Home » Overwatch 2 is Fast, Fun, and Free-to-play

Overwatch 2 is Fast, Fun, and Free-to-play

by Nathan Zachary

When Overwatch initially came out in 2016, it was tough to predict the cultural impact and outcome it would have on gamers across the world. The “hero shooter” gained a massive fan following due to its colorful cast of characters, their unique abilities, and fast-paced, multiplayer gameplay that pits two teams of six against one another. 

In the process, Overwatch took home numerous awards and accolades and became one of the most popular esports games. 

Now in 2022, six years later, all eyes are on Blizzard. Even though the company was battered by controversy in 2019, people are looking forward to enjoying a fresh, six-year-old multiplayer shooter game. After working on the second Overwatch 2 beta, the core Overwatch goodness remains intact, but that may actually be to the PC game’s detriment.

The first Overwatch 2 PvP beta was limited in scope and limited to PC gamers. However, in the second Overwatch 2 PvP beta, Blizzard set up a platform for console gamers as well, letting those on PlayStation and Xbox try their hand at the game. 

The second Overwatch 2 PvP beta lasted a while, but now it’s finally wrapping up. And while it seems likely that another Overwatch 2 beta will take place between now and the game’s October 4 launch, nothing official to that effect has been announced at the time of this writing.

Blizzard’s original multiplayer shooter has received countless updates, introducing new maps, modes, events, and, of course, new heroes. What’s potentially confusing about Overwatch 2 is that it’s not a fully-fledged sequel, not a separate game, but one that will completely replace the original. It can be seen as a major expansion; a second chapter that comes in tow with a payload of fresh and reworked content for both returning fans and first-time players.

New Looks, New Sounds

Overwatch 2 just wrapped up its PvP Beta on consoles and PC. On a surface level, Overwatch 2 is not very different from its predecessor. However, players were greeted with a game that was graphically more impressive than its predecessor. The lighting and shaders are crisper, as well as there are added effects of fog and cloth. The heroes have new looks, too. 

Similarly, the game sounds incredible, and the sound effects really give weight to what’s happening on the screen. All thanks to Blizzard for introducing the new, enhanced audio in Overwatch 2 using its Convolution Reverb System. While these are both features that should be implemented in a sequel, they are the only aspects of the new game that feel like they couldn’t just be added to the first one.

New Heroes

Two new heroes – Sojourn and Junker Queen are introduced In Overwatch 2 Beta

Heading into character, two new heroes have been introduced in Overwatch 2. Sojourn is a DPS character that’s supposedly a good all-around pick for newcomers. The second character is Junker Queen, a tank with a diverse kit. 

Apart from these two, all the original characters return, but with some minor and major tweaks to their playstyles. Blizzard has confirmed that a new Overwatch 2 support hero will be in the game at launch, but with no new hero to play as and minimal support revamps to check out.

Along with new heroes, gamers also got to try several new maps and a new game mode. The Overwatch 2 Beta featured some reworked characters from the first game. All of these changes were front and centre in the Beta, but it didn’t stop the game from feeling like just more of the same.

For example, Doomfist was redesigned to fit into the Tank class. Orisa had their move sets altered for the new game. Mercy has been made to be more engaging to play. Moira has been changed out of her Damage Orb for the “Enfeeble Orb”, which hasn’t set well with the fans. 

It will be interesting to see how Blizzard continues changing Overwatch 2 heroes to balance them while ensuring that they are still fun to play.

Free Cavalary

The second massive change is the fact that Overwatch 2 will be free-to-play, taking a seasonal update approach similar to that of the Rocket League. The first season is set to drop alongside the game on October 4. It will include three new heroes; six new maps; a new game mode; and a few dozen cosmetics. 

Blizzard will kill the original Overwatch when Overwatch 2 drops. You’ll be able to carry the cosmetics, unopened loot boxes, and unspent coins. Shutting down a paid game and shifting to a free-to-play model will always leave a sour taste in gamers’ mouths.

One of the biggest gameplay changes in Overwatch 2 is the switch from 12-player matches to 10-player matches. The player composition is to be one tank, two DPS, and two support heroes. 

During a live stream by game director Aaron Keller in May 2022, Aaron said,

“We have always tried to make our combat easy to read and very understandable, and even with all of the work that we’ve put into that, sometimes it’s just hard to track what 11 other players are doing on the battlefield. Removing two of those simplifies everything, and it allows players to understand everything that’s happening around them, and to be able to make better choices.”

Overwatch 2 plans to introduce Competitive Play, incentivizing players to play Support by giving them priority pass tickets for Tank and Damage. It will also help that Overwatch 2 is launching as a free-to-play game across PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. It will have the maximum audience size possible.

Blizzard kept things relatively closed off for the latest Overwatch 2 PvP beta version. The company slowly sent out invites to those who signed up. There was the option to purchase the Overwatch 2 Watchpoint Pack, which gave a player immediate beta access.

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One important point to be noted in terms of criticism was that there seemed to be an issue with matchmaking. If this were to be resolved, then it seems as though the game would be in pretty good shape during the official launch. The core gameplay is plenty of fun and highly polished, as one has come to expect from Overwatch. 


Solo players may possibly find it less engaging than the original one. The original Overwatch seemed to be better suited to the “lone wolf” who would play alone and not discuss gameplay through audio chat. They could enjoy the game simply through the bevvy of shields provided and the comparatively easier-to-kill Tanks. Conversely, Overwatch 2’s more aggressive play and lack of shields force players to work together more in order to succeed.

Despite tweaks to the game’s meta, Overwatch 2 doesn’t necessarily feel like a sequel yet. There are no new mechanics to make the game feel like it’s the next step in Overwatch’s evolution as a social game. 

Overwatch 2’s core—the new PVE mode—was not part of the beta. The PVE mode includes cooperative Story Missions, as well as separate Hero Missions. In this mode, you can level up heroes using skill trees, and unlock customization options that change their abilities and create unique builds. Blizzard has stated that PvE modes are coming in 2023.

The sequel seems to be more optimized and aggressive, making it feel like a game that’s constantly on the move. There are new passive buffs that offer small bonuses to every character with the same role, which incentivizes you to change how you play. In the beta build, new gameplay strategies were still being formed and tested. That being said, once they come together, the matches feel even faster than they did in the original game.

Overwatch 2 is set to launch on PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. It’s pretty clear that Blizzard is taking feedback into consideration and making necessary gameplay adjustments. It has already implemented a flurry of new changes since the first beta, but the real question remains: Are there enough changes to warrant the existence of this sequel? We’ll have to wait until October 4 to find out.

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