New Overwatch 2 heroes won’t be free

When Overwatch 2 launches on October 4, fans may have to get on the grinding wheel to unlock new heroes. A tweet from Jon Spector, Overwatch’s commercial lead, indicates that the new heroes will be placed behind Battle Pass development, stating that “new Overwatch 2 heroes will be available on the free track of Battle Pass. ”

Spector’s tweet refers to a description of Overwatch 2’s Watchpoint Pack, a bundle of purchasable content that gives buyers all sorts of goodies, including skins, in-game currency, and access to the Season 1 Premium Battle Pass.

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A description posted on the competitive Overwatch subreddit states that Premium Battle Pass users have access to Overwatch 2’s newest hero, Keiko. (In a one-two punch of unintended information leaks, the newest support hero was teased in the first promos for Overwatch 2, but never before his name was accidentally leaked by a streamer, not just here. Details have not been confirmed.)

The description of the Watchpoint Pack was later changed, removing the reference to Kriko and how she could be obtained through the Premium Battle Pass. Even though the punishment is over, Specter’s tweet seems to confirm that the new heroes will indeed be locked behind going on the warpath — but on a free track and not a paid one.

Since the launch of Overwatch in 2016, new heroes have been available for free and instantly. As sequels are wont to do, Overwatch 2 is implementing a number of changes to the game – most notably, switching from a boxed retail model to a free-to-play model. As Spector’s tweet circulated, fans pointed out that advancing heroes out of battle is a standard feature for other free-to-play games like Apex Legends and Valiant.

New Overwatch 2 heroes won't be free
New Overwatch 2 heroes won’t be free

However, fans on the other side of the aisle pointed out that, unlike Apex or Valorant, in Overwatch, players are free to change heroes mid-match and often do so to pick characters that match the opposition’s heroes and composition. compete with As Overwatch is now, new heroes are often significantly more powerful (ie, captured) and therefore dominate at all levels of play, especially at the highest competitive tiers.

It’s a bit like rock, paper, scissors. When support hero Brigitte was added, she was a rock on Tracer’s paper. In the Overwatch League and on the competitive ladder, if your team didn’t field Brigitte, your team had a lower chance of winning. So, not being able to play a new hero because you haven’t unlocked them hurts competitive players quite a bit.

Dante “Dante” Cruz, a player from the Overwatch League team Houston Outlaws, commented on Spector’s tweet, saying that while he believes such a feature is common in free-to-play games, the new Heroes competitive Dominate at higher levels. Overwatch, “You’re at a huge disadvantage if you don’t play them.”

While Cruz and others’ concerns about competitive viability are valid, they represent a fraction of the player base. In quick-play matches, people are going to see an onslaught of Torbjorn, Wrecking Ball, and Symmetra, unconcerned with the troubles of those in the Platinum to Grandmaster ranks.

There has been no official communication from Blizzard confirming or denying how the new heroes will work in Overwatch 2. As Specter’s tweets persist, this seems like at least a soft confirmation that the hero unlock will somehow be tied to Warpath. More information will follow in the lead-up to Overwatch 2’s launch on consoles and PC on October 4th.

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