Overwatch has been loved by its loyal fanbase since 2016 and, with the news of Overwatch 2 being developed, the sequel has been highly anticipated by avid fans of the game. With a new game just around the corner, we’re bound to see updated graphics, animations and sounds, but there are so many brand new and potential features left to explore. So, what can we expect from Overwatch 2 as of right now? 

Release date: 

Overwatch 2 was announced to be developed during BlizzCon in 2019, almost 3 years ago now. Blizzard has recently made a post about the further delay of the game, stating that it will ‘benefit from more development time’. Overwatch 2, as well as Diablo 4, are two of Blizzard’s biggest moneymakers however, under the stress of new management, the Overwatch team have decided that we shouldn’t expect the greatly awaited sequel until, at the very soonest, 2023. Despite what was described as ‘great strides toward completion, there is no official release date. Although Blizzard has stated that they plan on releasing a ‘substantial amount of content across all their games – it has however been made more than clear that there will be no new heroes brought to Overwatch until the release of Overwatch 2, meaning we shouldn’t expect any new characters for at least another year. 

5v5 PvP: 

Team compositions on Overwatch 2 will lose a player due to the introduction of 5v5 PvP as opposed to the original 6v6 – this change removes a tank, meaning that a team in standard modes such as Quick Play Classic and Comp will be made up of one tank, 2 supports and 2 DPS characters. The idea of this is to make the tank role much brawlier, they want to change the mentality that tank players have – “this shift from focusing on the protection of your team to in-your-face battling is anticipated to have impacts to the flow and pacing of the PvP experience” stated Blizzard. It sounds like from this small change alone, Overwatch 2 is going to have a completely different feel to it.  

Role Passives: 

Despite Overwatch 2 being the sequel to Overwatch, we should expect a totally new experience. In fact, roles are going to feel significantly different to what we’re used to with the introduction of role passives. Tanks have a reduced knockback as well as a decreased ultimate charge for those damaging them, overall making them a better fit for brawlier toe-to-toe fights. Those in the damage role will have an increased movement speed and supports will receive health regeneration, like Mercy’s current passive at a slower rate. On the topic of tanks and their new aggressive nature, Reinhardt now has two fire strike charges as well as more control over his charge, Zarya can now bubble herself or her teammates twice in a row and Winston has a long-range alternative fire, which sounds… terrifying.  

Potential Crowd Control Changes: 

The Overwatch team are looking at making the game more enjoyable by reducing crowd control (CC) abilities, Kaplan expressed how frustrating it can be when DPS with crowd control abilities have both the damage potential and power to completely stun you, leading to your inevitable and rapid death. There are talks about reducing crowd control across the board, and other discussions about removing them from DPS characters and instead of leaving the CC to the tanks. Characters such as Brigitte, Mei and Cassidy should be expected to have their CC abilities removed, whilst heroes like Ana is more than likely to keep her sleep dart (this being an essential item in her kit) but only time will tell.  

Hero Reworks:  

From what we can gather so far, Overwatch 2 is going to be a much more aggressive and brawly game, and with the news of the removal of CC it’s inevitable that there will be hero reworks for every character – allowing them to adapt to the new feel of Overwatch 2.   

As of right now, 2 heroes have officially had their reworks released – Bastion and Sombra. Although, there are speculations of hero changes taken from the Overwatch 2 teaser released.   

Bastion’s gun will have no spread but a reduced fire rate to keep the character’s primary fire somewhat balanced; this increases Bastion’s weapon range which Blizzard stated was originally intended for the character in his recon form. Bastion can now be mobile within his sentry form; however, this ability now has a cooldown as well as a time limit to equal out the drastic changes made to him. He also has a reduced movement speed whilst in his sentry form, which allows a team a fair chance to defeat an arguably terrifying enemy Bastion.   

On the subject of abilities, Bastion’s self-repair has been completely scrapped for Overwatch 2 and instead replaced with an alternate fire – a ball that bounces off of walls and sticks itself to enemies (in other words a sticky, and somehow scarier, Moira orb… yikes!). It has been described to do a huge amount of damage and have a large radius.  

