‘Overwatch 2’s’ Shoddy Release Drives Away Both New and Returning Players

Jacey Captis, Staff Writer

As “Overwatch 2” concludes its first month of release, players’ frustration has been on the rise after the cracks in the game’s mechanics and marketing have begun to show.

“Overwatch” is an online multiplayer first-person shooter featuring a colorful cast of heroes to play as and detailed maps located all over the world. It was recently renewed for a sequel, with the first “Overwatch” servers shutting down on Oct. 3 to make way for “Overwatch 2” and its major release on Oct. 5.

Some could argue that “Overwatch 2” is essentially the same game as “Overwatch.” This made a lot of fans wonder what took Blizzard, the developers behind the game, almost 4 years to bring it to fruition. It already suffers from some major issues, one of the most prominent being heroes with game-breaking glitches and bugs in their abilities. The developers remove these heroes while they are getting fixed, much to the disappointment of people who play them frequently.

“Overwatch 2” allows its returning player base to link their previous accounts to the new servers to get their heroes and cosmetics (skins, sprays, etc.) back. However, new players aren’t as lucky, having to play and win match after match to get certain heroes. One of the damage heroes named Echo takes 150 wins to unlock, which requires a lot of skill, competent teammates, and a hefty chunk of time to complete.

This game introduces a “battle pass” mechanic that functions on experience points earned from games to level up. Players are given a free battle pass tier that only gives them select rewards as they level up, players also have the “option” to purchase a “premium” pass for $10 to instantly claim some exclusive rewards. On top of that, they can claim rewards for every single level and get the exclusive “mythic” skin as the final major reward. This battle pass is a rough climb, with 80 levels to clear and mediocre rewards for most tiers that a lot of players cannot or do not want to use.

“Overwatch 2” added three new heroes to the fray, with more to come. Two of the new initial heroes can be unlocked for free, but one of them, a “ninja healer” named Kiriko, is locked behind the current Season 1 battle pass. However, returning players were able to get her for free with the rest of the roster, and Premium Battle Pass owners were able to get her instantly with their purchase. For new players that didn’t have the cash to spend, they had to make the slow crawl to level 55 with an estimated 50 hours to finally get her for free.

As the second season of the battle pass quickly approaches on December 6, players have recently been introduced to a new playable hero named Ramattra, with his origin trailer making its debut on November 5. The excitement began to fade as an unfortunate realization hit: players either had to spend another $10 or spend literal days clearing all of the levels. The game was kind with Kiriko since she was playable from release, but now that a good chunk of players had settled in, the game wasn’t going to hand out any more freebie heroes.

“Overwatch” cost $60 on release, with free “loot boxes” that gave out cosmetics for the heroes. They were relatively easy to earn, but could also be bought with real money. On the other hand, “Overwatch 2” is free to play but charges real money to get coins to unlock any cosmetics. This wouldn’t be a problem if these were given out for free, but there are no real ways to get any other cosmetics without shilling out some money to the game. “Legendary skins,” the most detailed and unique skins, cost $20 each in “Overwatch 2.” Most players found this price to be absurd, considering how easy it was to get skins in the original “Overwatch.”

Recently, there was a Halloween-themed event with a purchasable bundle that gave Kiriko a cute witch-themed skin with a few extras like voice lines and player icons. This bundle was priced at 2600 coins, but this number does not break even with any available coin packages in the store. Players either had to buy the $20 package of 2200 coins and a $5 package of 500 coins or the $50 set of 5700 coins. Regardless of what they bought, players who wanted this skin had to make extra purchases with leftovers they might not want to use right now.

The game promotes lots of cosmetic bundles that are only available in the store for a limited time, and was made cheaper with “discounts.” These discounts aren’t even real discounts- the prices of these bundles have been raised just so they can get marked down and sold with an attractive “deal” that makes people think they’re saving money. Kiriko’s witch bundle was apparently marked down from 3700 coins to 2600, but all of these cosmetics would cost about 2600 coins if they were bought separately for the standard store prices. This kind of marketing is apparently illegal in some countries, including Australia, Brazil, and Canada to name a few.

Thankfully, Blizzard seems to be making some progress and listening to their playerbase a bit more. Legendary skins are on a rotation and get discounted in the shop for 400 fewer coins, which is a bit more realistic for what they’re actually worth. However, there are plenty of things they still need to patch up, and players are hoping they can tie up some loose ends as soon as they can to make the game a little better.