Overwatch 2 BlizzConline Recap
BlizzConline is here and we’ve finally got some new details on Overwatch 2. First off, they really hammered down the notion that this isn’t just a DLC upgrade, it’s a full on sequel. It didn’t quite feel that way at BlizzCon in 2019, but now it absolutely does. Game Director Jeff Kaplan told IGN that from this point forward, they would be more communicative about Overwatch 2. That does not necessarily mean monthly updates, but will mean more than we got in 2020.
Release date: “When it’s ready.” The Blizzard mantra. We gained no new specific information about when we’ll be able to play Overwatch 2. Jeff doubts they would be able to “pull an Apex” and just drop the game one day. They have not determined if there will or will not be an open beta yet, it’s too far down the road for them to know.
Removal of 2CP (Assault) Mode
What you’ve been hearing is true. So far anyway. During the Behind the Scenes panel, Jeff Kaplan said, “We’re of the mindset that maybe 2cp doesn’t exist in Overwatch 2 and maybe there’s a cool new game mode that replaces it.” (source) That statement didn’t quite confirm it, but sure made it sound that way.
Later, Slasher reported that Jeff confirmed 2cp will not be in competitive Overwatch. Note that wording. It will not be in competitive. I can imagine a world where the Assault maps stick around in Quick Play only just as they are now.
2cp not returning could also explain why Paris and Horizon Lunar Colony have yet to receive their reworks. It could be that if the reworks are still on the “to do” list, they’re being saved for Overwatch 2.
As for the “cool new game mode” that will replace it, Jeff could either have meant the new Push mode we know about, or something completely different yet to be revealed.
We got a tiny bit of new information on Sojourn. She will be a damage hero and have a railgun as her main weapon. There were a few seconds of her gameplay and cutscenes interspersed sporadically throughout the presentation.
The development team is experimenting with new passive effects that apply to all heroes of a certain role. As with everything in this post, these are subject to change.
- Tank - All tanks get some knockback reduction, similar to or the same as Reinhardt, and enemies gain less ultimate charge attacking them.
- Damage - All damage dealers have a small movement speed increase.
- Support - All support heroes regenerate health slowly after being out of combat for a moment, similar or the same as Mercy.
There was talk about trying to make the tank role more “brawly” instead of just “person that holds the shield.” One such example given was potential changes for Reinhardt where he has two uses of Firestrike and he can cancel his Charge whenever he wants instead of the current form where you hope and pray you don’t miss your target and wind up deep behind enemy lines. They’re also going to potentially give him more control of his Charge while moving.
New and Updated Maps
We saw footage of some maps we heard about at BlizzCon previously and a few new map locations. Torbjorn’s foundry looks amazing, with shelves and benches all at his height, with vats of molten metal dripping in various areas.
The three new maps we saw footage of are:
- New York City
There was no named place in India yet that I caught. As for the map types, based purely on guessing based on the footage we saw, I believe New York City to be a Push map based on some thinner streets and barrier placements, while I think Rome to be Escort or Hybrid based on the roadway pathing. Again, purely speculation. For India, the footage was from the PvE we saw, but also so far PvE maps have all been based on competitive game locations so who knows? India was said to be one of the game’s largest maps so far.
For the Hero Missions mode (PvE), a number of maps are getting new areas added. A few examples provided were new payload routes for Numbani, and entire back alleys for Kings Row.
New ways to improve the personal experience of playing Overwatch are also being looked at.
Sound design around the guns was one of the most prominent ways this was shown. Redoing the audio of individual guns was one highlight, making their sounds indicate more to you about their current state, like how little ammo you have left. Guns already do this, but they want to make it more obvious.
Maps will also be designed so that guns sound different depending on where they are fired: open air, urban areas, tunnels, warehouses, and so on.
Visually, more screen shake is going to be present for various guns. “More screen shake” sounds dramatic, but the footage shows small ways in which the camera moves to make the “feel” more effective.
We already knew about this PvE mode and that it will allow you to level up heroes and play around with talent trees. What’s new is that we found out these have been expanded greatly from what we saw in 2019.
Blizzard was unhappy with how the fights in that demo back in 2019 felt. I can totally agree with that. While neat and new to see, it was more of the same with what we currently see in the Archives events. The maps were fun in their own way because they were different, but not exactly engaging after a few attempts.
Existing omnics, and a plethora of entirely new omnics, are being created or improved with new abilities and new AI. One such example was a very feminine looking omnic who can pull you in with a beam, and then hold you down with her “hair.”
There’s said to be a large variety of mission types over “hundreds of missions” that don’t involve just killing robots and one involves going out to the map and search for things, bringing them back to a central location. The trick here being how much you want to risk going to search alone or with your teammates due to how dangerous omnics are in various locations.
Every map will have different time of day variants and some will have different weather which could give some heroes benefits over others.
New Hero Looks
We finally got a look at new character models for a few more heroes: McCree, Pharah, Reaper, and Widowmaker. With the new looks, the new tech behind their design was described, improving cloth physics and allowing heroes to be more expressive.
The PvE content will have a campaign mode, allowing the team to expand the much beloved lore of Overwatch further in-game instead of only in out of game media. It was said that who you bring on missions could mean different voice lines or cut scenes for some locations, similar to what we sometimes hear before maps already. Some of the story missions do require a specific set of heroes, so you won’t always be able to have Widowmaker and Tracer working together.
There will be some edge cases where some heroes appear very little to not at all in the story mode. Heroes like Wrecking Ball need some actual lore besides, “He was also on the Moon with Winston and later went to Australia,” to make that work. Who knows?!
Right now the story mode is only played with others, but they are looking to see if they can make the AI good enough where you could go solo if you want.