Overwatch 2 is set to launch on October 4th, and with its release, the team at Activision Blizzard is ready to say goodbye to the old model of Overwatch 1 and begin a new chapter.

Blizzard has made many statements regarding the sustainability and revenue generation of Overwatch 2, and these new changes have been a cause of concern for many players.

The answer, however, is not so clear cut as Blizzard has implemented policies benefiting both pay to win (to a certain degree) and free to play players. Let’s take a look at the new changes.

Is Overwatch 2 Pay To Win?

The primary issue stems from the fact that the newest heroes will be locked behind a grind wall for free players while battle pass owners will have instant access to them. This means players will not be able to utilize the latest released heroes in either quick play or ranked until they either grind out the free battle pass or purchase the seasonal premium pass each time to have the new characters unlocked.

By locking heroes behind a paywall, Blizzard has made the game somewhat pay to win. This is because Overwatch, at its core, is highly pick-dependant, and in the highest tier of play, knowing and being able to choose heroes that counter the enemy team is a must. The same cannot be said for most of the casual player base as most people tend to stick to a few consistent picks.

Even so, with this policy of limiting the heroes free players can pick, Blizzard has made simple counter-picking fairly bothersome and has effectively given individuals who are willing to spend money on the game a minor but ultimately unfair advantage over the free players. While the change may not be ridiculously strong for paying players, it can still be concluded that it’s definitely a pay for convenience scenario.

Other Concerns

Traditionally, new characters were available to all upon release, but now they will be locked behind the battle pass. With all this in mind, players have been questioning Blizzard’s decision to lock new characters behind the battle pass. Many are worried that this may result in future policies that will further incentivize locking essential items behind a battle pass as well. 

Many have also shown concern for the fact that players who miss out on unlocking a new character via the battle pass will have no way to get them again. However, Blizzard has assured us they will leave different routes to getting those characters open. How this system will be implemented is yet to be seen.

Overwatch 2 Battle Pass

The most controversial new change is the addition of the Battle Pass system. Similar to other popular live service games, the developers at Activision Blizzard have also decided to opt for a system that incentivizes grinding. 

Grinding out the pass will include playing games as well as completing the new weekly and daily challenge system. The battle pass itself will have a total of 80 tiers and will have both a free and a premium track.

The Free Track

Players can receive the following rewards for clearing the battle pass without purchasing the premium version:

  • Newest support hero, Kiriko (for new players who won’t have her already)
  • 2 Epic Skins
  • 1 Weapon Charm
  • 2 Souvenirs
  • 1 Highlight Intro
  • 14 additional items (emotes, victory poses, name cards, sprays, player icons, etc.)
  • Prestige Tier Titles (8 earnable titles available only after completing the entire pass)

Premium Battle Pass

The contents of the premium battle pass are where things start getting controversial. The premium battle pass costs players 1000 Overwatch coins which are roughly equal to $10 USD. The Blizzard team has assured that players will be able to earn Overwatch coins through weekly challenges, and they will try to keep it affordable. 

In total, the first Premium Battle Pass includes, in addition to all the free rewards, the following unlockable rewards:

  • Immediate access to Kiriko
  • 20% XP Battle Pass Boost
  • 1 Mythic Skin
  • 5 Legendary Skins and 1 Epic Skin
  • 3 Play of the Game Intros
  • 4 Weapon Charms
  • 3 Emotes
  • 3 Souvenirs
  • 6 Poses
  • 6 Name Cards
  • 30+ additional cosmetic rewards

The Premium Battle Pass features 60 additional rewards on the 80-tier battle pass ladder. This will include the latest tier of skin rarity(Mythic) and a bunch of premium cosmetic rewards. Players who purchase the premium battle pass will also get instant access to the latest heroes. This means they will not have to spend any time grinding in order to play the latest characters.

Wrapping Up

The new changes to the hero unlock system resembles more of a pay for convenience system rather than a completely pay to win one. While it may be frustrating if new characters are constantly dominating the meta, this change is unlikely to have too large an impact on players who stick to a couple of consistent characters.

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