On 10 August 2023, Overwatch 2 launched onto Steam, a first for the franchise and a colossal mistake for Blizzard, who traditionally kept away from the most toxic storefront in PC gaming due to the horrendous reputation of its traditionally vocal and often toxic community.
While there are millions of nice players on Steam, the more toxic elements of the Steam community are so relentless in their opinions that the nice and seasonal players rarely are given the opportunity to make their own, often more reasonable and always less toxic opinions known.
As a result, even good titles, such as Overwatch 2, are relentlessly review-bombed into oblivion by a community that seems to be almost frothing at the mouth for any chance to force their toxic worldviews on everyone else.
While I will be the first to admit Overwatch 2 has some issues that need addressing, it in no way deserves to be one of the lowest-rated games on Steam (91% negative reviews), and the fact the Steam client allows people to review-bomb so easily is something that Valve will need to address in future, with many reviewers stating they were downloading the game purely to leave a negative review.
Steam Controversy aside, Blizzard is not without fault, and the double reversal of cancelling the long-announced PvE mode, only to announce that a smaller PvE mode was coming and that players would have to pay for it, was one of the worst PR moves by Blizzard since “Do You Guys Not Have Phones?”.
Fortunately, the Pve missions are fairly priced and have been very well received by the community; unfortunately, Blizzard confirmed that while they will be making more pve content, it is unlikely to arrive anytime soon, with many believing that PvE content will not return in a meaningful way until May 2024.
At launch, Overwatch 2 had a huge problem with progression, and unlocking a full battlepass while living a normal adult life was difficult, especially when playing other games or having an active social life; fortunately, Blizzard has learned from their mistakes and took player feedback to heart, and while Overwatch 2 is not as progression friendly as Fortnite, it is comparable to recent Call of Duty titles, making Overwatch 2 far less daunting for casual players than it was at launch.
In addition, Blizzard introduced account-wide progression in Season 6, allowing players to retain a sense of progression other than seasonal battle pass progression, which will continue to reset at the start of each season.
Overwatch was known for its extravagant events, and Overwatch 2 continues that legacy by not only rerunning popular legacy events but introducing a series of new and enhanced events throughout the year, many with new skins, cosmetic items, and even entirely new modes, ensuring that dedicated players are rewarded for their loyalty.
Most recently, in July 2023, players were treated to the first Overwatch 2’s version of the summer games event, which saw players scrambling to unlock a slew of rewards, including a free legendary skin for Doomfist, and try their hand at fan favourite limited-time mode Lúcioball, and for the first time, Winston’s Beach Volleyball, a new limited time mode debuting as part of the Summer Games event.
Overwatch 2 offers an astonishing 38 characters, each with unique skills, abilities, personalities, and, in many cases, ethnicities, with over 20 countries represented in the roster.
Refreshingly unlike its closest rival, Paladins, the vast majority of female characters in Overwatch 2 are not overtly sexualised, and even for those that have become sexual icons among the less savoury elements of the Overwatch community, less sexualised skins exist, except Widowmaker, who seems doomed to remain eye candy, with only a handful of non-revealing skins available, despite having more skins than many other characters (Do better Blizzard!).
Widowmakers Overwatch 2 redesign has done away with her plunging neckline, despite still insisting on giving her skin-tight leather trousers and a disturbingly shiny rear end.
One reason Overwatch could survive almost two years without substantial content updates was the availability of user-created modes, ensuring that while the developers were struggling with Covid restrictions and working on Overwatch 2, there was something new all the time for longtime players.
Players being able to create their own fun is a core ingredient of all long-lasting games. It is a huge part of why Fortnite and Overwatch continue to pull in the crowds.
Most recently, gamers worldwide witnessed the power of user-created content when Halo infinities Forge Mode almost singlehandedly saved the struggling shooter and set it on a trajectory for lasting success, which saw players create over 1 million maps while Halo Infinite’s Forge Mode while it was in open beta, and they show no signs of slowing down, with an estimated 2.3 million maps having been created as of August 2023.
With the Activision-Blizard acquisition heading into its final stretch, Overwatch 2 is likely to be made available on Xbox Cloud Gaming, opening up Overwatch to the mobile market for the first time, something which is likely to see the userbase grow substantially, with an estimated 10 million gamers utilising Xbox Cloud Gaming as of May 2022.
India alone has over 430 million mobile gamers. Opening up Overwatch to such a massive market would ensure its dominance of the hero shooter genre for decades to come.
Cheaters are a huge problem in gaming, and honestly, I feel that requiring players to input a phone number to play a free-2-play title is not that big of a deal; however, with millions of gamers unable or unwilling to share their mobile numbers online, Overwatch 2 requiring all players to input a phone number was controversial.
While Blizzard later amended this requirement only to those who registered a Blizzard account after mid-2021, many gamers seem to want their cake (fewer hackers/cheaters) and eat it too (not share their phone number), something which may see them unable to play many upcoming titles, with Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty Warzone 2 both having been confirmed to utilise a similar method of user verification when they launch later this year.
When Overwatch originally launched, the most popular business model was still buy-2-own, with free-2-play games having the stigma of being “failed multiplayer titles.” However, the stellar success of Fortnite Battle Royale (which ironically stemmed from the failed launch of Fortnite Save The World, a buy-to-play title) has changed everything, with the vast majority of live service titles opting for a freemium business model.
While some have decreed Overwatch 2’s requirements of playing around 100 matches to unlock all 32 heroes from the original game for free, I cannot help but feel this is very entitled when you consider that it is only 3.1 games per hero unlock, something which is ridiculously generous when you consider most other hero shooters require players to win dozens of games to unlock a single character.
In addition, new heroes can be unlocked for free by progressing the current seasonal battle pass, which is a bit of a slog; however, free is free.
As much as I hate to say it, the adage applies: “Beggars can’t be choosers.”
While the new heroes are nice, they are not required to have a good time. I mostly play base game characters from 2016 (Mercy, Roadhog, Cassidy, and Bastion) and rarely finish outside the top 3 performing players of any given match, even when pitted against new heroes such as Junker Queen and Sojourn.
Overwatch 2 is a shooter video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment, it was released on 4 October 2022 and it is Free-2-Play.
Overwatch 2 is available on the following platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, XBox One, Xbox Series X|S.
Overwatch 2 remains in active developers, with substantial content updates arriving roughly four times a year, in addition to various seasonal events scattered throughout the year, such as the ever-popular Halloween and Christmas events.
Despite suffering from a year of near-constant player decline, Overwatch 2 is still the largest title in the hero shooter genre by a large margin, and its fortune looks set to drastically improve once Microsoft officially acquires Activsion-Blizzard in the not-too-distant future.
While we do not know how many people play via Battle.net or console, the Steam community for Overwatch 2 peaks at around 55k concurrent players per day.
Overwatch 2 supports:
Overwatch 2 offers the following matchmaking options:
The Overwatch 2 in-game store sells:
The following peripherals are officially supported:
Overwatch 2 is rated PEGI 12+ and contains the following:
Overwatch 2 is every bit as good as Overwatch; however, longtime fans were hoping for more while expecting Activision to fund it “out of the goodness of their heart” instead of monetising the game in a way that is in no way egregious, even if it is very different to what longtime Overwatch players were accustomed to.