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Overwatch 2: What to Expect and How it Could Change the Gaming Industry

Courtesy of Blizzard
Courtesy of Blizzard

After all the rumors, leaks, and speculation we finally know what to expect with Overwatch 2 thanks to its official announcement at BlizzCon 2019. I think it’s pretty safe to assume no one will be disappointed by what the Overwatch team has planned for their highly anticipated sequel. Let’s dive into what you can expect out of Overwatch 2!

What’s New?

The better question would be, “what isn’t new?” Even before all of the leaks that came out in the lead-up to BlizzCon this year, it was highly speculated that a sequel to Blizzard’s first ever FPS wouldn’t be a huge departure from the first, but it’s amazing how accurate that turned out to be. Overwatch 1 and 2 are going to be almost the exact same game. But if that’s the case, then why even make a new game?

The main reason is Overwatch 2 is going to have a brand new and highly replayable PvE section that doesn’t exist in the first game—it has been said to be comparable to Left 4 Dead. Now that doesn’t mean it’s going to be an Overwatch style version of the classic Valve game; it is still going to be its own unique experience. For anyone who has or is still playing Overwatch, you will recognize that this new PvE game mode is going to be exactly like the game modes that are added each year for the Archives Event.

Each scenario will team up four players to take on waves of AI controlled Omnics, while trying to reach a goal. There will be a story mode in which you have to choose one of the four heroes available for that mission, and there will also be a separate mode that lets you choose from a wider pool of Overwatch heroes. The details of that mode are still mostly unknown, but it will be a little more challenging and highly replayable.

One of the aspects that makes this mode so replayable is the fact that each hero is upgradable. One of the things you can get from the upgrades are new talents that you can equip. Some notable examples are:

  • Adaptive Reload – Tracer’s Pulse Pistols will reload every time you use an ability
  • Sojiro’s Guidance – Any arrow that hits an enemy that was detected by Hanzo’s Sonic Arrow will also seek out and hit other detected enemies
  • Snowball Effect – After using Mei’s Cryo Freeze, you can roll around, knocking down enemies that cross your path

These are obviously just a few of the many talents that will be available for you to unlock. One important thing to note is all of these talents are only usable in PvE modes. They will not affect standard PvP at all.

Courtesy of Blizzard

Speaking of PvP though, what will be changing for the part of Overwatch that we all know and love? The simple answer: not much. Most changes are going to be cosmetic such as an improved HUD and fresh, new looks for all the characters that are currently in the first game. Other than that, there really aren’t many new changes, but there will be a lot of new additions.

One of the most notable additions will be the game mode “Push.” It will work like tug of war where both teams are trying to push a blockade to the other’s base. Each team will have their own blockade that they are trying to push, but they aren’t the ones doing the pushing. That will be done by a giant robot that acts like the payload from one of the game modes that already exists in the game. He will follow whichever team is controlling him at the time, but he will be at a standstill whenever both teams are around him. It seems like an interesting concept that will definitely change up the core gameplay and meta.

Blizzard has also said that they will be adding a multitude of new maps, not only for the new game mode, but for the existing game modes as well. Many players who are currently playing the game hope this means there will be a map voting option added, because they feel like there are already too many maps in the game. This hasn’t been confirmed by any of the developers yet, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if it did get added.

The most exciting new thing to be announced, however, is that there will be multiple new heroes added upon the game’s launch. It is unclear how many that number is going to be, but the Overwatch Team did confirm that Sojourn will be one of those new heroes. Anybody that has been keeping up with the game will know she used to be a part of Overwatch back in its heyday; so, she’s been on everybody’s radar as a possible new hero.

Additionally, players of the original Overwatch will be happy to know all skins they have worked hard to earn, or paid for, will be coming with them to the new game. It is assumed stats and progress will be transferable as well, but there is no confirmation on this, yet.

What Does This Mean for Players Who Aren’t Ready to Leave Overwatch 1 Yet?

This is probably the craziest part of the announcement of Overwatch 2. Unless you want to play the new PvE game mode, you don’t have to leave the original at all. All new skins, maps, events, and heroes will be added to both games. It is still unclear if aspects such as the new HUD and character styles are going to be in both versions of the game, but that’s a small price to pay if you don’t feel the estimated $60 price tag will be worth the added PvE content.

Many people are wondering why this wasn’t made to be an expansion pack for the original game, considering not much will be changed. Some people think it’s because Blizzard is trying to milk consumers for another estimated $60. Others think it’s more of a marketing move to produce better sales numbers by releasing a “New” game. I think it was done to shake up the gaming industry. Even if that wasn’t their intention, it could still be an example for other game developers to piggyback on with their own franchises in the future.

Overwatch 2 gameplay screenshot courtesty of Blizzard.

So How Could Overwatch 2 Reshape the Future of Gaming?

Now, obviously Overwatch is a special case as they managed to release the exact same game while keeping people hyped about it. Call of Duty releases different games every year, but they get criticized for the games being too similar. The same can be said for most sports games. I’m not trying to say that the same exact game should be re-released as a new game with extra features, but there are things that Blizzard will be doing for Overwatch 2 that should be taken into consideration and exercised by other companies.

The biggest feature that new games should implement would be letting you keep in-game items that you worked really hard for. Whether they were obtained through real-world currency or hours of grinding, being able to take in-game items with you to future installments of your favorite franchise would be huge.

Imagine if you could use your favorite skin for Outrider from Black Ops 3 in Black Ops 4, or if your Ultimate Team in FIFA 2019 could be used in FIFA 2020 as well. A concept like that would make it a lot easier for gamers to switch to the newest version of a game that they have already invested so much time or money in. If the game allows for it, they could even transfer maps, characters, weapons, etc.

Admittedly, the chances of this happening are quite low, since having to rebuy these things are how many companies make a lot of their money, but it would be a great day for gamers if more companies took Blizzard’s approach. Gamers shouldn’t be punished for upgrading to the next game in the franchise. They should be rewarded for being loyal fans who have been there since the beginning.

Personally, I haven’t heard a single person say anything negative about the Overwatch 2 announcement. If Blizzard decided to take the standard approach to sequels, players’ skins wouldn’t be transferable, new content wouldn’t be added to both versions of the game, and anyone who either couldn’t afford or didn’t want to buy the new game would be stuck with the dying old one.

Because of the choices made by Blizzard, they avoided all the potential criticism concerning how unfair this would have been to gamers who are already playing the original. I should also mention, there are a bunch of people who just bought the game for the Switch. Could you imagine if you bought a game that wasn’t available to you until now, just to find out a month later that the sequel is already in development? That would have made for a lot of unhappy customers.

I must give Blizzard a congratulatory slap on the back for being so smart with the announcement, and eventual release to their sequel to a highly praised game. They are showing the gaming industry that it is possible to make a profitable game without ripping off their consumers. I can only hope that more companies will learn from this and follow suit, because this could be the type of change that the gaming industry desperately needs.

Written by Michael Yannone

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