Blizzcon is starting off hot with the reveal of Overwatch 2, the upcoming PvE-focused sequel to Overwatch. While there are core additions familiar to current players (PvP maps, new heroes, etc), the PvE game mode is the biggest question mark of them all. So as Blizzcon continues, here is what you can probably expect from the newest iteration of Overwatch.
These are the bread and butter of Overwatch 2. In the universe of the game, Overwatch is an organization of heroes that have reassembled after a long time on hiatus. The return of these heroes then sets up the missions that feature these heroes. From the demo shown at Blizzcon, there are some key features on display.
First, each story mission will feature four playable heroes after a short cinematic intro. Think of the PvE missions seen in Overwatch, like Uprising and Retribution. Lucio, Tracer, Reinhardt, and Mei are the only ones we have seen so far, but we can expect more combinations from the rest of the cast.
The missions themselves will feature varying objectives that the four-player squad needs to complete. Each area has a checkpoint and a chest of items that players can use throughout the mission. Difficulty options are unknown as of now, but I can imagine they will return to provide harder experiences.
Hero progression is a pretty simple feature to grasp. When you first start a story mission, you are able to choose between two talents that affect your overall skills. Tracer, as seen above, has the choice between reloading your pistols when you use an ability or doing additional damage to enemies you recently shot. Each hero has a similar tree of talents to choose from, letting players create builds for their heroes.
Hero missions are, to quote Blizzard, “highly replayable co-op experience”. According to BusinessWire, players will be able to “level up their favorite heroes and earn powerful customization options that supercharge their abilities in co-op play”. Players will choose to play any one of a plethora of city locations throughout the world: Route 66, Toronto, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Ilios and Busan. The objectives and enemies change with each map, naturally, but you are also able to choose your own hero combinations for hero missions. Hero choice is not limited, as story is not a hard feature of hero missions, so you will be able to play with Sigma, Moira, Genji, and Reaper or any other combo of heroes.
Another small point is that progression with a hero used in hero missions will carry over into said story missions. For example, progress made playing Tracer in hero missions will also be there in story missions. A nice and convenient addition.
Probably one of the most noticeable changes in Overwatch 2 is the rework that the graphics have undergone. The screenshot above from Blizzard’s announcement trailer is just a snippet of it, but the in-game UI has also been significantly updated.
Overall, the UI is much cleaner looking, with sharp, non-obtrusive edges. Every bit of information compacts a bit more to the margins of the screen as well. In addition, there is a new ability located to the left of your usual hero abilities. This is for bonus items that the player collects as they reach checkpoints. Jeff Kaplan noted that the new UI is still early in development, so expect minor changes moving forward.
- Overwatch 2 will feature additional heroes beyond Sojourn, described as “all at once”. No further details on these new heroes.
- Players of Overwatch will be able to experience the same content that Overwatch 2 players will. This includes game modes, new maps, heroes, etc. Progression in Overwatch (achievements, skins, etc) will also carry over into OW2.
Overall, the announcement for Overwatch 2 follows what Jeff Kaplan described as “redefining sequels”. While it looks like a full-on new game, the features it boasts all sound like expansion-level additions. There is little to no split between players of one game and another, and the new content is definitely big enough to warrant interest. I was cautiously optimistic about the idea of having a completely new game specifically for PvE content. But now, I am simply optimistic.
Overwatch has been starving for formidable story content since its inception, and it appears as though Blizzard has listened and delivered.
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