Overwatch 2 - The Facts
BlizzCon 2019 is in full swing, and the long-rumored Overwatch 2 is real. The following is much of what we know about the game from the Opening Ceremonies, the “What’s Next” Panel for Overwatch, and the press Q&A. This post may be updated as more is found out. If so, notes will be made at the end.
What Is It
Overwatch 2 is a sequel to Overwatch, but it’s not a traditional sequel. To Blizzard and their messaging, it’s an entirely new game, but as a player it’s going to feel like the same game with a graphics upgrade and two permanent PvE modes added to the already existing PvP modes.
Both games will share the same heroes, same maps, same game types (except permanent PvE), and even the same player pool, meaning no matter which PvP content you queue for in either game, you’ll be matched with players from both games. Players in Overwatch will see the way heroes look in 2, but will be unable to select those skins themselves.
The reason for 2 is essentially to “relaunch” the game with a new, more powerful game engine that will allow developers to do more with the game under the hood. Among many things, this means a potential for larger maps, and the ability to have more AI units loaded in-game at a time. It can do more, which is covered below.
FINALLY THE LORE IS COMING! Two PvE modes
Story Missions are similar to Archive events that exist now. A predetermined set of heroes make their way through a mission, story develops around them, and you work together to defeat enemies and events until the end. With around 40 maps at launch, including maps most don’t see as much like Black Forest, the team says they have a lot of space to draw inspiration from. Kaplan wanted to highlight that this is not a campaign, and while some missions may have a theme, but each mission is meant to be its own event.
Hero Missions will allow players to select from any heroes, similar to All-Heroes modes, and allow players to upgrade their heroes and customize abilities. For example Lucio may choose to have Amp It Up affect both speed and healing while active, and Reinhardt can make Earthshatter hit a 360 degree area, not just a cone in front of him.
Kaplan likened the Hero Missions to the Adventure Mode in Diablo III, where maps may be replayed over and over for progression and advancement.
In a Q&A, Kaplan said that the Hero Missions are where most replayability is at, but for both PvE modes, he wants to encourage players to get the most enjoyment from both, try harder and harder difficulties. “It’s no fun to just mindlessly kill AI that isn’t a challenge.”
To use the term loosely, there will be some kind of “endgame,” and some former encounter designers from World of Warcraft are helping with the PvE modes, but Blizzard weren’t ready to talk on what that means exactly.
Difficulty will have delineations like now: Normal, Hard, and so on, but the dev team knows Legendary isn’t as hard as the modes can get, and they’re still working on what increasing PvE difficulty will look like.
New PvP Game Mode
A new map type called Push will be arriving with the launch of Overwatch 2 and will be in Overwatch as well.
Push has players from both teams trying to escort a payload from the center of the map to a goal marker. Players cannot move the payload themselves, so teams need to control a robot that slowly pushes the payload along a set path. If the robot is contested, it will not move. While pushing the payload, the robot is pretty slow.
Blue team gets the robot to push the payload towards the red spawn doors, and red team does the same towards the blue spawn doors. The first team to do so wins.
Should neither team reach the goal, the game keeps track of how far from the original starting point the payload has moved at the top of the screen. The team whose payload has made it the furthest from center wins.
There is only one robot shared between the two teams, so if the red team gains control of the robot just as blue team is about to win, they have to escort the robot all the way back to their payload before it can move again. While the robot moves fairly quickly when not pushing a payload, it means more points of contention when both payloads have progressed far.
Push maps are more open than traditional maps, and flankers tend to thrive on them over heroes used in bunker comps. At least for now anyway, but who knows what players will come up with.
This mode will likely not be in OWL Season 3, but it will eventually come to the Overwatch League. Since this map is symmetrical, it’s being viewed as a new tiebreaker so teams don’t always have to always do a Control map.
A New Look
The new game engine mentioned above allowed the dev team to improve visuals as well, from how heroes look to the UI.
All heroes are getting new appearances, most commonly with new looks to their current armor. Some others do have a different look as well, like Mercy who has a short haircut, and Bastion who wears a ballcap to signify their now working with Torbjorn. These changes are small, but longtime fans will likely notice them right away.
The new looks both come from the dev team wanting to make use of their new game engine, but also use them as a way to show how the heroes have changed over time. Batman was an example, like how much he has changed in appearance over the years.
The user interface is getting upgrades, too, putting things deemed less important to the sides, and important info in front of the player. An example with Mercy was how a character portrait appears on her UI near the middle of the screen to show who she is healing or boosting, not just text.
- There is no release date for Overwatch 2.
- There will be at least one more hero released before Overwatch 2 comes out.
- Sojourn, along with a number of other heroes, will release with the game. Sojourn is the center of the Overwatch 2 story.
- Everything a player has earned in Overwatch 1 will transfer to Overwatch 2.
- No specifics were given, but the dev team knows about their failings with stats. They want to revamp the career profile, and have “a cool idea” for map history, but had no details to share at this time.
- Platform crossplay is something they are exploring.
- While many who had never played a FPS before Overwatch loved the game, the team felt that not having a PvE mode at launch meant they didn’t get as many players interested as they could have.
- Lootboxes are being re-explored, but they were not ready to talk about what that means yet. Gave the impression that they are still in early stages of that planning.
- There is a plan to make one hero play completely different to how they play in PvP, but they would not say as to avoid spoilers.
Changes Made to Original Article
- Clarified the What it Is paragraph.
- Added more detail explaining the new Push PvP Mode.