Everything New in Overwatch 2
With the release of Overwatch 2 on October 4th, Blizzard’s iconic hero shooter is entering a new era. The sequel promises massive gameplay changes with the removal of one tank role, promoting faster, more explosive action. Three heroes, a game mode, and several maps are just some of the shiny new toys available for the game’s launch.
Overwatch 2 also brings the game into the modern era, going free-to-play and introducing a shop and Battle Pass where players acquire cosmetic items and access new heroes. The Battle Pass will feature a variety of new cosmetic items, including Overwatch’s first mythic skins. Let’s take a look at all the updates and new content you can enjoy in Overwatch 2.
Overwatch 2 will introduce three new heroes to the game’s roster, one in each role. For damage, Sojourn was introduced during the first OW2 beta back in April. The new tank, Junker Queen, made her debut in June. On October 4th, Kiriko enters the fray as Overwatch’s newest support.
Kiriko is a dynamic addition to the support lineup. She has tremendous mobility in the form of her Wall Climb passive and Swift Step, which lets Kiriko teleport to her allies, even through walls.
She also brings a great mix of offensive and protective abilities. Her secondary fire is her Kunai, razor-sharp projectiles that do triple damage on a headshot. Her primary fire is the Healing Ofuda, talismans that hone in on her allies to provide healing. The final standard ability for Kiriko is her Protection Suzu. She sends a projectile that explodes on contact, giving nearby teammates a burst of healing while cleansing most negative effects and providing a brief period of invulnerability.
Finally, she brings her ultimate, Kitsune Rush, calling on the power of a Japanese fox spirit. Kiriko creates a path in front of her that increases movement and attack speed for her allies while reducing ability cooldowns. The ability provides a powerful engage tool for teams to initiate fights with a burst of speed and damage.
All three of Overwatch’s newest heroes should be exciting additions to the game. They’re high-octane, fast-paced characters with unique and satisfying abilities.
Battle Pass and Shop
With all the changes coming to Overwatch 2, one of the biggest is the update to the game’s monetization. Unlike the loot boxes of the original, the sequel is following the trend of free-to-play multiplayer games by selling a seasonal Battle Pass, as well as individual cosmetics and other bundles in a shop that changes daily.
Each Battle Pass will be tied to a season of play in Overwatch 2, with seasons lasting nine weeks. Players can level up the Battle Pass by playing matches in Quick Play, Competitive, and Arcade modes, and by completing daily and weekly challenges.
Some tiers of the Battle Pass will be available for free, but most of the content will be locked in the Premium Battle Pass. Moving forward, new heroes, including Kiriko, will be unlocked by reaching Tier 55 of the free Battle Pass or immediately upon purchase of the Premium version. Kiriko, however, will be available to anyone who purchased the original Overwatch.
Overall, the Premium Battle Pass contains 80 tiers of rewards including new skins, emotes, victory poses, and highlight intros for a price of about $10. Overwatch 2 is also introducing a variety of new cosmetic items to upgrade and personalize your experience. Weapon charms add a little flair to your guns. Souvenirs are items that your character can display in-game alongside a unique animation. Finally, Name Cards change how you present to other players in your lobbies.
The first season’s Battle Pass also debuts a new Mythic tier for hero skins, starting with Genji’s Cyber Demon skin. Mythic skins will feature unique ways to customize the hero with different patterns and color schemes to suit your style. The Mythic skins will be locked behind the highest tier of the Premium Battle Pass, so fans will need to put in the hours to acquire these exclusive cosmetics.
When it comes to actually playing the game itself, this is clearly Overwatch 2’s most significant update over the original. Matches are now played with five players on each team: one tank, two supports, and two damage dealers. It’s certainly a big change, but Blizzard has consistently been willing to change the overall structure of the game if they think it will improve.
When Overwatch was in its original beta period, the game was played entirely without hero limits. Teams would often feature 2-4 duplicates of the same hero. Further down the line, they implemented Role Lock that restricted teams to two of each role. Now, they’ve reduced the number of tanks in an effort to make the game more dynamic.
Early signs from the two Overwatch 2 betas indicate that they’ve largely been successful in that goal. Games are less chaotic, individual play matters more, and the game operates at a faster pace. There are no more double-shield compositions that slow games to a halt. Supports have a clear place to focus much of their attention. Everyone will come to their own conclusions about 5v5, but overall Overwatch 2 feels more open and more exciting than its predecessor.
New Game Mode
Overwatch 2 is also shaking up the game modes available to players. Assault is gone from the rotation, replaced by Push, a brand new mode that fits in well with the game’s new direction.
Push features two teams starting on opposite sides of a symmetrical map. They fight for control of a robot that pushes a barrier toward the enemy team’s spawn. Teams win by pushing to the end of the map or by pushing their barrier the furthest before time expires.
In general, Push functions very similarly to the Escort game mode if it didn’t have Attack and Defense. The mode usually features a winding path for the barrier to travel, so teams often have the opportunity to take shortcuts back to the action. The map design also provides plenty of options for how to approach fights, making for a very dynamic game mode.
The sequel is bringing six new maps to the fold upon launch, bringing the game’s total up to 22. Three of them, New Queen Street, Colosseo, and Esperança, are Push maps. Midtown and Paraíso are Hybrid maps, and the final new addition, Circuit Royal, is an Escort map. All but Esperança released during the two beta periods earlier in 2022.
The game’s newest map was a labor of love for the Overwatch team. The game’s lead environment artist is from Portugal and helped bring the map to life as a representation of where he grew up. Overwatch has always had a very global feel to it, and the vibrant streets of Esperança are no exception.
