Overwatch 2 Character Lockdown is actually okay

Overwatch 2 Character Lockdown is actually okay

After three years of turbulent development and ominous promises, Overwatch 2 finally came out this week as an early access-style release. But while many are excited to get their hands on the follow-up to one of the most beloved games of the 2010s, one particular aspect of it is drawing fire from the game’s fans: the decision to lock many of the original game’s heroes behind. a match limit for new players.

Players who haven’t played Overwatch 1 will be required to have 100 matches to select all of the first game’s heroes, from Ana to Zenyatta. According to Blizzard, this is all part of the studio’s “First Time User Experience” plan, which also involves locking basic features like in-game chat and competitive matches to new users until they complete certain milestones, such as winning a certain number of games . But while I understand the opposition to this move, I ultimately think it’s reasonable – if not an outright positive for the game.

Now playing: Overwatch 2 launch trailer

In theory, I can understand why veteran players are annoyed by this lockdown. The original heroes are cultural icons that extend far beyond the reach of multiplayer games – even if you’ve never played an Overwatch match, you’re probably familiar with D.Va, Roadhog, and Tracer. Players coming to the series for the first time are probably excited to try out the likes of Genji and Hanzo. And especially considering Blizzard decided to shut down Overwatch 1 permanently before this release, this is the only way you can play the fun sets anymore – it’s not like you can go back to the old game for a nostalgic thrill .

But while I don’t begrudge the fans for their honest reactions, I think the logic behind these changes is mostly sound. First, it seems like a somewhat imaginary problem to me. The people most passionate about playing Overwatch 1 heroes are obviously those who bought and played Overwatch 1 – the exact group unaffected by this move. If you’re a self-proclaimed Overwatch fan who’s mad about this, but you’ve never actually bought the game, how big of a fan are you? As such, it may seem like worrying trolling from people unhappy with the franchise’s new free-to-play approach.

Do you remember these guys?  It will take 100 matches to unlock them all.
Do you remember these guys? It will take 100 matches to unlock them all.

First, we should consider the fact that Overwatch 2 launched with 35 playable heroes, all with their own strengths, weaknesses, and little nuances that take players some time (sometimes dozens of hours) to master. Regardless of who you “main”, I think we can all agree that some heroes are more beginner-friendly than others – After all, Soldier 76 was designed just for that particular niche. An unrefined wall of 35 names is simply going to scare and confuse new players into picking someone at random based on aesthetics or role alone, which can lead to a negative first impression.

See also  15 ways to tell if someone has strong moral integrity

With this in mind, it makes sense to lock away hard-to-master heroes like Genji and Sombra for beginners in favor of point-and-shoot options like Soldier 76 and Moira. Ideally, the game would have short tutorials to introduce all of these characters to new players, which would then slowly increase in complexity as your timer balloons. But then again, given that Overwatch 2 launches in an obviously unfinished state – even down to the incomplete character redesigns – that’s perhaps a bit too much to ask.

Aside from game balance, there’s a more sinister problem to address by locking these kinds of features behind playtime—the ever-present specter of online grief. Popular online shooters such as Overwatch, Valorant and Apex Legends have become breeding grounds for toxicity, hacking and outright harassment. We’ve already seen Blizzard take big steps to prevent this kind of behavior, including forcing Battle.net accounts to add phone numbers to play the game, as well as recording voice chat to quell player rage. Locking these features behind hours of gameplay will apparently help prevent “Smurfs” from practicing on inexperienced players, raising the stakes for those users on the poor end of the lane hammer.

New hero Kiriko has a chance to shine in Overwatch 2.
New hero Kiriko has a chance to shine in Overwatch 2.

As a whole, I think the volcanic response to this design decision ultimately has more to do with Overwatch 2’s somewhat tenuous place in today’s gaming market than a hypothetical concern about new players missing out on D.Va’s amazing set on day one. Let’s face it: In many ways, Overwatch was the game that brought loot box-based cosmetics to the mainstream. Now that the industry has abandoned that model in favor of free-to-play games with premium battle passes – and Overwatch itself has followed suit – there’s a real sense of unease about the whole project, and I’m not sure it’s going away when as soon as possible. Likewise, the lack of the much-anticipated PvE modes puts a damper on this supposed “sequel.”

See also  Arcilla, Kinaadman make Brookside Open title duel

We’ve known that Overwatch 2 will lock characters behind battle pass levels for a few weeks now, but the community’s response to these changes still varies from resigned acceptance to annoyance – and perhaps worse at times. Given that the gaming industry has pretty much abandoned the loot box model entirely, we can’t exactly be surprised that Blizzard would surrender to the battle pass once and for all.

Overall, I think people are just confused and anxious about Overwatch 2’s identity. Overwatch 1 was a one-in-a-lifetime game that captured lightning in a bottle and turned the heads of every gamer in the world in the process. With every change Overwatch 2 brings, the game moves further and further away from the cultural hegemon status it enjoyed in late 2016. If Overwatch 2 manages to regain its lost mojo and transform the gaming world again, it won’t be because of ticky-tack- decisions like anti-smurfing initiatives – it will be because the game is so damn good.

The products discussed here were independently selected by our editors. GameSpot may receive a portion of the revenue if you purchase something displayed on our site.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *