’re a hardcore fan, consider getting the Watchpoint Pack for even more value. The pack includes the Season 1 Premium Battle Pass and all its perks, seven Legendary skins (including two exclusive Space Raider skins), five Epic skins, and 2,000 Overwatch Coins. However, the price tag is on the pricier side at $39.99 (or MYR186).
With the addition of a Battle Pass system, we can finally bid farewell to the infamous Loot Boxes. Instead, players can use Overwatch Coins to purchase cosmetic items directly in the shop. The shop will offer featured cosmetic items every week, rotating bundles, and a personalised “Just For You” section based on your play history.
Season 1 Login Bonuses — Sojourn, Junker Queen & The Founder’s Pack
As a Season 1 bonus for all players, everyone who logs in will receive two new heroes immediately: Junker Queen and Sojourn. Junker Queen is a close-range Tank Hero with a boomerang axe to rival Kratos, while Sojourn is a mid-range Damage Hero with a highly aim-reliant kit.
Blizzard hasn’t forgotten about their original supporters either. Players who owned Overwatch 1 will get instant access to Kiriko through their Founder’s Pack, which can be redeemed by logging in before the end of Season 2. Besides Kiriko, the pack also contains a unique Founder’s Icon, the General Doomfist Epic skin, the Jester Sombra Epic skin, and a surprise gift that has yet to be announced. Perhaps a free Premium Battle Pass for Season 1?
Major Gameplay Updates — 5v5 PvP Experience, 6 New Maps & 1 New Game Mode
Overwatch 2 is making the groundbreaking swap from a 6v6 to a 5v5 PvP experience, with the intention of allowing players to make a larger impact on their matches and try a range of new heroes and strategies. The developers have emphasised their commitment to game balancing, including making hero balance changes at the start of every season, and delaying the introduction of new heroes into Competitive Mode for a few weeks.
The game will also boast 6 new maps: Circuit Royale, Colosseo, Midtown, New Queen Street, Paraíso, and and the newly announced Esperança. This comes hand-in-hand with the new Push game mode, in which players fight to gain control over a robot named Clive and push him to the enemy spawn; essentially an overglorified round of tug of war.
Competitive Mode Rehaul — Unlocking The Mode, New Skill Tiers & Placement Matches
Most exciting for long-time players, Overwatch 2 will be rolling out some much-needed improvements to their Competitive Mode. Beginning with the new Competitive requirements, new accounts will now have to win 50 Quick Play matches before unlocking Competitive Mode. Meanwhile, veteran players who have unlocked Competitive Mode in the past will receive immediate access in Overwatch 2.
Skill Tiers still exist in Competitive Mode, but will no longer be represented by a numerical value. Instead, each tier will have five divisions ranking from 5 (lowest) to 1 (highest), with each division representing approximately 100 SR range. Instead of SR updates after every match, players will only receive competitive updates every 7 wins or 20 losses. Top 500 will not have tier divisions.
The way Placement Matches work are also changing. Instead of playing 5 unranked matches, players will remain unranked until their first 7 wins or 20 losses. Overwatch 2 devs warn players that their ranks may be slightly lower than before, but rest assured, it is an intentional formula to give players room to learn new concepts and metas.
Other than that, players can expect some UI changes that make for a friendlier competitive experience. Such as, competitive skill tiers and portrait borders will be removed completely. Medals will be removed from the scoreboard and replaced with performance numbers, in hopes that it will help pinpoint the team’s needs more accurately. Players can also check detailed Game Reports under Career Profile to analyse their personal performance with any hero.
For the full updates on Competitive Mode, you can read more here.
Quality of Life Upgrades — SMS Protection, Audio Transcriptions & Cross-Platform Progression
In direct retaliation of the game’s biggest problems, Overwatch 2 is finally introducing SMS Protection. Moving forward, all players across all platforms are required to have a phone number attached to their Battle.net account in order to play Overwatch 2. Developers are hoping that this will lead to a significant downtick in cheating and disruptive behaviour.
Overwatch 2 will also be taking their safety measures to the next level with audio transcriptions, which will roll out shortly after launch. Audio transcriptions will collect a temporary voice chat recording of any reported player and transcribe it through speech-to-text programs before it is analysed for disruptive behaviour. If it works, this could mean a much safer environment for all players moving forward.
Cross-platform players rejoice — you will be able to merge multiple Overwatch accounts to carry forward progression and in-game cosmetics across multiple platforms now! All cross-platform players should be automatically prompted to merge their accounts since August 16th, although players should take note that this is a one-time action, so double check your accounts before you approve the merge!
Limited-Time Twitch Drops — Earn Legendary Kiriko Skin & Cosmetics
Throughout the month of October, Blizzard will be rewarding everyone who watches Overwatch 2 on Twitch. Between October 7th (2:00PM PDT) and October 16th (11:59PM PDT), watch 6 hours to earn the Legendary Sukajan Kiriko Skin.
Between October 17th (11:00AM PDT) and October 24th (12:00AM PDT), watch for 2 hours to earn the Razor Sharp Kiriko Spray, and another 3 hours to earn the Donut Weapon Charm. Just don’t forget to link your Battle.net account before watching!
Upcoming Events — New Heroes, Maps & Story-Heavy PvE Modes
Overwatch 2 has already confirmed new hero drops for Season 1 and 2, and new heroes every alternate season after that. New maps will also be introduced every alternate season moving forward.
As for the PvE modes, Blizzard has confirmed that the first PvE launch will be coming in 2023. Although it’s not yet certain whether this will be a Story Experience or a Hero Mission as previously teased, players can expect to get their first glimpse of the possibilities in Junkenstein’s Revenge: Wrath of the Bride, which will be available in Season 1.
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For more Overwatch 2 content, this writer also streams the game over on Twitch!