Just a week after having their "hero locking battle pass" plans leaked, Blizzard is throwing their own explanation of exactly how Overwatch 2's battle pass works out into the wild and hoping that players will say, "Wow...all of this for $10?"
First and foremost, to address the locking of heroes behind the battle pass, Blizzard wants players to know that heroes can be unlocked via the free tier of the pass for non-paying players. What exactly does that look like? Well for Season 1, kicking off when the game launches on October 4th, all players will receive Junker Queen and Sojourn automatically.
Kiriko, however, is locked behind a few different options. If you are returning from the original Overwatch, you'll also net this new hero for free. If you aren't but you buy the $10 (1000 Overwatch Coins, the game's purchasable and earnable currency) premium battle pass, you immediately unlock Kiriko. If you aren't returning and you don't want to pay for the premium battle pass, you'll be grinding to level 55 of the 80 level free battle pass (additional "Prestige" battle pass tiers are available once you grind to level 80 in the seasonal pass to keep those rewards coming) to unlock Kiriko.
Future seasons will work similarly with new heroes coming in Seasons 1 and 2, but then being every other Season from then on. Seasons will last nine weeks. Maps, which are free to all players, will be added in Season 1 and then every other season from there forward.
Can you earn enough to get the premium battle pass for free, then?
If you're used to grinding through a battle pass gaining currency to unlock future battle passes without paying...then there's good and bad news for you on this front.
Yes, you can grind Overwatch Coins (and of course battle pass experience) through gameplay, progression through the battle pass, and through weekly and daily challenges. There are limits, though. This means that you can only gain so much experience from daily quests and have that experience apply to your battle pass progression. With six daily quests available, completing 3 of them nets you the daily cap on battle pass XP progression available through daily quests.
The pass itself and the challenges (if played all the way through when each are available) will net you a little over half of the currency needed to purchase the battle pass...so no, you can't TOTALLY grind your way towards paying for each season's battle pass.
What about the cash shop?
The cash shop in Overwatch 2 is planning to have massive amounts of cosmetics made available to players via featured bundles, rotating offerings, and a "Just For You" section that features, you guessed it, curated items on sale recommended to you based on your past play and purchase preferences.
Yeah...basically curated ads.
Season 1 and 2 will feature a large number of OG Overwatch items to help you catch up on that cosmetic hustle.
What about balance, then?
Well, this is where the waters get a bit murky. Since Overwatch 2 is shifting to 5v5, there's already a fair amount of balance concerns on the table to begin with...add to that that heroes are locked in the battle pass and I think it's reasonable for players to be concerned that the game may not be as "competitive" as its predecessor.
Jon Spector, vice president of Overwatch, chimed in with Aaron Keller, game director, with some "key observations" the team made when considering the impact of potentially locking heroes in the pass. In their analysis, they determined that most players play on two or fewer heroes for the majority of their playtime. Taking that forward an additional step, 99.9% of a player's play time can be achieved with just a roster of 12 heroes.
Having a cast of 30 heroes right now led the team to the conclusion that no, having access to, say, 34 out of 35 heroes because you didn't grind or buy the pass wouldn't be a competitive advantage.
Whether the meta bears that conclusion out or not remains to be seen.
under investigation by the state of California for serious harassment charges. CEO Bobby Kotick is alleged to have known about such actions within his company – and performed some himself – and shielded the perpetrators from consequences.: Activision Blizzard is still
About the Author
Mike “Magicman” Byrne has been a part of the MMOBomb family for years and serves as the site’s current Editor-in-Chief. His love for MMOs and gaming in general has led him to covering games for numerous gaming websites including Gamebreaker TV and XIV Nation where he proudly displays his fanboy flag for FFXIV:ARR.
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