Overwatch 2 updates are back at last weekend’s BlizzCon Online 2021! After a long silence from Blizzard, we’re finally getting some updates to the sequel of our favourite team-based hero shooter. And while we didn’t get a launch date we did get a lot of updated gameplay, a new character showcase and some new designs for some of the characters.
Our last big Overwatch 2 update was at BlizzCon 2019 but from now on good ole sensei, Jeff Kaplan has promised more frequent updates. We’ll be updating this article whenever any big news hits so keep an eye out! In the meantime don’t expect Overwatch 2 to be launching this year, but 2022 seems like a decent timeline.
Introducing PvE Gameplay
One of the biggest changes to Overwatch 2 and the original is the addition of Hero Missions and a Story Mode staged in PvE format. The game’s main campaign, made up of co-operative Story Missions, will see new and old Overwatch heroes teaming up against the Null Sector. The robotic army players fought in the Uprising event from the original game.
PvE format I imagine will be similar to the Archives Event on Overwatch. Blizzard has stated that in these missions players will have to hold out against a variety of different Omnic enemies. This includes Elite Grunts, The Puller, and The Breacher, with each enemy having its own set of skills.
Story missions will also have item pickups that can slightly modify a hero’s playstyle. The three shown were an HP generator, a corrosive grenade, and a barrier shield similar to Winston’s. Any hero in the mode can pick these up and use them at will, but they don’t carry over between missions.
The story mode will be the full-blown Overwatch 2 game while Hero Missions are smaller experiences that players can complete to upgrade the various characters on the roster.
Hero Missions will be separate from the story and are designed to be highly replayable. In this mode, players can level up heroes and unlock customization options that modify their abilities. We’ll talk about this later. In the gameplay trailer, we see a modified Tracer build that chains her Pulse Bomb explosion to multiple enemies. As far as we can tell, these ability modifiers are exclusive to PvE and won’t have any impact on PvP.
Jeff has said that “Overwatch 2 will have hundreds of Hero Missions”. Some of these missions will take place on existing maps or in a place on the map unique to the mission.
Overwatch 2 Has PvE Skill Trees
Overwatch is a purely skill-based game that does not have any hero progression. This has been a bit controversial in the community, I for one love just being able to jump in and out of games without worrying about the grind.
But in Overwatch 2 we’ll be getting skill trees for heroes. Potentially similar to those of Destiny 2, the skill trees won’t be one with linear progression but instead have ability choices. Each hero looks to have three available trees and many perks per tree. One example talked about by developers was to add elemental effects to abilities, such as Reinhardt’s Fire-Strike freezing enemies or Junkrat’s traps being electrically charged.
Since these changes are only in the PVE game modes, it gave the developers much more freedom to include things that wouldn’t normally be balanced in a competitive PVP mode. Changes like this should increase the replayability of the PvE missions, and really let players be creative with their hero builds.
More Passive Role Abilities
Overwatch is all about utilising hero abilities. Those abilities are split into Active, Ultimate and Passive abilities. For example, Mercy has a passive regen that allows her to heal herself. While Sombra can see low-health enemies through walls. In Overwatch 2 it seems that all characters will get a passive ability based on their role.
Currently, the passives are being experimented with and aren’t being launched with the game. But some of these may include Tanks having increased knockback resistance and players getting less Ultimate charge from shooting them. Damage heroes having improved movement speed increase that allows them to flank more dynamically. Support heroes may have a passive health regeneration, similar to Mercy’s current live passive but at a slower rate. These will most likely come in addition to the normal hero passives and be given to all heroes across that role.
Overwatch 1 & 2 Crossplay
One of the biggest questions the original fans of Overwatch have for the new game is that will we be able to PvP crossplay with Overwatch 2? And the answer is yes you can. The original Overwatch game will be sharing the PvP experience with Overwatch 2, so you can expect a mostly similar Competitive Play experience.