But fear not; the beloved competitive shooter is already back in a big way, this time in the form of its sequel/reboot, Overwatch 2. Following up a first-person shooter that managed to snag a Game of the Year award will be a tough act to follow, but with Overwatch 2 aiming to usher in a sensational plethora of content in what’s being dubbed as a brand new era for the game, Blizzard Entertainment seems confident that it’s up to the task.
This new era includes a hefty overhaul to the game’s monetization philosophy; gone is Overwatch‘s original price tag of $40-60 and the option to pay up real money for a loot box, which granted you a spread of random unlockables and cosmetics. In its place is the free-to-play, ready-to-download Overwatch 2, whose money-making tool lies in its Battle Pass and Shop features.
In short, the Battle Pass is a feature that can be unlocked for a small fee, after which the player can log hours into the game to earn rewards such as heroes, cosmetics, and other customization options for their game and hero roster. One Battle Pass is available per season, with each season lasting about nine weeks. To reap all of the Battle Pass’s rewards, players will have to purchase the Battle Pass each season. A free version of the Battle Pass is also available, but will only offer a fraction of the rewards to be unlocked.
An in-game shop, meanwhile, will rotate different rewards in and out for purchase with in-game currency, offering players a chance to claim rewards they may have missed out on in past seasons.
The new model has drawn its fair share of ire from fans of the original, with most of it leveraged at the locking of new heroes behind the Battle Pass; some argue that the mechanical gameplay elements embodied by the game’s playable heroes, which may or may not make the difference in a match, cannot and should not be put in the same boat as cosmetics.
Nevertheless, Blizzard Entertainment seem confident in Overwatch 2‘s horizon, and we’ll just have to see how their new free-to-play model fairs in the realm of playerbase engagement and morale.