Finally, and arguably one of the biggest changes, is Bastion’s ultimate ability rework. Bastion no longer has a tank form. Instead, this form has been replaced by an ultimate, that allows Bastion to call down an artillery attack within 3 areas anywhere within the map, this does however have a time limit.   

As mentioned earlier, Sombra is the second character to officially receive a huge hero rework. Judging by these changes being introduced in Overwatch 2, Sombra’s pick rate will be much greater as she is looking to do a huge amount of DPS, as well as play a massive part in any team composition. These changes Blizzard has expressed hopes to ‘dramatically change the way she’s played’.   

To line up with general character changes such as the removal of CC for any character who isn’t a tank, Sombra’s abilities have been replaced with abilities more fit to deal damage. There are huge changes to the hack ability – this cooldown is now very little (3 seconds compared to an original 8) and lasts around 8 seconds; for one-second enemies will lose their abilities and for the remaining 7, Sombra grants her and her team the ability to see through walls, basically a smaller scale Widowmaker ultimate. You can also now hack whilst in stealth mode, although you will briefly be revealed to the enemy.   

Sombra’s ultimate ability has been tweaked so that instead of removing shields after an EMP, it will deplete a whopping 40% of the enemies in its radius’ health, making it devastating when paired with an ultimate like Zarya’s gravitational surge. On top of that, Sombra’s new passive is to do an increased 50% damage to hacked enemies – both changes done to give Sombra ‘more finishing potential’ according to the Overwatch team.   

Character Design Changes:  

Lucio has arguably the most noticeable character design change released so far, although only 15 of the 32 have been released as of now. Lucio’s hair has been made to look a lot more realistic and is a lot sleeker in appearance, it’s a lot less cartoon-like and now features green hair along with his natural hair colour. The heavy amounts of accessories have been replaced with a simple headset which I feel fits the character a lot better, especially since his story revolves around the fact that Lucio is a renowned DJ. His outfit seems to incorporate a lot more armour, ready for the aggressive battles during Overwatch 2. Smaller changes include a thicker rollerblade and slightly brighter greens used within his costume.   

The next hero to receive a character design change is support character Mercy, her outfit is still relatively like her last. She seems to have ditched the ponytail for a classic bob as well as a smaller halo. The darker colours within her last costume have been replaced with brighter yellows, as well as her wings and boots being a more metallic material.  

Reinhardt has also received some pretty drastic character changes, removing his signature helmet and revealing his long white hair and beard. His armour seems a lot bulkier, again an indication of a brawlier team-fighting game in Overwatch 2, as well as some smaller changes involving the colour scheme, switching out his red detailing to a brighter yellow.   

There’s very little to comment on regarding Winston’s new design, his fur around his head has been shaped to fit his face shape a lot better and looks a little darker and straighter. Something worth noting is his logo change on his right arm, his original design features a logo from which we can only assume is from his time at Horizon at the Space Centre in which he was experimented on; this logo is now the Overwatch logo which, whilst a small change, I feel has great significance.   

Tracer is yet another hero who has undergone character design changes, whilst her changes are small there are so many that it really changes her overall look. The most notable change is the armour on her forearms, this is a lot less bulky which I feel looks a lot better. Her jacket is a more metallic looking colour as opposed to the brown leather jacket in her Overwatch look, and the chest plate looks as though it supplies her with a lot more protection than the last, this is evident in how much thicker this specific area looks. The general colour scheme features a lot more orange rather than the initial yellow, and her shoes have significantly changed in appearance looking a lot less futuristic and more like practical trainers.   

Genji also has a drastic design change… starting with the fact he’s finally wearing clothes! Genji is designed to wear what looks like a tracksuit and, from the slightly bulkier looking body, looks as though he is wearing a lot more armour underneath his clothes.   