All of the maps released for Overwatch 2 have had one thing in common: verticality. Maps like Paraíso and Circuit Royal play heavily around the varying elevations present. Colosseo and New Queen Street have a more gradual incline as the barrier moves towards the edges of the map, and it appears that Esperança is built in the same vein.
Several of Overwatch’s heroes have received major overhauls for Overwatch 2. Generally speaking, all of the reworks have made an effort to align with the high-octane vision that Blizzard has for the game.
First up, Bastion has seen changes to most of his kit. Self Repair and his ultimate, Configuration: Tank, have been removed. In Recon Mode, Bastion’s primary fire now shoots much slower but does more damage while removing bullet spread. His first new ability is Configuration: Assault, which reworks his old turret form into a cooldown ability. Bastion can transform for six seconds, during which time he fires his minigun and moves with reduced speed.
Bastion has also picked up a projectile grenade launcher. The explosives richochet once and stick to enemies on contact for big damage if they hit. Finally, Bastion’s new ultimate, Artillery Strike, allows him to shift into the form of an artillery cannon to drop three explosive shells on the battlefield.
When it comes to dramatic makeovers, none is as impactful as Orisa’s. Even the parts of her kit that retain similarities to the original have serious changes. Her primary fire, Fusion Driver, now operates on a heat mechanic where players lose the ability to fire for a few seconds in the gun overheats. Fortify also remains mostly unchanged, giving some temporary health and slowing Orisa while reducing the heat buildup on her primary fire.
Orisa’s Protective Barrier, Halt, and Supercharger abilities have all been removed. Her first new ability is the Energy Javelin, a fast projectile that stuns and knocks enemies back, increasing the stun duration if they hit a wall. With Javelin Spin, Orisa twirls the Javelin in front of her, destroying enemy projectiles while causing Orisa to surge forward, knocking enemies away. Lastly, her new ultimate, Terra Surge, sees Orisa receive the effects of Fortify as she pulls in enemies around her and charges a devestaging AoE attack.
Last but certainly not least amongst the reworks, we have Doomfist. Much of his kit remains intact, but his role has changed. Now a tank, Doomfist has massively increased health but loses some damage in Overwatch 2.
His primary fire, Hand Cannon, does less damage and recharges slower but is largely unchanged. The same can be said for Rocket Punch, which no longer has the ability to one-shot targets but can hit multiple enemies in a small AoE. Meteor Strike has a similar story, with its damage nerfed for all but the very center of the ultimate.
Doomfist has also seen the removal of his Uppercut ability and a big change to Seismic Slam. The ability now works much more like Winston’s Jump Pack, launching Doomfist up and forward while doing damage upon impact. Uppercut has been replaced by a new ability meant to help Doomfist’s survivability as a tank. Power Block absorbs 80 percent of incoming damage from the front and empowers his next Rocket Punch if enough is absorbed.
A number of other heroes received smaller changes going into Overwatch. Some are meant to adjust tanks to operate alone in a 5v5 world. Others are trying to reduce the overall amount of crowd control abilities in the game.
The first category includes tweaked abilities for Winston and Zarya. Winston has received a new secondary fire that charges and shoots a bolt of electricity. The new ability gives Winston a way to contribute with poke damage or finish off targets outside of his usual range. Zarya has simply seen her two bubbles move to a shared cooldown with two charges that can protect teammates or herself.
For the rest of the roster, there’s only one completely new ability. Cassidy’s Flashbang is now Magnetic Grenade. The new version removes the stun completely. Now the ability attaches to enemies within its range, exploding after a short delay for a burst of damage sufficient to kill a 200 HP target after just one shot from Cassidy.
Other changes simply remove or lessen crowd control effects from other abilities. Brigitte no longer stuns with her Shield Bash. Mei can’t freeze enemies with her primary fire, but her ultimate still can.
Finally, Sombra saw sizeable changes to her Hack. Hack lasts for eight seconds, but only disables enemy abilities for 1.75. For the remaining time, the hacked target is visible through walls to Sombra’s team and she does more damage to them. Overall, the change lessens the impact on player agency, but encourages Sombra to take more of a backline assassin role.
Overwatch 2 is also introducing passive abilities for each role in an effort to sure up weaknesses and differentiate the roles. One early iteration of the damage passive was allowing them to retain ultimate charge up to 30% after swapping heroes. That buff is going to be universal on launch, but each role has a unique ability.
First up, we have the support heroes, who now all have a built-in way to heal themselves. All they need to do is avoid taking damage for 1.5 seconds and the 15 HP/second healing will kick in. This is a massive improvement for support survivability, especially when they don’t have a second tank to protect them. It will also mean supports can focus their resources on their allies instead of their own health bar.
Meanwhile, the tank passive really promotes being in the thick of the fight. All tanks now have 30% knockback reduction and also give 50% less ultimate charge when damaged. Support ultimates will still charge from the healing to tanks, which incentivizes taking damage and protect the team. The knockback reduction, alongside the lessened crowd control game-wide, should keep tanks from feeling like they’re constantly getting pushed around.
Throughout the beta process, Blizzard has had trouble nailing down a damage passive. They started with increased movement across the board, but that didn’t last long. Then they tried the ult charge passive. For launch, Blizzard settled on a mechanic that gives additional movement and reload speed for a few seconds after an elimination.
Many online are already expressing skepticism about the damage passive, saying that it could cause a snowball effect where kills beget more kills. Others complain that it helps some heroes dramatically more than others. Blizzard has expressed that they’re still willing to iterate on passives and might even use them as a balancing tool in the future.
Overwatch 2 launches on October 4th worldwide. The game can be downloaded via the Battle.net desktop client for free. Be sure to check back in here at Hotspawn for more coverage of the Overwatch 2 release.