Many players of Overwatch they felt frustrated (opens in new tab) that the heroes in the sequel won’t be free-for-all like they are in the first game, limiting your ability to switch heroes mid-game. Blizzard’s reasoning for the switch was that most people don’t switch and the game is designed so you don’t have to switch as often. Despite this, a new ability that encourages you to switch heroes suggests that he will remain an important part of the game.
Blizzard detailed (opens in a new tab) a list of balance changes coming Overwatch 2 when it launches as a free game in a few weeks. Many of the changes are in response to feedback and testing from the game’s two closed betas and ongoing professional play in the Overwatch League.
The biggest changes on the list are part of Overwatch 2’s new role passives, that is, the buffs that all heroes receive in all three roles: tank, damage, and support. In the June beta, damage characters – the most popular role in the game – received a passive that allows them to retain up to 30% of their ultimate charge when the player switches between heroes. This helps encourage players to switch to a better hero when the situation calls for it.
Now all roles will have this passive. If Reinhardt isn’t serving you but you’ve stacked 80% of his ult, you can now switch to Roadhog and start at 30% charge. Mercy players can drop the staff and pick up Lucio and not reset his progress, too. In the post, Blizzard said the change was requested by players. “After continued testing, we agree, and are making a change so that the entire roster has access to the hero swap passive at launch,” Blizzard wrote.
The ability encourages players to participate in Overwatch’s hero-swapping metagame, in which heroes have rock-paper-scissors interactions that can be countered on the fly: if one hero is countered by another, you can always switch. on your next respawn.
The fact that Blizzard is giving players more reasons to trade heroes is a bit of a surprise, as last week, while defending their decision (opens in new tab) to lock new heroes behind the freemium battle pass and potentially disrupt this strategy, he said most players just don’t switch. Game director Aaron Keller told PC Gamer in a group interview that “when you look at the data, from how often people switch heroes and how many heroes they usually play at once, most of our players play with a relatively small number of heroes.”
Blizzard’s argument is essentially that it’s not a big deal if players don’t have access to all the heroes, because most are limited to a few core ones anyway.
“Look at how people are really playing the game there, [and] they’re using a couple of heroes for most of how they play,” Blizzard chief business officer and vice president Jon Spector said in the same interview. “And then sometimes they change and add a couple more heroes. So when we go and say, ‘Is it really going to impact the gameplay if someone has 34 out of 35 heroes? When we look at the data, we’re pretty sure that’s not going to be the case.”
Keller explained that the team is “trying to get some of those very hard rock-paper-scissors interactions out of the game” and consolidate those tactical options into individual heroes.
With the new passive, Blizzard seems to be trying to have it all: Hero trading is obviously important enough to encourage with a new hero passive, but it’s also not a big deal for the kind of players who will grind for weeks (or pay $10 per season) for a complete list.
Despite losing its lead hero designer earlier this year, Overwatch 2 plans to release heroes at a rapid pace: one every two nine-week seasons, with a new support hero Kiriko at launch and a new tank at launch. december. Overwatch 2 will be released and will replace the original game on October 4.