Some behind-the-scenes changes also influence Overwatch 2’s structure, including the change to free-to-play and Blizzard’s plans to add new content at regular intervals.
This guide covers all the major Overwatch 2 changes as of the game’s launch.
What's new in Overwatch 2? - All major changes
Player count - From 6v6 to 5v5
One of the most significant changes in Overwatch 2 is that Blizzard reduced how many players are on a team. Where the first Overwatch matched teams of six against each other, Overwatch 2 has teams of five.
Blizzard also removed one of the tank slots, so each team only gets one tank now. While that may sound unbalanced to anyone familiar with the original Overwatch, the dev team also included a range of changes to nearly every character to compensate for the missing defender. These include buffing HP for almost everyone, reducing damage and rate of fire for some DPS heroes, and limiting stun abilities to tanks only.
Overwatch 2 plays differently as a result. Instead of tanks occupying a central role, digging in, and drawing everyone’s fire, battles are faster-paced and center more on speedy heroes and damage dealers.
Introducing Push mode
Push is a new game mode added in Overwatch 2 as a kind of twist on the traditional Payload mode.
In Push, teams fight for control over the large Utility Robot at the map’s center. Once a team gains control, the robot pushes their barricade along a path leading toward the start area. The match ends when the barricade reaches its end point or eight minutes pass, with victory going to the team whose barricade was furthest along the path.
It’s free, with a battle pass
Overwatch 2 is a free-to-play game and adopts a seasonal model similar to other F2P games like Fortnite.
Seasons last for approximately three months and add new maps, heroes, and cosmetics each time. Blizzard also replaced loot boxes with a battle pass, so you know exactly what you’re getting when you earn a reward and what you need to do to get it.
Daily and weekly challenges include tasks such as winning a set number of matches or playing in a certain role, and while Overwatch 2 is slow to hand out battle pass experience, you do have three months to earn it. You can also spend 1,000 Overwatch coins to unlock the premium tier and instantly recruit the season’s new hero.
Speaking of new heroes, Overwatch 2 adds three from the start. The tank Junker Queen and the DPS hero Sojourn – one of the top DPS characters in the game currently – are free for everyone who logs in to Overwatch 2.
Kirko, a support healer with abilities similar to Genji’s, is locked behind the battle pass.
Mythic skins are the rarest cosmetic and will almost always be included as high-level battle pass rewards. These skins feature customizable elements and let you swap pieces to make a unique skin of your own.