The Chaotic Release and First Experiences with Overwatch 2


Overwatch, one of the most popular FPS games, was released for the first time all the way back in May of 2016. It rapidly gained popularity until, like many games do, it slowly died down, despite maintaining a decent group of active players. It did not seem like this game would be popular for much longer, as there was not much new content being released.

Then, during Blizzcon 2019, Overwatch 2 was announced for the first time.

The announcement generated a lot of interest, as many people were itching to try the new game. At the convention, Blizzard showcased a cinematic that showed many of the old Overwatch characters reuniting. Beyond the cinematic, there was discussion of a new story mode, some new maps, and maybe even a few character changes. Some people at the event even got to try out matches on some of the newly developed maps, and with all of this, everybody was very excited. Their beloved FPS game was getting a sequel. What could possibly be bad about it? Well, the release of the game itself could be quite chaotic.

As someone who played the original game a lot when Overwatch 2 was announced, I was constantly trying to find anything about the release of the sequel, with not much luck. But in April 2021, Jeff Kaplan, one of the lead game directors of Overwatch, quit Blizzard. This was a shock, since he was very well-known and liked among the player community. Plus, with no mention of Overwatch 2 for a long time, let alone a lead game developer, people understandably wondered what would happen.

Then, almost three years later, the game got a trailer with a release date: October 4, 2022.  I personally was not that excited, as I kind of hoped that the game would be out sooner, but many others seemed to be ready for the release. However, as the day got closer, and I found out that the game would be free to play, I figured that I would get on and try it with any of my friends that wanted to play too.

Then I got home, logged on, and saw this:


This screen showed up when I got home and tried to play. 40,000 people were ahead of me trying to get into the game. I looked into this a little bit, as I had not experienced this before with any other games. Turns out, on the day of release, Overwatch 2 was hit with a massive DDoS attack. People would wait hours to get through the massive queue, only to be kicked out and sent back to the start. I decided that when I saw the queue, I would just leave my computer on for a while and get some homework done.

After a while I came back, and realized the queue had shortened significantly, so I waited it out at my computer, watching the number drop. Eventually, I finally made it into the game! I was so excited to try out some of the new maps and see all of the new stuff. However, in the middle of my first game, I suddenly got kicked and got sent back to the start of the queue. With this, I gave up for the day and figured that I would try again tomorrow.

After a few days, the game seemed to be working fine again, and it still is for the most part. Now that I am finally through my first experience, let’s dive a little bit further into what the game is actually about, and what has changed since the previous game.

The first thing that I noticed was that most of the game modes are still the same. There is still the casual Team A vs. Team B mode, with a similar competitive form. They also kept the custom games system, so that people can make their own modes to share with the community. The main thing that changed about the gameplay itself is the switch to five-person teams. It took a little bit of getting used to, but I actually prefer the five-person teams over the previous six-person squads, because it lets the damage dealing characters shine more and create more originality in team compositions.

The other major change effects the competitive aspect of the original game mode. They changed the ranking system quite a bit, so instead of having a fluctuating number assigned to you, you are assigned a rank that changes every seven wins or twenty losses. I personally do not like this ranking system, as it takes a lot longer to see how much you’ve improved or dropped. However, I could see the appeal and I understand how it might be easier to climb quicker with this new ranking system.

The other major change is the implementation of the Battle Pass as the primary source of skins and other cosmetics. There used to be a lootbox system, which involved getting four random items every level. You could also purchase these, and anything that you had a duplicate of would turn into coins. These coins could be directly spent on skins of your choice that were available at the time, as well as other things. Now, you only get the loot from the Battle Pass, and there is no longer a choice of buying a skin that you want directly unless you spend money on the new coins. While I like the Battle Pass, I wish there was a way that you could earn the coins without spending real money.

Other than what I have previously mentioned and a few character reworks and new maps, the game is pretty much the same. I was hoping for a bit more of a change, as the release of the game dragged on for so long, but I am content with what we are given. I definitely recommend giving this game a try if you have not yet, and I think it is a great game to play with friends. It is also free to play, so that is definitely a main selling point.

Overall, I think that despite the long gap in between the announcement of Overwatch 2 and its release, it was definitely worth the wait.