Overwatch 2 playtest

5 key differences between Overwatch 1 and 2 from the OW2 alpha

By Steven Rondina


Apr 21, 2022

Reading time: 4 min

The Overwatch 2 alpha is here, and there are already some key differences to note between the original Overwatch and the upcoming Overwatch 2.

Some of these differences have been known for years, including new maps, a new game mode, and a new hero. The changes aren’t just limited to these however, with new a number of significant balance changes that will shake up how the game is played moving forward.

The Overwatch 2 alpha is still ongoing and only encompasses the multiplayer aspects of the game. That said, there’s plenty to talk about and there are some major changes to discuss. Here’s what returning Overwatch fans need to know about the changes coming in Overwatch 2.

Five big differences between Overwatch 1 and 2

Overwatch 2 is still in development and there could be more or fewer differences by the time the game officially launches. For fans of Overwatch, there are some big differences to note.

Some of these changes were previously announced or shown off in trailers. Others have been reported on in recent weeks as developer Blizzard has looked to increase awareness ahead of the Overwatch 2 beta. Here are the five biggest differences that fans of the original Overwatch will notice.

1. Five-on-five gameplay

The most impactful change to the Overwatch formula in Overwatch 2 is moving away from six-on-six gameplay and to five-on-five. The change puts it more in line with other popular multiplayer shooters including Counter-Strike and Valorant. 

Instead of having a forced 2-2-2 composition with two supports, two DPS, and two tanks, teams will only have one tank hero. This changes the expectations and duties of players in each role. It’s a massive shift that should allow for more creativity, at least in the short term while players sort out how best to play Overwatch 2.

2. New game mode Push

New game mode Push is available to try out and it really stands apart from other Overwatch game modes. Instead of capturing a point or pushing a payload, it’s more akin to a tug of war.

A robot stands in the center of the level with a wall on either side of it. When one team has control of the robot, the robot will push back the wall deeper into the enemy team’s territory. If a team can have the robot push the wall back far enough, they win.

The game mode is ideal for a public matchmaking environment, offering opportunities for a mix of individual and team play. It will also potentially legitimize a longer list of heroes at the professional level.

3. New hero Sojourn

New Overwatch hero Sojourn was officially introduced to fans through the Overwatch 2 alpha and there’s quite a bit to talk about with her. The new DPS hero has an interesting niche that helps her stand apart from other characters. She instantly becomes Overwatch 2’s best mobility-focused DPS, but not at the expense of her offensive capabilities.

Sojourn emulates the movement style of Apex Legends characters, with players able to use her Power Slide ability to glide on the ground while shooting from their back. Her railgun amplifies that feel even further, with a high rate of fire on energy projectiles with an alt-fire that can one-shot enemies with a headshot. Some have said she’s overpowered at this early stage, but time will tell if that’s true.

4. Doomfist is a tank now

One reason Sojourn is now Overwatch 2’s preeminent mobile DPS hero is that Doomfist is no longer in the role. Doomfist has been retooled to be a tank, and while that might seem strange to Overwatch veterans, it’s part of a larger movement away from the shield-focused designs of Overwatch 1.

Doomfist’s kit was retooled in the move from DPS to tank, with his primary fire’s damage and recharge being rescaled and his punch’s damage being decreased. His HP was also massively boosted up to 400, without any armor or barrier.

Doomfist’s Rising Uppercut has been dropped, with the Seismic Slam being his new vertical mobility option. Instead of Seismic Slam working as a forward dash, it’s now more akin to Winston’s jump. Replacing the uppercut is Power Block, which does exactly as the name suggests. Significant blocked damage will also empower Doomfist’s next punch.

5. Bastion and Orisa reworked

Doomfist isn’t the only character that was reworked. Orisa and Bastion were also completely overhauled.

Orisa has been reimagined as a more damage-focused tank with an improved weapon that deals greater damage at close range and no longer needs to be reloaded. Orisa’s shield has been dropped and replaced with new ability Javelin Spin, which blocks projectiles, forces back enemy heroes, and increases Orisa’s forward movement speed.

Orisa isn’t the only robot to get a major overhaul. Bastion’s iconic turret mode has been replaced with a slower and weaker version of its tank mode ultimate. The tank-based ultimate now turns Bastion into a mortar that fires three shots dealing AOE damage. Finally, Bastion’s ability to self-heal is gone in favor of a grenade that can be banked off walls. It detonates after hitting the ground or an enemy.