Overwatch 2 was originally announced in 2019, and after several pushbacks (and, of course, scandals) it finally released on Oct. 4th. Amidst Blizzard’s long list of issues with game development and management, I took a pretty long hiatus from the first game and was still undecided on whether I was willing to give its successor a try.
Despite my skepticism, I was curious about the new heroes and the overall balance of matches as the game shifted from a 6v6 to a 5v5.
On Oct. 4th, I was met with a stream of excited Discord messages from friends talking about the release. So, despite my firm insistence that I would not be trying the game for a while, of course I folded and set the game to download while I was in class.
After returning from class for the day, my curiosity was at an all-time high. I had avoided looking at anything on Twitter or TikTok so that I could make my own judgments once I played. I launched the game, hopped into voice chat with a friend and was met with, “In queue: 4,000 players ahead of you.”
Much to my dismay, I couldn’t even get to the title screen of the game. It was just an endless countdown of people ahead of me in the queue that would reach zero before immediately jumping back up into the thousands.
As it turns out, everyone trying to play the game was having the same problem, and in typical gaming community fashion, they were outraged. Blizzard’s servers had suffered a massive DDoS attack, or a “distributed denial-of-service.”
These issues continued into the next day, but two days after release, I was finally able to enter the game. Now, I’m absolutely no expert on first-person-shooter games, and to be honest, I am not great at them.
I didn’t read any of the forums leading up to release or keep up with teasers and leaks. I don’t even understand half of the words that hardcore fans use to objectively discuss games.
However, now that I’ve actually been able to play for a few weeks, here are my initial thoughts on Overwatch 2 as a casual player.
Before I get into the actual gameplay, the first shock for me was the disappearance of my beloved loot boxes. This could be due to the fact I may or may not have a budding gambling addiction, but that’s not what matters here. Overwatch 2 completely shifted their monetization system, and in my opinion, it just doesn’t work.
The original game was $60, with different options for character customization that could be unlocked through earning loot boxes. Although you could spend real money to receive loot boxes, (which, again, I may or may not be guilty of) it was pretty easy to earn loot boxes just by playing the game.
You could earn them through leveling up, completing challenges, receiving a higher endorsement level and playing roles in quick play and competitive that were eligible based on what needed to be filled.
In Overwatch 2, none of those mean anything. Sure, you can level up, and you will receive battle pass points for that, but those are only useful if you’ve paid the $10 to unlock the battle pass in the first place. Leveling up, completing role fills and receiving endorsements don’t really hold weight anymore.
Many games now have the free-to-play model with a battle pass, such as Valorant or Fortnite. I think this model works very well for those games; it makes sense with the gameplay. For instance, gun buddies are available in the Valorant battle pass, and I think it is a cute way to customize your weapon and it will always be visible on your screen.
In an attempt to fill out what’s available in the battle pass, Overwatch 2 implemented the use of weapon charms as well. However, it just doesn’t make sense because the weapons are much more varied in Overwatch based on character design. Moira, one of the support heroes, uses her hands for damage and healing, so her weapon charm is just hanging off of a little metal peg sticking out of her wrist. In my opinion, it’s just a bad design and looks like it was thrown together as a money grab.
Character skins are included in the new battle pass as well, versus using gold from loot boxes and challenges to buy skins in the first game. Again, this is very disappointing to me. Players who had leftover gold from the first game are still able to purchase skins for original heroes and skins for new heroes that were available upon release, but new skins will only be available with the battle pass. Future new heroes will also be locked behind the battle pass.
I think the battle pass model would work a little better if there was at least a way to earn gold, even if it was a very small amount each time and took a while to save up and actually buy anything.
New Heroes and Balance
One highly anticipated change that was announced very early on was Overwatch 2’s shift from 6v6 matches to 5v5. Instead of two tanks, two DPS and two support, there is now only one tank on each team.
This change was pretty controversial in the community from what I saw. In practice, it’s honestly not too bad. My one complaint as a support main is that there is a lot less protection now. Since there are not two tanks, one of which should hypothetically be a hero that has a shield ability, there are very few barriers between support heroes and the enemy team now. This is especially difficult since not every tank hero even has a shield to begin with.
Upon release, the game also has three new heroes available to play: one support, one DPS, and one tank.
As a support main, I’ve enjoyed playing Kiriko. Her teleport ability is extremely helpful and definitely helps a bit with the shield issues I mentioned above. Her design is super cute, and I also really like that you can do a decent amount of damage with her in addition to healing.
Sojourn, the new DPS hero, is my favorite addition by far. I do not usually play DPS, mostly because I will absolutely cry if someone is mean to me and DPS players usually get the most heat from teammates if they aren’t performing well. However, Sojourn’s abilities remind me a lot more of what you might find in Valorant, so I feel like playing her has made adjusting to Overatch gameplay again a lot easier.
I have run into some issues with the new tank hero, Junker Queen. My stint with her was very brief, but the general consensus from the community seems to be that she is just not very effective as a tank. Many of her abilities are reminiscent of Roadhog, another tank, but extremely watered down. She plays more like a DPS hero, so although I think she is fun to play, it’s just not the most helpful choice to play her as the sole tank in matches.
New Game Mode and Maps
The release of Overwatch 2 also brough some new changes to existing maps, as well as the addition of new maps.
To be honest, I don’t have much to say about the new maps. I feel like there were enough maps in the first game that I didn’t get bored with the rotation, but I would’ve liked to see a few more additions to make this game truly feel new. However, I think Blizzard did a great job of making the new maps reminiscent of the original game as far as design and layouts. The new maps are gorgeous, and I’ve always liked how the maps in Overwatch were based around real- world locations.
A new game mode, “push” was also added. This is essentially a double payload mode. There are two barricades in the middle of the map with a robot that will push the barricade depending on which team has control of it. If you push the enemy team’s barricade back to their spawn, your team wins.
I have had a lot of fun with this game mode so far. My only complaint is that unlike normal payload maps, the spawn point only resets once and it takes a while to get back to where the robot is. Since you are moving into enemy territory, the run back to the robot’s location can be pretty long and uses up precious time for another team push.
by Ashley Farnie Assistant Music Director I recently attended weekend two of Austin City Limits Music Festival alongside KTSW music staff and experienced some great live music! If you were unable to attend this year, or only caught the artists from weekend one, I will fill you in on what you missed. Unfortunately, because of my student schedule I only attended Saturday and Sunday of the three-day festival but packed […]
DK on October 27, 2022
great article! i think I will not play