Blizzard’s livestream on Thursday has outlined some of the ways that Overwatch 2 will be different from the first game. While this includes character changes (particularly to Bastion), the biggest change is that PvP will now only be 5v5.
In the original Overwatch, PvP was always 6v6 in the standard mode. And Blizzard eventually introduced a class balancing feature that forced players to queue up by role so that each match would have exactly two tank characters, two damage characters, and two support characters.
Overwatch 2 is changing things up by reducing PvP to 5v5 and only requiring one tank character per game. Otherwise, the existing balance remains: games will need to have two damage characters and two support characters.
Why the big change? The short answer is that Blizzard wants matches to be faster and more frenzied than before. As the company says in the video, “This shift from focusing on the protection of your team to in-your-face battling is anticipated to have impacts to the flow and pacing of the PvP experience.”
What are the changes players can expect? In terms of roles, different character classes will all have minor tweaks. According to Blizzard, “In its current iteration, these new passive abilities will have damage heroes moving slightly faster than other roles, support heroes regenerating health automatically after staying out of combat for a short period, and tanks taking reduced knockback and providing less ultimate charge to opponents who damage them (compared to other roles).”
Specific characters will also see big changes. For instance, Mei’s iconic Endothermic blaster can damage and slow other players but no longer freeze them. Meanwhile, Blizzard cryptically promises that Bastion is getting reworked “from the ground up.”
Blizzard hopes all of these changes will result in a faster-paced game that is balanced and fun. And while the game doesn’t yet have a release date, it looks like progress is coming along nicely.