BlizzCon 2021: New details on Overwatch 2 revealed

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BlizzCon 2021: New details on Overwatch 2 revealed

While Blizzard did not offer a release date for the much-anticipated Overwatch 2, it provided many new details for fans to comb over.

New Maps: New York and Rome

Two new maps were revealed for Overwatch 2. Rome looks like a nice combination of classical and futuristic, and New York is giving off some BioShock vibes with its mix of art deco and sci-fi.

New Hero: Sojourn

A new playable character was revealed; the railgun-toting Sojourn. This weapon requires accuracy but can "rip through" enemy health if used correctly, making her a new favourite for play-testers.

Campaign Mode

Overwatch 2's new campaign will feature cinematic intros and outros for every mission, with seamless cuts to and from gameplay. Each mission will be set in "absolutely gigantic" custom-built maps.

There will be a cinematic quality to the missions themselves, with dynamic scripted events shifting the shape of the map. For instance, the India map will feature the team escaping from a temple that is burning down around them. It is said to be one of the biggest Overwatch maps so far.

The Toronto map takes place during a Null Sector siege during a terrible snowstorm, causing build-ups of snow around you. Friendly NPCs can also be seen on this map, showcasing the complexity of these story missions.

Unique musical themes have been composed for every hero and location. Your heroes will also come fully voiced, and different combinations of heroes will trigger different conversations.

The developers have not finalised which heroes will be used in these story missions, but players will be offered a lineup of heroes before each stage.

Hero Missions

Hero Missions will be Overwatch 2's replayable co-op PvP mode for those less interested in competitive match types. This is where you can level up your heroes. These missions will feature story elements to supplement the play and will be playable with any character.

Hero Mission objective types include Gather and Return, Wall of Death, Scavenger Hunt, and Kill Quest. Not many details are available for these, and they are just internal names, so they may not be representative of the finished product.

Every map in the game will be used for Hero Missions, but some maps will introduce new areas or alternative areas. Each map will come with daytime, sunset, and night-time variants so you can mix up the visual palette of your game each time. Dynamic weather systems will also be available during these missions, altering the look and feel of a map mid-match. These changes will be highlighted on a world map before each mission, so you can customise your hero choice depending on the environment.

Hero Progression

Every hero will have a separate talent tree, with each tree geared towards a different named build. For example, Reinhardt's three builds are Crusader, Juggernaut. Guardian. Soldier: 76's builds are Commander, Rifleman, and Vigilante. Each tree has 7 tiers, unlocked with Skill Points.

Each tree branch offers new abilities for your heroes. There appear to be no restrictions on mixing and matching different builds, so you don't have to commit to one tree for your entire game.

New abilities offered in these skill trees include double grenade launchers for Junkrat and Reinhardt being able to pin multiple enemies at once. Elemental effects will also be available, such as Reinhardt's Firestrike changing to an ice-based attack.

PVP Passive Abilities

The Overwatch 2 development team is experimenting with "role passives" for their heroes, which are background abilities unique to different classes:

The Tank passive currently being tested reduces knockback and a reduced ult charge for those attacking them. Offence get a boost in speed. Support gain an automatic healing effect similar to Mercy's existing passive, albeit less effective.

Since this is still being tested by the team, these passives may not make it into the finished game.

Rethinking Tanks

Tank characters are being re-evaluated to make them more effective in close-quarters combat, giving them a more significant role in the battle, rather than being bullet sponges. For example, an experimental new Reinhardt build currently gives him two firestrike charges, charge cancelling, and better steering while charging, giving him more to do in a match.

Hero Re-Designs

On top of new heroes, like Sojourn, the classic heroes will be getting redesigns with the benefit of new graphical tech such as improved fabric movement and facial animations.

Widowmaker has been given a makeover with more edges and hard angles on her armour, plus a full braid that fits her new look. Reaper is kitted out with superior armour and a new mask. McCree looks older and has more armour; Pharah now wears more of the original Overwatch's blue and white colours.

Improved Combat

The devs have set up a new team, termed the "Combat Feel Group", working on improving the feel of combat. An apt name, then. They plan to make the combat feel more connective and impactful, including improved melee animations and sound effects and revised weapon sounds.

New Enemies for PVE

Enemies in PvE mode are getting an upgrade for Overwatch 2 to make them more exciting to fight.

The Null Void goons will now react to being shot, even losing body parts before dying. This is another benefit of the "Combat Feel Group" to make your actions feel more impactful. Enemy reactions can also have a dynamic ripple effect in the middle of combat. For instance, shooting one enemy into another can cause them both to stumble.

The bigger mobs will have visible weak spots that can be exploited.

The team is currently experimenting with an Elite class, too, with improved defensive and offensive stats and adjusting their weapon choices and combat style to throw you off-guard.

One example presented is an ordinary Omnic Guard having a slow fire rate and just falling down when killed, whereas an Elite variant might have a burst fire gun and try to get close enough to your hero to explode when they die.

Different missions will also feature different enemy types. Two key enemy types are The Breacher, a walking bomb that must be destroyed before it reaches the objective, and The Puller, a blindfolded enemy equipped with three orbs that pull you in unless taken down.

Gameplay

You can hear all of this and see some new gameplay footage in the Behind the Scenes featurette below.

If you want to see what else was announced at BlizzCon 2021, check out the news on Diablo 2 Resurrected, Diablo 4, and Burning Crusade Classic.

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