Use this Overwatch 2 guide to help you learn the ropes of the hero shooter sequel and learn what’s new, which Heroes have changed, and what else is coming later. Overwatch 2 massively expands on Overwatch 1 with more Heroes, more maps, and lots of balance changes and graphical updates to revitalize the game. The biggest aspects of the update are the switch to 5v5 matches instead of 6v6, the new Push mode with three bespoke maps, and the introduction of Battle Passes, which feature new cosmetic items and another Hero. Here’s everything you need to know about Overwatch 2 in one guide.
What is Overwatch 2?
Overwatch 2 is a free-to-play sequel to 2016's popular, team-based hero shooter Overwatch, created by Blizzard Entertainment. Confusingly, it’s not really a sequel, as it’s really just a big update that adds lots of new content and freshens things up, such as a new user interface and rebalanced Heroes. It also means that it entirely replaces Overwatch 1, so old players that already own Overwatch 1, will be forced to update to Overwatch 2 and new players will only be able to play this version of the game.
In terms of gameplay, Overwatch 2 sticks to the core objective-focused modes but switches things up with 5v5 matches instead of 6v6. With locked roles, this means teams will have only one Tank along with the usual pair of Damage Heroes and Supports. New maps for existing modes are also coming, as well as a new mode called Push that sees teams vying for control over a robot that needs to advance into enemy territory to score points. Co-op PvE missions are also coming at some point in 2023, serving to advance the story and offer players a new way to play Overwatch 2.
While there hasn’t been a new Overwatch Hero since 2019, Overwatch 2 finally ends that draught with three new ones – Sojourn, Junker Queen, and Kiriko. Even more heroes will be joining the fray with each season but you’ll have to earn them through the new Battle Passes. Expect to see plenty of new cosmetics for all Heroes, including new skins and charms as time goes on too.
Aside from having the hardware to run the game, Overwatch 2 requires little else to play since it’s free-to-play and does not require you to have played or owned Overwatch 1. However, if you are a new player and have not played Overwatch 1, you must set up Overwatch 2 SMS protection on a linked Battle.net account. You will not be able to play Overwatch 2 without doing this!
Cross-progression and account merging
If you did play Overwatch 1 and built up a considerable bank of Hero Gallery unlocks to customize your favorite Heroes, consider setting up Overwatch 2 cross-progression and account merging. If you do, you’ll get to keep all the Hero cosmentics, game stats, ranks, and more, that you unlocked and earned as you played.
Error codes and messages
Overwatch 2 has had a bit of rough launch with all sorts of server issues, two DDoS attacks, and bugs. We’ve got a list of the biggest ongoing problems and some of the Overwatch 2 error codes you might face here, along with potential fixes for some issues.
All Heroes and how they’ve changed
The 32 Heroes from Overwatch 1 are being joined by three more Heroes in Overwatch 2, and most of them have undergone some serious changes to rebalance them, make them fit the new fast-paced 5v5 matches, and freshen them up. You can read all about the Overwatch 2 Hero changes and the three new Heroes here.
Season 1 Battle Pass
The first Overwatch 2 Battle Pass is here with the launch of the game. Battle Passes are free to all Overwatch 2 players but of course there’s a premium version that you’ll need to buy with real money to get some of the coolest and most interesting things early or at all. Battle Passes in Overwatch 2 also mean that loot boxes are gone forever, a new premium currency exists, and the traditional levelling system has been scrapped in favor of levelling the current battle pass.
New Push mode in Overwatch 2
Joining Control, Assault, Escort, and Hybrid is the new Push mode. This symmetrical game mode sees both teams vying for control over a central robot. Once one team has gained control of the robot, it will start moving into enemy territory, scoring more points the further it moves. Get the robot all the way to the end of the enemy’s side of the map to win. It’s therefore the opposition’s job to try and do the same, but if they find themselves on the backfoot, they must battle to take control of the robot for themselves and defend it as it moves back towards the center of the map and then into the other team’s half.
Push will launch in Overwatch 2 with three maps – Rome, Toronto, Lisbon There is no doubt that more maps will come in the future, and Blizzard has said that more modes will be added too.
Assault mode is being removed for Overwatch 2
Due to its unpopularity, the Assault game mode (the mode that requires the attacking team to capture two points while the other team defends them, sometimes known as 2CP) and the Hanamura, Horizon Lunar Colony, Paris, Temple of Anubis, and Volskaya Industries maps are being entirely removed from Overwatch 2’s playlists. However, they will remain in the custom games workshop, so they can be played in custom matches.
New Overwatch 2 maps
Overwatch 2 is introducing six new maps that feature the new Push mode, Escort, and Hybrid. They are:
- New Queen Street (Toronto) – Push
- Circuit Royal (Monaco) – Escort
- Colosseo (Rome) – Push
- Midtown (New York) – Hybrid
- Paraiso (Rio de Janeiro) – Hybrid
- Esperanca (Lisbon) – Push
With the five Assault maps getting removed, the regular Quick Play and Overwatch 2 competitive mode playlists in Overwatch 2 will have 20 possible maps across four modes. A map set in Gothenburg, Sweden was revealed back in 2019, but not much has been heard about it since. There also appears to be a map set in India and one in a temple much like the existing Nepal map, but nothing official has been said about these maps aside from some brief glimpses in trailers. Hopefully these maps will be added in the next few seasons of Overwatch 2.
Overwatch 2 PvE missions
Co-operative player-versus-environment are supposed to be coming to Overwatch 2 some time in 2023. It appears that what was originally the main draw for Overwatch 2 has lost priority to rebalancing and freshening up the main competitive PvP multiplayer experience.
Overwatch 1 players that tried out the co-op Archives events missions over the years will be familiar with the PvE format that these missions appear to be based on – four players take control of a set team of Heroes and navigate their way through the mission, completing objectives and defeating enemies. It’s no single-player campaign, but definitely seems like the closest Overwatch 2 will get to a PvE story mode.
Back in 2019, we saw a sample mission featuring Reinhardt, Tracer, Lucio, and Mei fighting through Rio de Janeiro against the forces of Null Sector. The mission even had its own animated cutscene and showed off some Hero ability customization options, that allow you to level up and enhance your Heroes the more you play as them. Since it’s nearing three years since we saw that PvE preview, and not much has been mentioned since, we have no idea if any of these features still exist, so hopefully more gets announced soon.
What happened to Overwatch 1?
As mentioned, the release of Overwatch 2 means that the Overwatch 1 shut down has happened and the original game is gone forever. Despite the name, it’s important to remember that Overwatch 2 is very much just a major update to Overwatch 1 and not the sequel it’s made out to be. There are significant changes and lots of new content, but it’s still the same team-based hero shooter.