When Blizzard announced Overwatch 2 in 2019, my eyes stared with my head tilted a few degrees to the right. We’re in the age of service games—a time when “old” games are updated for years after their release and defy the need for a sequel at all. Overwatch was among the first to launch this trend in 2016, now will there be another one? How is the sequel to the game not supposed to end?
Nearly three years later, the entire Overwatch 2 deal has yet to be clear. Blizzard has done a poor job explaining what the next shooter is, and it’s already having a huge impact on the first experimental PvP game.
With updates infrequent during the last three years of waiting, players have naturally filled in the blanks, building their own expectations of what a game called “Overwatch 2” should look like. Now we’ve got a big slice of Overwatch 2 on our hands, and nobody seems to be happy with it.
Maybe except for me. I had a great time in the first beta of Overwatch 2. Sojourn, the new Overwatch 2 single hero currently in beta, is a fun mix between Soldier: 76 and Widowmaker. Most hero mods, such as Orisa and Bastion, have been successful so far. The controversial 5v5 change was a positive change in my book. The new lighting on the old maps is beautiful. I even dig into the new thrust mode, which is basically a map-level tug of war between two competing payloads.
In general, the new things themselves are not the problem here. But the “new lone hero”, “old maps” and “hero mods” aren’t really the drastic new features that come to mind when I think of the sequels. On the first day of the beta, I streamed Overwatch 2 to my friends on Discord. When I started a match on Dorado, the popular Overwatch 1 map that now has a daytime version, a friend quickly interrupted: “What is this? Where are the new maps? Why are the old maps here?”
I was a little annoyed by the comment at first. There are some new maps in beta, actually, but there are old ones as well. To me, that makes sense – I still enjoy the old maps, so I’d be surprised if they were left out of the sequel. When he saw more of the game, he was even more disappointed and I understood why. My friend, who has a regular job and doesn’t get along with games, just assumed that a new game meant completely new things. Of course he did, this is supposed to be a sequel!
It’s becoming increasingly clear that Overwatch 2 isn’t a sequel, at least not in the way everyone on Earth uses it. Not only does Overwatch 2 look similar to Overwatch 1 – it does he is Overwatch 1. To play this beta, you simply have to switch to a different version of Overwatch 1 at Battle.net and download some gigs of additional content. The menus are functionally identical, but look a little different. All my Overwatch 1 settings were automatically the same in Overwatch 2. I have all the same skins. My D.Va’s dancing expression was set to the same key you left it on.
It’s not like Blizzard was lying about Overwatch 2, but adding ‘2’ to the title has misled or at least confused a lot of people. Blizzard has technically told us what Overwatch 2 is for a while, explaining in 2019 that Overwatch 1 players will play alongside Overwatch 2 players, and that each new addition to Overwatch 2’s PvP (heroes, maps, modes) will also come to the original Note and Watch. .
In every important respect, the Overwatch 2 beta looks a lot like a patch. Or, more accurately, it is an expansion. Remember the expansions? Blizzard has made a lot of them for its other games over the years.
When WoW releases a new expansion, players get what they expect—more of the game they’re already playing, but with a new story, quality of life updates, new gameplay classes, and a new map. Depending on what you’ve played, this looks a lot like Overwatch 2. It’s possible that the perception of Overwatch 2’s scope will change once we see more of the mysterious PvE campaign mode, but until we get to play it, it’s natural to assume PvP will remain the game’s draw.
I can’t help but wonder if Blizzard would have saved such a long headache if they had simply called Overwatch 2 anything else—Overwatch: Heroes Rise. Overwatch 2.0.2 Overwatch Update: Reforged (okay, maybe not that). Because now, Blizzard has two big problems:
- Not many people know what Overwatch 2 is and…
- Those who thought that number 2 meant Overwatch 2 would be a traditional sequel are not happy
That’s why I’m not surprised Tweets like this It has gone viral in the past weeks, with responses suggesting that Blizzard is simply developing the time of day on older maps and passing them on as new content. I don’t think that’s what’s really happening here. Updated old maps aren’t central to the new game and seem to be primarily there to show off the improved lighting for Overwatch 2. However, if you’re assuming reasonably that Overwatch 2 is an entirely new and transformative sequel all this time, it’s a great video.
Overwatch 2 New Map Lighting Comparison 🌟 📽️Source: https://t.co/9UAo68CzBj pic.twitter.com/tUPFJ7jVaJMay 5 2022
The lines between the expansion and the sequel turn gray after Blizzard officially split the PvP and PvE parts of Overwatch 2. Blizzard said it made the decision so it could get Overwatch 2 into players’ hands faster, indicating that the campaign and PvE are taking time. Much longer than planned. The studio didn’t go far to say that Overwatch 2’s PvP will appear before PvE, but I’m expecting that announcement any day.
Whatever the new deal, I wish Blizzard would have said so. Explain that this is “Overwatch too”, not Overwatch 2. Because I’m really tired of having to be the one explaining this to my friends. “Well, yes, there are new things, but it’s also the same game” doesn’t roll her tongue as a catchphrase.
I love Overwatch, and damn Blizzard’s horrible messages, I think I’m going to have a lot of fun in Overwatch 2 as well. But I might start calling it Overwatch 2.0, just to set expectations right.