BlizzConline: Overwatch 2 updates

by Jessica Scharnagle

The wait is over, and fans finally got more information after almost a year of no new info on Overwatch 2. 

Although no mention of the game was made in the opening ceremony, fans got a 40-minute look at what was going on behind the scenes while Blizzard employees worked on Overwatch 2 from home. 

Read more: BlizzConline: Diablo II Resurrected, World of Warcraft updates and more

New PvP Maps

Two new PvP maps were revealed in the behind the scenes video, Rome and New York City. 

Rome was described as romantic with old world architecture. Inspiration was drawn from photos that a Blizzard employee took on his trip to Rome. There is ancient architecture that was built in Rome that is destroyed in real life, but the developers have rebuilt those buildings Overwatch-style.

New York City was built to be as authentic as possible while staying loyal to the Overwatch art style. There are a lot of amazing buildings in New York City that the developers are tasked with recreating in Overwatch. One of those buildings that fans got a glimpse of in the video was Grand Central Station. Floating cars can be seen above New York City, staying true to Ovewatch’s futuristic feel.

New PvE maps

Something fans weren’t quite expecting was the volume of new maps that Overwatch 2 might bring. Developers said that each mission will have its own map, which puts into perspective how big the game is. Although there is no confirmed number of missions available, there have been some hints as to just how many missions there may be. Considering there are several new game modes, several mission types and at least three maps, it seemed as though the presentation was just a taste of the new game’s scope. 

The three maps revealed so far are India, Toronto and a Torbjorn-themed map, Gothenburg. “Each mission has its own custom map built for it, and these maps are absolutely gigantic,” said associate game director Aaron Keller. 

India is one of the biggest maps and has many features inspired by previous lore and characters. Torbjorn’s map is one of the coolest shown so far. Gothenburg has Torbjorn’s workshop with molten steel pouring out of the walls and Torbjorn-sized tables. Toronto is under siege when the player spawns and has a dynamic snowstorm that increasingly clouds the player’s vision.

In addition to the changing environment changing, the character dialogue can change too. Each mission will have character selections, and based on which characters players select, the dialogue might be different. 

2CP is dead in Overwatch 2

The dual assault game mode, often called 2CP, is a mode in which teams must capture two objective points within an amount of time in order to win. Casual and pro players alike have groaned about this game mode since 2016. Esports journalist Rod “Slasher” Bresleau even went so far as to send 21 eggplants to Game Director Jeff Kaplan in order to request that 2CP be eliminated as a game mode. Kaplan has confirmed that this mode will be removed from Quick Play and competitive PvP.

Slasher also posted a Discord message where Kaplan said that 2CP maps will still be available “somewhere” in OW1, but probably in arcade. 

Role passives

There are some massive changes coming to player roles in Overwatch 2 in the form of role updates. The development team is experimenting with role passives, which are abilities that heroes have based on the role they are playing. Tanks have knockback reduction and generate less ult charge for enemies. DPS heroes have a move speed bonus that allows them to flank more efficiently, and support heroes have auto-healing that kicks in after they’ve survived a period of time without taking damage. Developers have likened the support passives to Mercy’s Regeneration passive ability, but to a lesser degree.

The tank class is also being looked at for a major overhaul. Reinhardt was used as the example, where he will have two Firestrike charges instead of one, and he will have better steering and the ability to cancel his charge. No examples from any other tanks were given.

Visual and audio changes

While changes like visual and audio effects aren’t usually seen as interesting updates, the way the Overwatch 2 developers are going about it seems to be a huge difference in-game. A large portion of the behind-the-scenes video focused on these changes. 

Developers have revitalized the sound that weapons make, and have tailored them to the environment in which the character is located. Players will be able to tell a significant difference in sound when they fire their weapon in an open area versus an area where the player is surrounded by walls or buildings. 

The heroes’ aesthetics also are something that developers are changing, but in a less drastic manner. Blizzard showed fans how McCree, Pharah, Reaper and Widowmaker will look in Overwatch 2. 

McCree has been given a new red serape, a different cowboy hat and a longer beard. Pharah is getting a complete color redo. Her iconic gold and blue will be white and blue, and her visor will be transparent. Reaper now will have a sleek silver mask and a more toned down black for his coat, cowl and gun. Widowmaker is seeing the biggest change and now will have a long braid and a silver headpiece. 

New Hero Missions and enemies

The biggest part of Overwatch 2 is the replayable Hero missions. These missions will help players upgrade their characters with the new talent tree being implemented into the game. This talent tree will allow players to select new features and progress their hero as they play through the game. 

Hero Missions will be co-op PvP, which is similar to the seasonal Anniversary event where players go through story missions. The team has said that they want a lot of missions to be included in the game, and give the players hundreds of new assignments to go on with their favorite characters. Heroes will bring more story context to each mission, and each mission will feature different types of enemies.

One of these enemies is called The Puller has no legs. She floats through the air, has two scorpion-looking braids for hair, and three horrifying eyes that float above her head, which she hurls at players.

Story development

Ever since Overwatch’s inception, players have been starved for lore. Although cinematics, comics and some dialogue in-game have aided Overwatch’s lore, fans want a more linear storyline. 

Story is being brought to the forefront of Overwatch 2 and explores what happens after the events of “Zero Hour.” The story centers around a second omnic crisis and how the characters respond to it. Players will also find out who is behind the new turn of events. 

There were no new heroes introduced as part of Overwatch 2’s behind-the-scenes video. Sojourn was expanded upon, and developers have told fans that she wields a rail gun. Her secondary fire is a highly deadly shot that requires players to be accurate in order to hit.

When is Overwatch 2 coming out?

It is unlikely that Overwatch 2 is coming out in 2021, but Kaplan said in an interview with IGN that while 2020 was an information blackout, no such blackout is planned for 2021. Fans should be getting more information about Overwatch 2, and its release will be announced far ahead of the actual date. While there wasn’t a beta announcement, Kaplan said he can’t imagine not having a beta. 

Fan reaction seemed mostly positive online, with some unhappy about the lack of content that Overwatch has received. The big question remains when Overwatch 2 will be released.

Lead image credit: Blizzard

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