There’s very little to comment on Mei’s character design – her hair seems to shape around her face a lot better, and her outfit generally seems to cut down a lot of the fur featured in her original design. Her costume does seem to look a lot lighter; this might be because Mei is no longer in Antarctica anymore and instead is heading to warmer locations in Overwatch 2 such as Rio.  

Widowmaker’s new design generally features a lot of darker colours such as black and dark purples, this might be to highlight her relations to Talon a lot more in Overwatch 2. The gun design has changed significantly, it looks a lot sharper and once again involves these darker colours within the new colour scheme. Like Mercy, she has also seemed to have ditched the ponytail, replacing it with a French plait as well as a notable change to her headgear, this being placed around her forehead area rather than her whole head with a metallic colour to match her gun.   

Reaper, like Tracer, has a lot of smaller changes that make his design change huge. The appearance of his mask has changed greatly, the shape is completely different, and the colour is whiter than its original beige colour. His guns are a lot thicker and (like Widowmaker’s) have an almost sharp shape at the top – this could potentially be something we see for all Talon weapons. His upper body seems to feature a lot more armour, like most Overwatch 2 character design changes we’ve seen so far, and the armour on his legs have been covered with a fabric material, like Genji. His cape is a lot wider as well as longer and seems to be a darker shade of black.   

Pharah’s changes are very minimal but significant. The biggest change is her darker skin colour, this making her look more suited to her Egyptian roots. Her armour has also been made to be a lot stronger; the blue and gold in her design have been darkened and white armour plates added to her overall look.  

Cassidy’s costume has been replaced solely with armour, still fitting the theme of his cowboy look. The outfit that the new design features is almost unrecognisable, looking a lot more futuristic and in theme with Overwatch as a whole. Both his gun and hat are darker, and his gun looks as though it has undergone some rework also – although, this is hard to determine from what the Overwatch 2 website offers alone.  

Torbjorn has a new biker look, his beard looks a lot longer and adds to this almost rough new look; the belt buckle further highlights this biker feel to Overwatch 2 Torbjorn. Generally speaking, the design looks a lot cleaner and it’s evident that Overwatch 2’s graphics will be a lot better from the character design alone. Even older characters look new and fresh.  

The most recognizable thing about Baptiste’s new look is his new haircut, he is certainly embracing his afro and has grown out his hair a lot since his original design. Not much has changed about Baptiste other than that, however; his colour scheme has changed from teal and orange to teal and white – which definitely looks cleaner.  

Story Modes: 

The biggest, most exciting change coming to Overwatch 2 is its new PvE mode. Similar to the yearly events we get during anniversary and archives, we will receive a full-length story campaign mode which is set all over the world. This mode is said to allow the player to “team up as different sets of heroes and fight to defend the world from the omnic forces of Null Sector, uncover the motives behind the robotic armies attacks, and come face-to-face with rising new threats around the globe”, according to Blizzard. 

Story missions also have lootable items such as a shield generator that looks similar to Winston’s portable shield projector, a HP generator that, again, looks similar to Soldier 76’s and a corrosive grenade. These should be accessible to any hero but do not carry on to the next mission. 

Hero missions will also be available to the player, these are described to be highly replayable as a result of the skill tree system the Overwatch team have implemented. Through these missions, you can upgrade heroes and unlock customisation items/options. 

Very little has been announced regarding hero skill trees, however, Jeff Kaplan has discussed some of the crazy abilities you could play around with during these missions, that are too powerful for PvP modes – one example being Junkrat’s dual-wielded grenade launchers. Heroes will have 3 different skill tree options, one skill tree teased was Soldier 76’s which granted him an ability by the name “snowplough” which allows Soldier to push enemies back in waves… sounds interesting. These powerful skills, however, will not be available in PvP modes. 

New Enemies for PvE Modes: 

The Storm Rising cutscene teased and allowed players to speculate whether we will have to face Talon as well as the omnics. Is it possible we have to come face to face with heroes like Doomfist and Reaper during these missions? This is just a theory, and there is still very little on Overwatch 2’s campaign modes and what they entail. 

