Billed as a way to “deliver more content to the game, more regularly, all while helping more players than ever before experience the Overwatch universe,” Overwatch 2’s pivot to a battle pass model marks a big change for the series. While the original Overwatch provided players with free updates so long as they owned the game, and gave players the option to purchase Loot Boxes when longing for cosmetic changes, Overwatch 2 is adopting a free-to-play model and doing away with the chance- based reward system. While these changes are exciting–and after reviewing them, I believe they will genuinely benefit players–they do raise a lot of questions. Fortunately, Blizzard has now shed some light on what this all means.
A seasonal model
Starting with the release of Overwatch 2 on October 4, the game will enter a seasonal model that will deliver a unique theme and over 80 tiers of new content to the game every nine weeks. This new content can then be obtained by the player through a battle pass.
With this seasonal model, you can count on major patches and updates rolling out every nine weeks. Additionally, a new hero or map will arrive every nine weeks on a rotating basis.
Also updated with the seasons is the Overwatch shop, which will feature a new “Just For You” section tailored with items related to the heroes you most frequently play as. The shop is also where you can purchase the Premium Battle Pass. However, before you pick one up, let’s talk about the game’s free battle pass. That’s right. Free.
The free battle pass
At the start of each season, all players will get a new, free battle pass. For those unfamiliar with battle pass systems, battle passes essentially reward players for playing the game–and completing the occasional challenge, like killing enemies with a certain hero or accomplishing a tricky feat. So, as you play the game over the course of a season’s nine weeks, you’ll chip away at your battle pass and earn exclusive rewards. And the rewards included as part of the basic battle pass are pretty sweet.
For starters, every new hero introduced in Overwatch 2 will be available via the free battle pass. However, these new heroes will debut at Tier 55 of the free pass, so expect to put in a bit of time to earn them. As such, new heroes–starting with Kiriko–will not show up in Competitive modes at the start of a season. According to Blizzard, the purpose for this is two-fold. Firstly, it gives their team time to monitor the hero and make necessary adjustments. Secondly, it gives free track players the chance to unlock and learn the new hero before they have to face off against them.
The free battle pass will also include a couple of legendary skins, weapon charms, souvenirs, a highlight intro, and additional items like emotes. Here is a complete list of Season 1’s battle pass inclusions as an example:
- Newest support hero, Kiriko
- 2 Legendary Skins
- 2 Weapon Charms
- 2 Souvenirs
- 1 Highlight Intro
- 15 additional items (list types, emotes, etc.)
However, if you’re looking for even more rewards, you can pick up the premium battle pass.
The premium battle pass
First things first, the premium battle pass costs players 1,000 Overwatch coins–which translates into $10 USD. These coins can be purchased directly or earned by completing weekly challenges, meaning you could theoretically get a premium battle pass for free.
The premium battle pass features over 80 tiers to unlock, and will give you access to any new heroes instantly. It will also give you access to a 15% XP battle pass boost, a mythic skin, epic skin, legendary skins, new Play of the Game intros, and much more. Here is a complete list of Season 1’s premium battle pass inclusions as an example:
- Immediate access to Kiriko
- 15% XP Battle Pass Boost
- 1 Mythic Skin
- 5 Legendary Skins
- 2 Epic Skins
- 3 Play of the Game Intros
- 4 Weapon Charms
- 3 Emotes
- 3 Souvenirs
- 6 Poses
If you decide to purchase the premium battle pass in the middle of a season, all previously earned tier rewards will be unlocked. If you complete all tiers of your premium battle pass, you’ll continue to progress through Prestige tiers, which reward you with unique names to equip on your name card
What if I miss a season?
While some items will be locked to certain seasons, rest assured that all players can earn all past heroes at any time. Heroes from past seasons can be earned through weekly challenges, or directly purchased in the shop with Overwatch Coins.
How does PvE fit into all of this? Will I be locked out of certain events if I don’t have a character?
These are great questions that we haven’t gotten answers to yet! PvE is coming to Overwatch 2 in 2023, so by that point we should have more information regarding how this will all work. Be sure to check back often for more updates.
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