Overwatch reached its highest Twitch viewership day ever with 1.5 million concurrent viewers with the launch of the Overwatch 2 PVP beta, a record that was certainly incentivized by the beta key drop if you watched for four hours. While some could argue it broke the record because of that and not all were active viewers, it still shows the brand power that resides in Overwatch.
With the rocketed trajectory that Overwatch began, its ending is something quite the opposite. What should have been a flourish into Overwatch 2 has been a whimper which included Jeff Kaplan leaving the Overwatch team.
As much as the rocky transition worked to tarnish the brand, the Overwatch 2 beta might just be the thing to turn the tide. No matter what you think about the inflated numbers, 1.5 million people trying to get beta access is unequivocally a good thing for your upcoming game.
Evolution From Overwatch 1
There are quite a few changes that take place beneath the surface for Overwatch 2. The most apparent is the switch from 6v6 to 5v5 and only allowing one tank. At first, I didn’t feel this change would impact the overall flow that much, but I was very wrong.
Only allowing one tank really opens up the speed of Overwatch. The change seems to favor the dps players. There are no longer battles of attrition of having to focus shields of a team comp of Orisa and Rein. This also allows for more lane flexibility in being able to take more risks when flanking. Especially in quick play, there are far less risks of flanking since you don’t have to worry about a tank peeling off.
One thing that is consistent for all characters is the lack of room to make a mistake. This is doubly so for tanks and healers. The game is currently tuned to where missing an enemy ult call or getting flanked spells disaster. I feel like in the previous game there was still room to survive a minor mishap.
Is My Boy Rein Dead?
Rein was my main tank in Overwatch 1, but I don’t see him being viable in Overwatch 2. He is just simply outclassed from top to bottom. If he is attacking, that means he is not protecting his team. If he is protecting his team with the shield, it means he isn’t doing damage. While that isn’t different from the previous game, you don’t have an off-tank to deal damage while the main tank is shielding the team. Having said that, Orisa is really strong. She got some reworks to where her static gameplay from OW1 is non-existent. Her escapability allows her to be aggressive as well as peel back when need be.
Healers (without movement abilities)… yikes.
I love playing healer and logged a ton of hours on Ana and Zen. The former still seems more than capable here, even though she doesn’t have any real movement abilities. Her sleep dart is so strong that it can turn the tide in battles by sleeping a tank. In the 15 or so games I played with her, my sleep dart was essentially an Orisa dart.
I didn’t have as much fun with Zen. His discord orb is really strong as is his ult (Transcendence), but playing a healer with zero movement abilities is rough. You could get away with sloppy positioning in the previous game, but it’s a death sentence here. There is only one tank that can protect you, and you really have to be on your toes with your comms. I’m curious if Zenyatta will get any movement abilities in the future.
Visuals + Modes
The game certainly has different lighting detail, but it still looks like Overwatch. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t think gamers should come into the game hoping for a drastic overhaul. The removal of 2cp (so far) is a god-send because I don’t know anyone that liked 2cp. I imagine it would have been even less liked with only having one tank. In its place is Push. Where 2cp encourages a very static playstyle, Push encourages a more aggressive playstyle. It does a great job of showcasing the buffs of the new heroes and the new 5v5 playstyle.
After dealing with insane queue times for both dps, I finally was able to try out the latest hero, Sojourn. It feels like Sojourn is a microcosm of what Blizzard wants the future of Overwatch 2 to be: fast and flashy. She has a powerslide which lets her both zoom around and allows for a boosted jump. A 15-second cooldown also makes the up time for her movement ability feel near constant. Her power slide is great defensively, but the real fun comes by using it offensively. There is nothing that feels better than chucking out her aoe skill (disruptor), powerslide into a jump, fire off enough shots to get your railgun charge and then railgun an enemy to death.
I would be shocked if she wasn’t a pretty heavy dps pick, partially due to her being new, but also due to her overall self-efficiency.
The future of Overwatch 2
The Overwatch 2 beta gives a good taste as to what to expect for the future of Overwatch 2. The team is meticulous about hero balancing, so I am confident they will iron out some buffs/nerfs that appear pretty apparent.
Overwatch didn’t deserve to go out with a whimper in which it did. How can Overwatch avoid this? Consistent content updates. Will the pve pull too many resources from the pvp side of things? It’ll be interesting to see the cadence of updates between the two modes.
Overwatch 2 is finally releasing its beta. Years and years in the making, hear our thoughts on our first 10 hours of playing the OW2 beta.