I’m not necessarily looking forward to Overwatch 2, Activision Blizzard’s follow-up and replacement to its team-based 2016 shooter.
PC Gamer reported this week that the series’ lead hero designers, Geoff Goodman, who had helped shape the series from its incubation period six years ago, recently left Blizzard. As recently as August, Activision employees accused the game company of union-busting. In June, the company expressed hesitance in filing yearly harassment reports despite years of employees speaking out against what they call an abusive workplace. None of this inspires enthusiasm.
But there are new girl characters, and I guess that’s cool. Girls are cool. And people online have been asking a lot of questions about Overwatch 2 (understandable—its release is only two weeks away), and so I thought I’d walk the recesses of the internet to find and answer some of its most-asked questions. I want us to figure out this Overwatch 2 thing together, and possibly even find something to look forward to (or not).
When will Overwatch 2 come out?
That’s easy—October 4, 2022. The game itself is free-to-play, but an in-game shop and often-slandered battle pass will effectively paywall some new characters and live-service, seasonal items.
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Why is no one talking about Blizzard shutting down Overwatch before Overwatch 2 releases?
Blizzard isn’t only canning Overwatch before 2’s release—it’s fully replacing Overwatch with Overwatch 2. I think naming the game something like Overwatch 2.0 or Overwatch, Again or Hey, I Am Overwatch Except There Are More Cool Girls would have helped clear up some of the confusion. Blizzard didn’t ask me to be present during the naming meeting, weirdly.
The last day to play an unadulterated Overwatch is October 2, two days before 2 releases. After that, Overwatch commercial lead Jon Spector said in a statement to Eurogamer that “it’s a 27-hour downtime that we’re planning in order to get the Overwatch 2 server stood up and running.” Sometime in those 27 hours, new players will be able to download Overwatch 2 in early preparation for launch, and existing players will receive a notification to update their software to Overwatch 2.
The base Overwatch 2 game is free, but Blizzard will still generously give you the opportunity to hand over some money. You could buy the Watchpoint Pack, a $39.99 package, if you’re really hungry for it.
According to its Battle.net description, it includes the following: Season 1 of Overwatch 2’s premium battle pass, which gives you access to healer hero Kiriko and “over 80 tiers of rewards,” 7 Legendary skins, 5 Epic skins, 2,000 Overwatch Coins, and Overwatch Legendary Edition. The fine print indicates that only the in-game items from Legendary will carry over to Overwatch 2, though.
Is Overwatch 2 switching to 5v5?
Yes. Blizzard announced in 2021 that it would cut PvP team sizes down from six to five. That’s what God decided about our fingers and toes, too, probably.
What’s this unannounced core mode?
It’s pure speculation at this point. A few months ago, a Discord user supposedly translated and shared information from a now-deleted interview with the French streamer Potxeca, Geoff Goodman, and game director Aaron Keller. The user said there was an “unannounced gamemode” coming in 2023, and excited Reddit users think it might be a Team Fortress 2-type 5CP.
More speculation, but it appears that seasonal Overwatch items either won’t transfer to Overwatch 2, or you will no longer be able to buy them with credits.
Players got a wolfish “last chance” reminder to “spend your credits on seasonal collection items!” in-game. The same reminder nebulously indicates that credits themselves will carry over to 2, so, uh…
But Blizzard wrote in a September 15 blog that it was introducing another currency, Overwatch Coins, and a “seasonal model” with nine-weeks-long update periods, which would supply the game with things like heroes, maps, modes, and skins. It seems likely that anything Blizzard is pushing you to spend those old-timey Overwatch credits on will not be available for one reason or another come October 4.
I’ve seen a lot of people complain that all Overwatch characters are less cute in Overwatch 2, but, for the most part, I genuinely can’t tell the difference in character design. At least, not in a way that feels significant or meaningful. I’m sorry. But take solace in remembering your diary will always have crisp blank pages for you to master Widowmaker’s cheekbones in, if that’s what it comes to.
Why is Overwatch loved by critics but hated by gamers?
Is that true? For the most part, I think critics and non-critics alike are approaching Overwatch 2 with healthy trepidation and mild intrigue, and I think plenty of non-critics love playing the original Overwatch. Ultimately we’re all just people with opinions, which happen to not be facts, as I learned in the first grade. Nothing to worry about there.
Should Overwatch 2 be considered for Game of the Year?
Maybe. As a critic, I love Overwatch 2, but as a gamer, I hate it. So I’m not sure.
Make Blizzard executives’ fat pockets go boom.