Overwatch 2’s new maps, new hero designs, and hero missions were showcased at BlizzConline earlier this year but on Thursday, Overwatch fans finally learned about major changes that are incoming for the game’s PVP mode.
The most shocking change is the confirmation that Overwatch 2 will see the game go from six-person teams down to five. After five years of being a six-on-six competitive title, Overwatch 2 will prune back the number of players on each team. The fixed roles will be two damage heroes, two support heroes, and one tank. According to new game director Aaron Keller, this major gameplay decision came after a lot of testing, resulting in the developers agreeing that “tanks can be problematic.”
“Blizzard has always tried to make combat easy to read and very understandable. And sometimes it’s just hard to track what 11 other players are doing on the battlefield. Removing two of those simplifies everything. It also allows players to understand everything that’s happening a round them and make better choices because of it,” Keller explained.
While going down to five teammates is already shocking, the one-tank limit has been one of the most surprising parts of the change. This was a decision inspired by the new role tanks will have in Overwatch 2. As previously explained at the BlizzConline showcase, tanks will be more aggressive and deal more damage instead of erecting barriers to hide behind
Some of the big tank changes include Winston firing a strong lightning blast from a far range, Reinhardt getting two Fire Strikes along with a cancellable Charge, and Zarya getting shared bubble charges for her Particle Barrier and Projected Barrier.
Further experimentation required.
All new abilities updates for Winston’s Tesla Cannon and Mei’s Endothermic Blaster coming to Overwatch 2. pic.twitter.com/adGLsGYLD2
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) May 20, 2021
“We’re not taking every tank and just making them super aggro. In some cases we’re pushing some of the more aggro tanks and making them a little tankier. In a lot of cases they have more health. D.Va has a lot more Matrix juice in the can. We didn’t just give her more missiles and let her go kill everybody. She can actually protect her team a little more,” lead hero designer Geoff Goodman explained.
Overwatch 2 will be adjusted further to deal with the shift to 5v5 teams and single-tank strategies with map updates and other gameplay changes. New maps like New York and Toronto were designed with these major changes in mind. The showcase earlier today also showed off Monte Carlo, a brand new city-based map set in the near future.
“When you go for a flank, you aren’t leaving five players behind, you are leaving four behind. The game is just as strategic as it was before, even more so since individual players can have a larger impact. In map design, we work hard to make spaces that are really good for one hero. If we make a space that feels good for Reaper, or good for Pharah, we think the 5v5 format will work well on the original maps as well,” Keller stated.
Overwatch 2 still doesn’t have a release date. At this point, it is expected to launch at some point in 2022.