Overwatch 2 developers have been hard at work creating the sequel and, as a result, have been relatively quiet since BlizzConline in February. Today, the team held a developer livestream that showed nearly two hours of live gameplay and detailed how player vs. player (PvP) competition will look in the future.
Since it was aired in the middle of the day, many dedicated Overwatch fans may have missed all the fun. We’ve got you covered with the biggest changes and most important highlights from today’s stream.
When Overwatch 2 launches, PvP will look very different. Teams will now be made of five players instead of the standard six currently found in Overwatch. Each team will include two damage dealers, two supports, and one tank. While this update eliminates an entire tank role, heroes will be rebalanced to work around the change.
Tank heroes will have more focus put into their “brawling” ability and less emphasis will be placed on protecting teammates. Other heroes, like damage dealers and supports, will also be balanced around the new five-vs-five format thanks to new role passives and many, many tweaks to abilities.
Passive role abilities
Many heroes in Overwatch already have “passive” abilities that exist at all times in the game and bring uniqueness to their kits. In Overwatch 2, each role will have its own passive ability, many times borrowing from passives already found within the game.
Tank heroes will gain a passive that reduces knockback from heroes like Lúcio which operates like Reinhardt’s Steadfast passive does in the current game. Heroes will also build less ultimate percentage when attacking tanks in comparison to other heroes.
Damage dealers, like Genji and Tracer, will get a mobility passive that makes them faster and more able to take flanks. Speaking of supports, they’ll gain a version of Mercy’s passive ability, which gives self-healing over time. This means heroes like Ana and Baptiste will no longer have to waste abilities or resources healing themselves.
Hero ability changes
During the livestream, several hero abilities were highlighted, showing quality-of-life changes coming to Overwatch 2.
Mei’s Endothermic Blaster, her primary fire, will slow enemies but will no longer freeze them in Overwatch 2. Developers noted that they would be rebalancing or reducing the amount of “crowd control” abilities within the game and this is a big step toward that goal.
Winston, everyone’s favorite scientist, will get a long-range alternate fire mode on his Tesla Cannon. This will allow him to send extra damage toward enemies who are trying to escape his grasp.
While not directly highlighted, other heroes also got ability changes as seen in the live map gameplay. It was teased at BlizzConline, but Reinhardt will have two Fire Strikes as well as a cancel option on his Charge ability. Zarya also now has two charges of her “bubbles” to protect allies or herself, but they share that two-charge limit.
User interface updates
New games normally include some flashy user interface (UI) updates, but Overwatch 2’s changes focus on clearer, more visually pleasing screens for heroes.
The livestream showed that healers have the most extensive updates to their interfaces. Mercy players will now see a portrait of the hero they are healing or boosting prominently shown in the middle of the screen. Zenyatta players will also see the portrait of the hero they have a healing or Discord orb on. Heroes like Pharah will more clearly see the position of the Mercy healing them and where they’re positioned.
Overall, the kill feed has been condensed in the right-hand corner of the screen while texts and alerts are smaller and less intrusive.
New maps and layouts
Toronto was confirmed as a Push map very early in Overwatch 2’s development and was featured at BlizzCon 2019, but this stream was the first time the general public got to see the full map in action. Picturesque Rome, which features stunning sunlight technology and nearly infinite nooks and crannies to hide in, was also confirmed as a Push map today.
Rio de Janeiro, Lúcio’s hometown, is a vibrant and lively Hybrid map. One of the map’s spawns is Lúcio’s home, but players will get to wind through the colorful streets on a peacock Carnival float.
New York City is another Hybrid map that was teased at BlizzConline, but fans finally got a closer look at it today. Players get to destroy Grand Central Station and will notice dozens of nods to city life. Developers noted that both New York City and Rio de Janeiro include lots of options for breaking through chokes and using cover as defense.
The stream’s final featured map was Monte Carlo, the stream’s only Escort offering. The town is full of glamour and glitz and the payload is a speedy F1 car. More importantly, Monte Carlo is an incredibly vertical map, forcing players to operate around steep inclines and lots of balconies and stairs.
While we didn’t get a release date for Overwatch 2, these details should keep fans entertained as development continues.
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