Whilst facing against Talon isn’t candid, we know that we should expect past enemies from the Overwatch Archive event as well as new, more dangerous foes. Omnics from these events we might expect include OR-14 (the omnics in which share the same abilities and model as hero Orisa), B73 (the robots who act and look the same as hero Bastion), Detonators (the large, floating, explosive bombs), Eradicators (which hold up a shield similar to Brigitte and wield a shoulder cannon), Talon Troopers (basic enemies which wield assault rifles and have a similar movement style to McCree), Talon Assassins, Talon Snipers (which do heavy amounts of damage with their sniper like Widowmaker) and many more. 

The Overwatch team have teased the models and abilities for the new enemies we will have to face in PvE mode; these are said to be much stronger than enemies in previous missions which will prove a challenge to the players. 

Grunts are the basic enemy type within Overwatch 2 which seem to function similarly to the Nulltroopers from the Archive event. These enemies fire assault rifles out of their arms and will be seen beside larger threat enemies throughout the world. There are elite versions of this model that shoot hard to dodge bullets in a burst fire pattern which can do a lot of damage to the player – the elite versions of grunts will charge at players when their health gets low, so it is vital that player’s finish them off before they are pinned. 

Breachers are enemies that will walk towards an objective carrying a huge bomb on their back. Once it gets to the objective, the breacher will begin to transform – this will be alerted to the player with a loud and rapid beeping sound; if it isn’t taken out in time, the bomb will explode and do devastating damage to the objective. 

Pullers are one of the most unique enemy types to come to the Overwatch universe, announced at BlizzConline. Players will be warned once a puller spawns through the terrifying noise it makes on its arrival. The elite version of the puller throws orbs at the player, its dire to focus this enemy as if she isn’t killed in time her hair reveals claws that grab the player and kill them instantly. 

New Heroes: 

Blizzard seems to be keeping any news on potential new heroes top-secret apart from the teaser videos regarding a character who was first brought to our attention during the Storm Rising event of 2019, Sojourn.  

Canadian hero Sojourn worked as Overwatch captain during its golden years and stayed with them until it’s eventual demise. It is said that she received cybernetic upgrades at some point. Sojourn had a history of leading the Overwatch team into their most successful battles, including a battle in which they were heavily outnumbered. After Overwatch’s disbandment, she fled to Canada, but a desperate Winston called her and a few other members back to which she eventually re-joined the team at some point after the Nullsector attack in Paris.  

In terms of Overwatch 2, however, what we know about Sojourn is reasonably sparse. She is a DPS character with 200 HP and wields a railgun. Whilst there is no definitive information on her ultimate or abilities, we should expect them to maximise her damage potential.  

New Mode – Push: 

Push mode pretty much involves two very aggressive teams fighting to push an enthusiastic (and incredibly cheerful) robot over to their territory… essentially an angry game of tug of war. The aim is to escort the robot that pushes a block either toward you or the enemy team – the further the block moves towards your territory, the more points you are rewarded. If you manage to push the block all the way to the end an instant victory occurs. When the block reaches certain checkpoints, teams will have different spawn points.  

New Maps: 

With the release of new heroes, new modes and multiple role changes we have to expect the arrival of new map locations, very exciting! Some map locations announced so far include New York City, Toronto, Rome, Rio De Janeiro, Gothenburg, Monte Carlo, and India.  

New York City and Rio have been confirmed to be hybrid maps similar to Numbani and, a personal favourite of mine, King’s Row.  These maps are very assault focused and require the team to capture an objective before escorting a payload.  

Toronto and Rome are home to the new push mode although, we should be open to secondary uses for the map in the future. We are yet to receive information about other modes for each of the other locations, let’s just hope they remove two capture points for my competitive SR’s sake! 

It sounds like Overwatch 2 is going to be a fun addition to the franchise, bringing us heaps of exciting new content. I can’t wait to finally play it… if Blizzard ever meets their deadlines.

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