Overwatch 2 was an exciting prospect, promising an overhaul that could revitalize Blizzard’s team-based first-person shooter, but fans have ended up with a game focused more on money than on delivering on its potential. Despite regular updates since its launch in October 2022, it’s become increasingly clear that Overwatch 2 isn’t going to be all that was hoped for. An active player base still finds plenty to enjoy in Overwatch 2, but many fans of the original game and new players alike have good reason to be disappointed in the current state of the shooter.
Originally announced at Blizzcon in 2019, Overwatch 2 was initially billed as a sequel to Overwatch that would share its multiplayer services. The new elements of the game would focus on pitting players against AI enemies in PvE content instead of the traditional PvP, exploring new character abilities and diving deeper into the world and story that serve as background elements of the standard multiplayer. Over time, however, it became clear that plans for the title’s launch were shifting away from its initial presentation, with Overwatch 2 PvP launching ahead of the planned PvE and acting as a full replacement for the original game.
The Cancelation Of Overwatch 2 PvE Is A Big Letdown
A Twitch stream from members of the Overwatch 2 development team on the official PlayOverwatch account broke the news that plans for the Overwatch 2 PvE are being overhauled, putting an official end to the original vision for the game. The cancelation of the PvE Hero mode was justified by the difficulty of development and the need to focus on the live game, which will be receiving the majority of the development resources going forward. New story missions will appear in the future of Overwatch 2, bringing some consolation for fans looking forward to the PvE Hero mode, but the extensive experience teased with the game’s announcement won’t be appearing.
Among the cut features planned for the Hero mode was the inclusion of Talents, unique abilities for each character that would expand on their established skills. Each hero’s Talents would be divided among three trees, with players able to select which abilities to unlock as they leveled up. Blizzard has confirmed that Talents will no longer be appearing in any PvE content for Overwatch 2, disappointing fans looking forward to gaining new skills for their favorite heroes. The missions that will be coming are still set to deliver some kind of story for the game, but pairing a narrative with a sophisticated progression system doesn’t seem to be happening.
Overwatch 2 Features Aggressive Monetization
With the cancelation of Overwatch 2 PvE, it’s become clear that the single biggest difference between Overwatch 2 and its predecessor lies in the game’s approach to monetization. Although the title is now free-to-play, removing the price of entry that the first Overwatch featured, having comparable access to heroes and cosmetics in Overwatch 2 requires significantly more financial investment. The first game centered its monetization around loot boxes, which contained skins, emotes, currency, and more. This system, which delivered loot boxes as free rewards but also allowed players to buy them, was no stranger to criticism, but Overwatch 2‘s alternative to loot boxes is worse.
Most cosmetics in Overwatch 2 are largely unavailable to players unwilling to purchase a battle pass or spend money on the shop, and engaging in either of those alternatives can quickly stack up to a much higher investment than purchasing the first game. The least agreeable change comes in the new approach to heroes, which can only be unlocked for free by completing various challenges and, in the case of new additions, grinding deep into the free battle pass. In a game centered around swapping heroes and countering the enemy team’s picks, this puts players unwilling to spend time or money on expanding their roster at a disadvantage.
Fans No Longer Have Access To The Original Overwatch
If players who had been looking forward to the planned PvE Hero mode still had the original Overwatch to enjoy, the disappointment caused by the shift in plans might not be as severe. It’s not always going to be possible for developers to deliver on every idea that comes to the table, and this approach to PvE required a bigger scope than may have been anticipated. Since Overwatch 2 replaced the first game, however, the lack of its main attraction puts the focus on the aspects of it that players might enjoy less than the original.
Outside of monetization, the other big change that Overwatch 2 brought was transitioning from 6v6 matchups to 5v5. For many players, this is an upgrade, putting a focus on more intense matchups and counteracting some frustrating elements of the first game like shooting through multiple enemy shields. Players who enjoy more methodical gameplay or tanks who loved the synergy between a Reinhardt and a Zarya, however, are out of luck. The re-balancing of heroes for 5v5 also shifted some characters in new directions, and although some Overwatch 2 hero reworks are good, fans who miss the old approach simply don’t have a way to access it anymore.
Overwatch 2 Is Better For Profits Than For Players
Overwatch 2 can still be a fun experience, delivering a unique mix of strategy and shooting that feels unlike other team-based FPS games on the market. At this point, however, too many decisions made within the game seem to benefit its financial prospects more than the player base. Playing through a Hero mode to level up characters in PvE would have offered a gratifying sense of progression, while grinding through battle passes to receive any sort of rewards from the game can ultimately make it feel like a chore.
As the follow-up to a widely beloved FPS, Overwatch 2 could have been something truly special. The original plans for the game positioned it as a new experience that could expand fan’s experience with the world of Overwatch, with players interested in PvP and PvE alike finding something to enjoy in the progression of the title. In the end, though, Overwatch 2 feels like more of a glorified update than a true sequel. Without the planned PvE Hero mode to justify its existence, Overwatch 2‘s injection of further monetization into Overwatch becomes a shadow that the game can’t escape.
Source: PlayOverwatch/Twitch, PlayOverwatch/Twitter