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- Overwatch 2
Blizzard has been rather mum about Overwatch 2 and its mysterious release date, even though the first game is just about to celebrate its fifth anniversary. And the little it has shown has been more about the story and PvE modes. The developer finally unveiled more of the PvP mode in a recent livestream. It was full of big and large changes alike so here are all of the new announcements and details from previously revealed features from the stream.
Overwatch 2 PvP is now five-on-five
Overwatch 2 (which will also apply to the first game in due time) will now be a five-on-five game instead of a six-on-six game. Since role queue is still a thing, there will be two healers, two damage dealers, and a tank. Game Director Jeff Kaplan Aaron Goodman talked about some of the changes.
“Overwatch has changed over time,” said Goodman. “We’ve gone from having no hero limits at all before launch — you could pick six Winstons if you wanted to for your team composition — to having a role lock over the course of the game. And we feel like this is the next step on how Overwatch ought to be played.”
“There is a lot going on in an Overwatch map,” he continued. “It is incredibly fast paced and we have always tried to make our combat easy to read and understandable and even with all of the work that we put into that, sometimes it’s just hard to track what 11 other players are doing on the battlefield. Removing two of those simplifies everything and allows players to understand what is happening around them and make better choices.”
The studio members on the stream also talked about other team compositions they tried. This ranged from seven-on-seven to having more DPS overall. But they settled on five-on-five with two damage dealers, two healers, and a tank.
“There are a lot more opportunities to flank,” he stated later in the stream. “But at the same time, when you’re going for a flank, you’re leaving four players not five players. It leaves the ability for individual players to have a larger impact on the game.”
A deeper look at the New York, Rio de Janeiro, Monte Carlo, and Rome maps
This hybrid map was revealed during BlizzConline in February. It is a fairly standard map, but the team played a game on it and showed off some of the environments. It’s even got a couple of coffee cups with the name “Jeph” on it, a cheeky nod to Geoff Goodman and probably even former Blizzard veteran Jeff Kaplan.
The Rio de Janeiro map was also briefly shown at BlizzConline. It’s in a favela with some club scenes, fitting for the optimistic DJ. Those who listen closely can hear frogs ribbiting, a callback to Lucio’s deadmau5-like DJ persona. The art direction even changes slightly in every phase as players escort the payload, which is something Blizzard said it is trying to do with the new maps.
Rome is a Push map, but is C-shaped instead the Toronto map, which is S-shaped. The famous colosseum is there, too, and players will push the objective through it.
Blizzard showed more about the Monte Carlo map. It’s where “the rich go to play” with “a nice story connection.” Each point plays differently, too, as there is a long uphill segment unlike anything else in the game.
Tanks are more offensive
The fewer amount of Tanks mean that they should likely be beefed up and Blizzard is doing such a thing. As shown at BlizzConline, Reinhardt can now shoot up to two fireballs and cancel his more easily steerable charge. Winston can also now shoot a ranged electrical blast. This gives the scientist more of a range and lets him get targets that are just getting away from his relatively short attack radius.
Zarya’s bubbles also have two charges, which Blizzard tested in the silly April Fool’s playlist for the first game. D.Va will also have more defense matrix charge.
Blizzard did not detail if Sigma, Orisa, Roadhog, or Wrecking Ball will have any other changes. However, it seems like there will be more of a focus on offensive abilities and not shields, as the team felt like barriers were too prevalent in the past. Some tanks will be a little more tanky, too, so they won’t all be “super aggro,” as evidenced by the aforementioned D.Va changes. Support players will also be able to focus more clearly as tanks usually take up a lot of resources.
Slowing movement acceleration rate
It is not a huge change and hard to see in gameplay, but Blizzard has halted some of the movement acceleration rate of the cast. This was done to “try to create a little more [of a] prediction element to shooting an enemy,” according to Goodman. He said players could turn around so quickly or spam the alternate between movement keys to make it more difficult to land or lead a shot on them. It might not stay, but Keller said that this is more of a testament that shows how deeply they are looking at the game.
There are multiple ways to extend health in Overwatch, but Blizzard is making that easier to read. Lucio’s soundbarrier ultimate, Doomfist’s shields, Brigitte’s ultimate, and any other current and future ability that temporarily extends health are now just green on the health bar to clean up the clutter. Overshields used to be dark blue and overarmor used to be dark orange and these would sit next to light blue shields and light orange armor. The team felt like there were too many colors going on and this simplifies everything.
This was also mentioned at BlizzConline. Every role will now have certain perks associated with them. Tanks will not get knocked around as much and don’t yield as much ultimate charge for the enemy team. Healers will gradually heal if they haven’t taken damage in a few seconds like Mercy does currently in the game. Damage dealers move faster than the other roles, which allows for easier flanking, according to Lead Hero Designer Geoff Goodman.
Crowd control moves are being addressed
Mei’s primary fire doesn’t actually freeze players anymore. However, it deals more damage now. This will help address the game not have as many stuns, which is a common criticism people have had for the game for years.
Goodman also said that the team is even looking at McCree’s stun grenade as they try to get back to “core shooter roots.” Ana’s sleep dart seems to be fine as there is a bit more of a skill element to it. But it sounds like like other crowd control moves are being looked at and will possibly be tweaked.
A new Overwatch 2 Torbjorn look
As was the case for some of the other heroes, Torbjorn also has a new look for Overwatch 2. He is just a bit older, but with some new gear. He’s the “Torbjorn that we all know and love, but with some new technology” according to Associate Art Director Dion Rogers. They wanted to keep his silhouette so there aren’t huge changes, hence the overall similar look.
New support HUD
Some of these changes to the healer HUD have been slightly shown before but it was explained more heavily here. The screen now shows Zenyatta players the character pictures of who has the Discord and Harmony orbs on them. Mercy users can now more easily see who they are healing and that player getting healed also has a better HUD element showing them that they are being healed.