The fabled day has come and gone. Overwatch 2 is finally out and free to play—it only took three years after the announcement!
The question on every Overwatch fan’s lips is “what’s new”? And, perhaps more importantly, “is the sequel better than the original?”. While that second question is up to you to decide, let’s take a closer look at the major changes between Overwatch and its newly released successor.
New heroes used to be released in Overwatch multiple times a year, but since 2020 that was put on hold while we waited for the release of Overwatch 2. Fortunately, with the new game come new heroes… three to be precise!
They are Kiriko (Support), Sojourn (Damage) and Junker Queen (Tank).
This introduction of new blood to each hero category is sure to inject a huge amount of chaos into the new game as players get to grips with the nuance of these three complex heroes!
It’s not only new heroes. Old heroes are also different in Overwatch 2! And I’m not just talking about the buffed-up skins and graphics on show on their character models.
Lots of heroes have seen minor reworks: from Cassidy and Sombra to Mercy and Zenyatta. But no heroes have seen as drastic a change as the tanks who have all been beefed up in order to accommodate our next point…
Instead of the standard 2-2-2 team compositions, made up of 2 tanks, 2 damage and 2 support, Overwatch2 has thrown a huge spanner in the works by reducing overall team size to 5 players instead of 6. This comes by forfeiting one tank.
As a result, all tank heroes have experienced some pretty significant buffs in order to allow them to take the heat of the enemy team. Simultaneously, Blizzard chose to nerf shields.
Orisa is the hero with the greatest changes, losing her shield and now having two awesome spear abilities!
Like heroes, new maps used to be a common sight in Overwatch, and fortunately we have all been blessed with new maps! These are Circuit Royal (Escort), Midtown (Hybrid), Paraiso (Hybrid) alongside Colosseo, Esperanca and New Queen Street which are all part of the…
An all-new game mode has been dropped on players. This tense battle, which resembles a tug-of-war, sees teams escort a robot to either side of the map in a consistent push and pull. Given that single team-fights can make a huge difference in this game mode, it is an incredibly exciting one to play. Placing it almost perfectly between the play styles of escort and capture point game modes!
While we have new maps and a new game mode, the death of Overwatch 1 has also seen the death of one of its most hated game modes—Assault, often known as 2CP. This mode was a sore one for stalemates, snowballs and incredibly long matches alike. Rightfully earning it the badge of the worst mode out there.
Sadly, this means maps which featured this game mode have also become unplayable… for now!
Part of Overwatch’s identity was in its loot boxes—love it or hate it. The thrill of cracking open an event-based loot box and landing the exact legendary skin you wanted was almost unmatched. However, due to the bad press loot boxes have accrued over the years, Blizzard’s decision to drop them makes total sense. Instead replacing them with a…
You heard it. Blizzard have gone the route of many popular games by introducing its battle pass. Popularised by Fortnite, battle passes see players progress up a season-based levelling ladder, unlocking cosmetics and other goodies along the way.
New daily, weekly and seasonal challenges have been added to bolster this new experience-based levelling system.
However, it’s worth noting that the majority of the cosmetic unlocks will be locked behind the need to actually purchase the battle pass. Meaning that even if you reach maximum level during a season, you’ll need to pay to unlock some of the most desirable cosmetics.
Given the battle-pass levelling system, Blizzard have dropped the old levelling system which saw players clock up arbitrary ranks and accumulate different borders for their profile icon.
For me, this is a great change seeing as those levels always felt a little bit irrelevant!
Another, more subtle, change in Overwatch 2 is the in-match scoreboard, which now broadcasts player stats to all players in the lobby—including kills, deaths, assists, damage, healing and damage blocked (mit).
This makes the game resemble more competitive titles and is receiving some mixed feelings—especially from casual players.
Overwatch 2 ushers in a whole new era for the game which players are going to embrace. While plenty of the changes on show are divisive, especially for long-term fans of the original game, most fans are trusting in Blizzard’s tried-and-tested design prowess that they’ve made changes which will breathe an entirely new life into the game.