Overwatch Fans Aren't Happy About Overwatch 2 Hero Unlocks
The Overwatch fanbase doesn't agree with the decision to lock new characters behind season pass progression.
Fans aren't happy about the revelation that new characters will have to be unlocked through the season pass in Overwatch 2, as the sequel moves to a free-to-play model. While Blizzard has said that characters will be available through the free rewards track, not requiring any extra payment, critical players have said that the system will jeopardize Overwatch's hero-swapping playstyle.
Overwatch 2 releases on October 4 and will completely replace the original game on release. The game is adopting a free-to-play model, and like many other games, will rely on a season pass as one of its main forms of monetization. New characters will be added to this system on the free rewards track, meaning players will be able to earn them through play. It's unclear what other methods, including paid ones, could be available for obtaining new heroes, or if battle passes could expire and lock off free access to characters, even temporarily. (Blizzard says future seasons will still allow free paths to unlock heroes.) In the first game, new characters were made available simultaneously to all players through free updates.
Fans have taken to social media to voice their concerns about this system, pointing out that it doesn't play nice with Overwatch's hero-swapping gameplay, where players are meant to be able to change to any character depending on how the match is going.
Players have even unearthed interviews from the release of the original Overwatch that prove their point, with Reddit user u/sentient-sloth posting an excerpt from an Ars Technica interview with developer Aaron Keller.
Now the game director for Overwatch 2, Keller explained that the original game was released on a pay-once-play-forever because "it's so important to have access to every hero in the game, and in the middle of the match to swap to any other hero they think is necessary." He added, "Sometimes you need a different hero on your team. Like if you really need a Widowmaker right now, you don't want everybody saying 'I don't have Widowmaker!'"
Some users have urged others to boycott the game, with some requesting refunds for preordered content like the Watchpoint Pack. With unlockable heroes already a part of the free track and not directly involved in Blizzard's monetization for Overwatch 2, it will be interesting to see whether the studio will choose to walk this decision back in the face of fan backlash.
Overwatch 2 will launch on October 4 for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, and as noted above, will fully replace the old version of the game.
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