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Overwatch 2 explained: New heroes, seasons, and no loot boxes

Lots to be excited for... and a little to be worried about.

Overwatch 2 was detailed by Activision Blizzard, giving players an idea of what to expect when the shooter moves to a 5v5, free-to-play model from 5 October here in Australia.

We’re happy to explain it to you with all the details below.

Free-to-play and without loot boxes

“Making Overwatch 2 free-to play is a natural step forward for our game and our players,” Blizzard said in a press release. “Free-to-play removes the barrier to entry, allowing anyone, anywhere can jump into the game, group up with friends, or find people to play with online.”

Overwatch 2 will also offer up cross-progression, meaning players will be able to access their accounts and unlocked content accross all available platforms. A tool will also be available to  current Overwatch players to properly pass through anything that can be brought into the new iteration of the shooter.

Finally, Overwatch 2 won’t have any in-game loot boxes, but will offer up players progression through a Battle Pass. At a pre-briefing, Blizzard was largely quiet on how the new scheme will work — even to the point of whether or not Battle Passes could be purchased with earned in-game currencies. The deve team also chose to decline to detail how cosmetics like the weapon charms shown below could be monetised.

Generally on some of these business topics, what we’re planning to do is to go back to our players between now and October and really dive into all of those details,” Overwatch Commercial Leader, Jon Spector, said in a pre-briefing. 

“The modernised live service will give our players the power to shape their own experiences,” Blizzard said in a press release, in relation to the removal of loot boxes.

“Players can acquire the items they want directly through the Battle Pass and an all-new and consistently updated in-game shop. Our team will create and deliver seasonal content every nine weeks to ensure there’s always something fresh and exciting waiting for everyone.”

Nine-week seasons will help keep the meta fresh

Overwatch 2 will have nine-week seasons in an effort to keep the game and its meta as fresh as possible. Season 1 kicks off at launch and will introduce both Sojourn and the Junker Queen (shown below) alongside an unannounced support hero. It will focus on PvP play, complete with reworked heroes including Orisa and Doomfist and a new mode in Push.

“We’re also releasing a reimagined competitive experience that was created to give players more tools to improve gameplay and feel a sense of progression in competitive play,” Blizzard said of the new tool. “Players will have more of an impact on individual matches with the shift to 5v5, and there will be additional systems in place to help you discern your contributions per match. More details on the competitive overhaul will be shared soon!”

Season 2 follows with yet another new hero (this time, a tank), a new map, and new skins. One of those skins will be of the Mythic variety, a new tier above Legendary. You can see concept art from the first Mythic skin — one for Genji — below.

As you can see in the concept art, the thing that is said to elevate the Mythic skins from the rest is the ability to change colour options so your skin is unique compared to another player.

“As we move into 2023, we‘ll move the story of Overwatch forward with the release of our new PvE gameplay which will release seasonably beginning in next year, along with more new heroes, maps, and game modes,” Blizzard continued.

Following the first two seasons, Blizzard said that new heroes would be released every other season, so theoretically one every 18 weeks.

Overwatch 2 goes free-to-play on Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5 and Switch on 5 October 2022 here in Australia. Stay tuned with more from the shooter’s dev team.

Overwatch 2

5 October 2022
PC PS4 PS5 Switch Xbox One Xbox Series S & X

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Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist nearing twenty (TWENTY!?!) years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.