The biggest changes and additions to Overwatch 2

The Queen isn’t dead, but her successor is already eyeing the throne. Overwatch may still sustain a dedicated playerbase but Blizzard’s showcase for the sequel at BlizzCon 2021 shows they have big plans to win them over. If you’re excited to learn more about what’s new in Overwatch 2, we’ve broken down the biggest changes to the hero shooter announced so far. 

The biggest changes for Overwatch 2


 
© Blizzard

We may have heard almost nothing since Overwatch 2’s 2019 reveal, but the cavalry is finally here. Overwatch 2 is bringing additional Heroes, new maps, fresh mechanics and most exciting of all, new co-op missions. Here’s everything we know about Overwatch 2 so far.


New Hero: Sojourn
 
© Blizzard

Canadian Hero Sojourn got a brief tease in the original Overwatch 2 reveal but we’ve now had a chance to see her in action. Intended to hark bark to classic arena shooters, Sojourn’s weapon can fire full auto as a machine gun or charge up pinpoint blasts with its railgun. Here’s a quick look at it in action:

The secondary railgun shot deals hefty damage and is capable of eliminating low-health characters in a couple of well-placed shots. Sojourn will play into the hands of anyone with precise aim in the midst of heavy battle. Her abilities remain a mystery but you can expect some use out of the powered up arm and boosters she’s sporting.


 
© Blizzard

Throughout BlizzConline, the Overwatch Twitter account also gave us a look at the redesigned models for several different classic heroes. Widowmaker, Reaper, McCree, and Pharah are all sporting metallic new designs for Overwatch 2, looking like they stopped by Tony Stark’s workshop for a tune up before hitting the arena. Also, McCree’s beard and moustache have certainly been spruced up for the new title.


New Maps: Rome and New York
 
© Blizzard

It’s a no brainer that Overwatch 2 will include new maps but BlizzCon 2021 still made their reveal pretty exciting. So far we know we’ll be heading to the iconic cities of Rome and New York. The former mixes iconic landmarks with modern constructions, while the latter sees skyscrapers and a metro line tower above while players fight between pizza stores and shops at ground level. From the footage shown, it looks like Rome will be a Push map, with New York’s Manhattan map a hybrid Control Point/Payload like King’s Row or Numbani. 


Hero Missions
 
© Blizzard

Along with a campaign, Overwatch 2 is pumping up its PvE component with new cooperative Hero Missions. While set on the game’s multiplayer maps, Hero Missions will see new areas and paths explored as players battle through a variety of Null Sector enemies to secure different objectives. Payloads may take alternate paths, fresh areas could open up, and even new weather systems can appear over the course of a mission.

So what will we be doing on Hero Missions? Quite a lot, it would seem. In the behind the scenes footage we saw players recovering canisters across maps, guiding payloads, and defending platforms from horde-like waves. Blizzard says they’re aiming to have hundreds of variants available to keep things fresh for. Each mission will feature light story elements depending on who you take into the fray. Primarily, however, they’re intended as a replayable multiplayer component alongside the standard PvP.


Hero progression and talent trees
 
© Blizzard

To complement the expanded co-op side of the game, an all-new Hero progression skill tree appears in Overwatch 2. By playing through the campaign and Hero Missions, players can unlock upgrades and talents in three different trees for each Hero. Talent points can be earned through missions, then spent to tailor their favorite Heroes to different styles of play. Along with direct upgrades, these also restructure key abilities entirely in exciting ways. So far we’ve seen seven tiers of abilities split into three different paths for each Hero.

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New enemies: Null Sector
 
© Blizzard

Those new Null Sector enemies we mentioned? They’re far more than simple robo-grunts with guns. The Overwatch gang will have to square off against several new types of foe, not all of which will be directly attacking them. The Breacher is a bomb-carrying bipedal mech which targets nearby objects with an aim to detonate upon it. It won’t attack players but it causes immense damage if it reaches its target. The smaller Slicers will look pretty familiar to any Horizon Zero Dawn players. Exploding from the environment in swarms, these raptor-like foes zip around quickly making them tough to target.. The Puller is capable of locking players in with a tractor beam, pulling them through the air before impaling them with its hair. 


PvP changes: Class passives and roll changes

And finally we come to PvP, the bread and butter of the original Overwatch. Most of Blizzcon 2021 discussed co-op and story elements for the sequel but competitive Multiplayer has a lot coming too.

The Overwatch team has been experimenting with new systems such as class passives which benefit all characters under the umbrella. Tanks, for example, could get knockback protection as well as reducing the Ultimate gain for opponents shooting at them. Damage dealers could receive a buff to movement speed, while supports and healers passively regenerate health. None of this is set in stone right now but it could fundamentally change team structures for the sequel.


 
© Blizzard

The Tank class is one being looked at specifically. In the behind the scenes video Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan said that the team wants tanks to be “toe-to-toe brawlers” rather than protective health sponges. As such, characters like Reinhardt are being given more aggressive toolsets to make them threatening and grant ability combos.

It’s worth noting that the specific changes noted in the video are far from fixed. The Overwatch team is still experimenting with each class so we could see plenty of further iterations before the game’s full release.


So… Is there a release date?

Unfortunately no, not just yet. Activision doesn’t think it’s likely to release in 2021, so there’s a while yet before we’ll get to dance with Sojourn and any other new characters Overwatch 2 plans to include.

And those are all the new changes we know of coming to Overwatch 2! Expect far more information to drop over the course of the year as we come closer to its eventual release date. What are you most excited about? Share your thoughts in the comments down below.

Henry Stenhouse serves an eternal punishment as the Associate Editor of AllGamers. He spent his younger life studying the laws of physics, even going so far as to complete a PhD in the subject before video game journalism stole his soul. Confess your love of Super Smash Bros. via email at henry.stenhouse@allgamers.com, or catch him on Twitter.

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